As the ex-veep blasts Paul for being an isolationist, old video shows the Kentucky senator charging that Cheney used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq and benefit his former company.
By David Corn | Mon Apr. 7, 2014 3:00 AM PDT
Last week, continuing the sometimes catty intraparty feud between Republican hawks and GOPers skeptical of foreign intervention, former Vice President Dick Cheney took a shot at Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But Paul is not likely to be fazed by criticism from Cheney, for several years ago the Kentucky senator was pushing the conspiratorial notion that the former VP exploited the horrific 9/11 attacks to lead the nation into war in Iraq in order to benefit Halliburton, the enormous military contractor where Cheney had once been CEO.
Speaking at a private Las Vegas gathering of Republican funders and activists on March 29, Cheney blasted what he termed isolationists within the GOP. "One of the things that concerns me first about the  campaign, that I'm worried about," Cheney said, "is what I sense to be an increasing strain of isolationism, if I can put it in those terms, in our own party." He didn't name names, but he didn't have to—at least, in one case. He obviously had Rand Paul in mind. And Cheney, who also approvingly talked about bombing Iran, chided the unmentioned Paul and other less hawkish GOPers for having not learned the supposed lessons of 9/11.
Cheney's remarks were the latest round in the tussle between the Republican Party's hawks and intervention skeptics. A year ago, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) referred to Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), and other Republicans unenthusiastic about drone strikes as "wacko birds."
But years before this dustup began, Paul was on the attack against Cheney. In not widely noticed appearances on the campaign trail, Paul claimed that Cheney's advocacy of the invasion of Iraq was partly nefarious and predicated on corporate self-interest, not national security priorities.