Paul questions U.S. international involvement, especially in Syria; McConnell criticizes VA backlog

07/22/2013 11:34 AM

In his speech to a national convention of veterans Monday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul questioned whether U.S. leaders are putting the country in jeopardy by getting too involved in overseas conflicts — including wading into the conflict in Syria.

“Sometimes I think our defense is weakened by our over-eagerness to be involved in every civil war on the planet,” Paul told several thousand veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Louisville.

Paul again spoke about his efforts to stop foreign aid to countries like Egypt. But Paul also discussed in the most detail yet about his concerns about the U.S. involvement in Syria.

Paul said Syria is more unstable than Afghanistan, so the United States should not get involved.

“Last week I was told by the administration, do you know what their goal is in Syria? To fight to stalemate,” Paul said. “I’ve told them I am not sending my kids, your kids or any American soldiers to fight for stalemate.”

Both of Kentucky’s U.S. Senators outlined military issues — from veterans’ health issues to foreign aid spending — when speaking to the VFW convention Monday in Louisville.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is preparing for his 2014 re-election campaign, said the federal government must honor the sacrifices made by veterans and make veterans a top priority.

“I am proud of my support for veterans and the military,” McConnell told the VFW crowd. “I co-sponsored legislation to ensure the bronze star and the purple heart would retain their appropriate positions and not be shoved below the distinguished warfare medal.”

McConnell also said the Obama administration is not doing enough to fix the backlog of health claims to the Veteran Administration.

“At the beginning of 2009 there were 390,000 claims filed by veterans and awaiting action way, way too many,” McConnell said. “Today, however, the backlog is almost double that number. This is totally unacceptable.”

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