Today in Conspiracy: Ron Paul Calls the Chemical Attack in Syria a 'False Flag'

The movement leader and former congressman said Bashar al-Assad was being set-up to take the fall for an attack by al-Qaeda.
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Parents are not their children. Parents are not their children. Today is one of those days when you have to just keep saying that to yourself, as the views of two prominent political fathers threatened to eclipse those of their offspring.

First, Wyoming U.S. Senate hopeful Liz Cheney came out against same-sex marriage, putting her at odds with her father, former vice president Dick Cheney, who supports a state-based approach to making it legal. (And also putting her at odds with her sister, who married a woman in Washington, D.C., a little more than a year ago.)

Then video hit the social web of former congressman Ron Paul -- whose son, Sen. Rand Paul, will make his first Meet the Press appearance Sunday -- calling the chemical attack in Syria a "false flag" by al-Qaeda to draw the United States into "a strife that's been going on in that region for thousands of years."

"I think one of the reasons why they say, well, this is not regime change because we're not really positive who set off the gas," Paul asserted during an appearance on Cavuto on Fox Business on Wednesday. "I mean, the group that's most likely to benefit from that is al-Qaeda. They, you know, ignite some gas, some people die and blame it on Assad. Assad, I don't think, is an idiot. I don't think he would do this on purpose in order for the whole world to come down on him."

I think we can safely expect the younger Paul to be asked about these assertions on Sunday.

Secretary of State John Kerry laid out in a briefing Friday the facts that led U.S. intelligence to conclude that the chemical weapons attacks in the Damascus suburbs were launched by the Syrian regime. The Wall Street Journal assessed those claims, and found that "Intelligence veterans said Friday that the unclassified presentation of the intelligence assessment appeared solid."

A full transcript of Paul's appearance on Cavuto follows.

CAVUTO: To Rand Paul right now, he says this is all the more reason just to stay out, we can't pick who's going to be in charge or dictate whether someone should stay in charge, so Ron Paul, you heard Donald Rumsfeld, did anything dissuade you of that view?

FMR. REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), THE RON PAUL CHANNEL: Oh, hardly. Hardly should he be considered an expert on the region. He gave us Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was buddies with Saddam Hussein, you know, he worked with him when Saddam Hussein was actually using poison gases, and look at where Iraq is today. It's a disaster. It's more allied with Iran right now, the al Qaeda's in Iraq, and there's a death toll that is coming up every single day. We hear about the death -- so hardly would he be able to give us advice on what to do in Afghanistan.

CAVUTO: Now, having said that, -- I will say this, there is some debate as to whether he individually encouraged Saddam Hussein to use gases on his people. But leaving that aside.

PAUL: No, I'm not ...

CAVUTO: But leaving that aside, I do want to stress this, sir, if I can. Is it your sense, then, that his other argument that Russia or China could take advantage of this and seize on this vacuum, if we do not?

PAUL: I didn't make that accusation, just to clarify, but we as a country and he part of it, actually, we were allies with Saddam Hussein, but that's different -- another subject. You're asking about the danger of escalation, really, with Russia and China. I think it's very, very serious, and I think the markets are telling us that, I think the price of oil is telling us that because it's really a big thing, so, yes, you know, it's supposed to be a token. I think one of the reasons why they say, well, this is not regime change because we're not really positive who set off the gas. I mean, the group that's most likely to benefit from that is al-Qaeda. They, you know, ignite some gas, some people die and blame it on Assad. Assad, I don't think, is an idiot. I don't think he would do this on purpose in order for the whole world to come down on him.

CAVUTO: So, you question ...

PAUL: I'll tell you ...

CAVUTO: All right. Let's say, you question whether Assad even used the gas and that he's just being set up?

PAUL: Yeah, I mean -- look how many lies were told to us about Saddam Hussein. Prior to that build up. More propaganda. It's endless, it happens all the time.

CAVUTO: But we knew certain -- but to be fair, congressman, we knew it's certainly in the past, Saddam Hussein that used weapons against his own people. But your argument is a good one. So, I guess what I want to advance here is this, that if a dictator using chemical weapons on his own people, is it a litmus test for us to help those people? For Ron Paul, what is?

PAUL: Well, I think getting to the truth of it, and that's what we're not getting to because when Saddam Hussein used the gases, some of the products were bought from us and he was still our ally. So, you can't ignore that. No, I don't -- I think it's a false flag, I think really, indeed, and nobody knows if indeed he was slaughtering people by the thousands, you know, with poison gas, you know, that's a different story, but that's not the case. As a matter of fact, 100,000 deaths is the case. And it's not -- you know, the implication is that Assad committed a 100,000 killings. There's a lot of factions. Why don't we ask, you know, about the al-Qaeda? Why are we on the side of the al-Qaeda right now? So I think the -- they want the weapons, the weapons -- rebels want the weapons, there's a bunch of people in al-Qaeda's part of it, and this is the task for us to drop a couple of bombs, and then send in weapons ...

CAVUTO: So, we're being sucked in -- you argue we're being sucked in, and it's dangerous?

PAUL: Big time.

CAVUTO: OK.

PAUL: And it's big risk. This can escalate, and Russia could, you know, what if there's an accident and a hundred Russians get killed by our bombs? Who knows? Some type of unintended consequences, wars always expand because of unintended consequences, they always provide short term war. Just think of all the promises over in Iraq. Short term, not much money.

CAVUTO: In and out, quick and dirty.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Over, we'll get the oil.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: And don't believe it. We should look at what's best for America and not trying to pick sides in an impossible war like this, won't be on the side of the American people, and the American people right now, by a very large majority oppose this war. The Constitution can't support this war, and morally, we can't support this war, getting involved in a civil war and a strife that's been going on in that region for thousands of years.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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