"Al Qaeda has had a plan to bog us down in the Middle East and bankrupt this country," Paul said. "That's exactly what they're doing. We've spent $4 trillion of debt in the last 10 years being bogged down in the Middle East."
The Congressional Research Service has calculated the Iraq war, launched under Bush's doctrine of preemption, cost over $800 billion; the Obama White House puts the tab at $1 trillion.
Suri said while politics is at surely at work in the candidates' muscular rhetoric on Iran. But he also sees "serious people in the Republican establishment that believe there are regimes in the world that are irreconcilable to American interests and the only way to deal with them is to eliminate them."