Rand Paul's Latest Speech Did Contain Footnotes, But That Doesn't Mean it Was Accurate

Yesterday Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave his first
major speech
since the recent plagiarism scandal. Speaking at
The Citadel, Paul outlined his views on the military and foreign
policy in a speech that included 33 footnotes. Unfortunately, Paul
did not outline much new in this speech, and it is already being
criticized for its lack of accuracy.

Anyone who has been following Paul’s beliefs on foreign policy
would not have been surprised to hear him highlight his disapproval
of foreign aid to Egypt, his constitutionalism, his opposition to
intervention in Syria, as well as his anger over the
administration’s response to the attack on the American consulate
in Benghazi last year. Although Paul did not voice any new
complaints, he did say that he will soon be announcing the
formation of a task force “to bring together great minds from the
world of national defense, and put forward a plan to modernize our
military, and strengthen our defenses,” which will include an audit
of the Pentagon.

While Paul may have included 33 footnotes in his speech, The
Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin points out that although more information
was cited, the speech included factual errors relating to claims
about the situations in Egypt and Syria as well the attack on the
American consulate in Benghazi:

The Daily Beast

For example, in the following two sentences about Egypt, Paul
makes at least four factual errors.

“In Egypt recently, we saw a military coup that this
Administration tells us is not a military coup. In a highly
unstable situation, our government continued to send F-16s, Abrams
tanks and American-made tear gas,” Paul said.

In fact, the State Department has repeatedly said it would not
weigh in on whether the July overthrow of Egyptian President
Mohamed Morsi was a “coup,” deciding that the administration was
not required to make a determination one way or the other.

Following the military takeover of the Egyptian government, the
administration quietly halted all shipments of heavy weapons to
Egypt, mostly adhering to a law requiring a cutoff of military aid
to any country that has experienced a coup, while maintaining a
position of ambiguity over whether a coup had taken place.

Rogin also points out that Paul’s claims relating to the
situation in Syria also contain factual errors:

“As we continue to aid and arm despotic regimes in Egypt, we are
also now sending weapons to the rebels in Syria,” Paul said.
“According to a recent poll from Pew Research, over 70 percent of
Americans are against arming the Islamic rebels in Syria, yet the
Senate continues to arm these Islamic radicals. [15] [16] This is

The Obama administration has sent little, if any, weapons to the
Syrian rebels, something that has angered several Republican
colleagues of Paul, most notably Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The Free
Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian opposition has received
only Meals Ready to Eat, first aid kits, and 10 pickup trucks. The
CIA is reported to be vetting some arms shipments to the rebels
coming from third countries such as Saudi Arabia, but the White
House has repeatedly shot downState Department proposals to arm the
Syrian rebels.

Paul also incorrectly quotes the Pew poll that he footnotes. The
Pew Research Center wrote “overall, 70% oppose the U.S. and its
allies sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups
in Syria.” Paul instead used the phrase “Islamic rebels” to
substitute for “anti-government groups.”

Finally, Rogin points out that Paul managed to contradict
himself when he talked about Benghazi:

Perhaps the most confusing part of Paul’s speech is a passage
about Benghazi where the Kentucky senator contradicts himself in
back-to-back sentences.

“When Hillary Clinton was asked for more security, she turned
the Ambassador down. [27] Under cross-examination, she admitted
that she never read the cables asking for more security. [28],”
Paul said.

The article Paul footnotes as proof for his first sentence
explains that witnesses were “expected” to testify that Clinton was
personally involved in the refusals to place more security in
Benghazi in the attack; not that this was a fact. The second
sentence confirms that Clinton was not personally involved in the
Benghazi security request, refuting what Paul said one sentence

James Rosen at
has also written on the factual inaccuracies in
Paul’s speech at The Citadel.

Paul is widely expected to run for president. If he wants to
have a shot at securing the GOP nomination he will have to make
further steps to ensure that his public statements are not only
free of possible plagiarism, but that they are also accurate. As
Reason’s Editor-in-Chief
Matt Welch
wrote earlier this month, “…these sloppy,
undergraduate-level infractions suggest strongly that Sen. Paul is
running a loose ship, one not currently ready for the prime time of
winning a national election.”

The lack of accuracy and the accusations of plagiarism are
frustrating for those, like myself, who agree with many of Paul’s
positions on foreign policy (even if I might wish he would change

some of the rhetoric
more fully explain
the policies that would be implemented in a
Paul administration). Paul is one of the United States’ most
prominent non-interventionists, and it would be a shame if his
positions foreign policy continue to be overshadowed by the sort of
errors that have been highlighted recently.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/13/rand-pauls-latest-speech-did-contain-foo

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