USS George HW Bush

It’s Time To Repeal The Iraq AUMF

 

So we’re at war again in Iraq.  President Obama, the anti-war candidate, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, is dropping bombs on people again.  

If the United States is going to be involved in a war in Iraq yet again, than maybe we should talk about it first.  Maybe there should be a debate.  Maybe there should be a discussion about this.

We have entered a phase, new to American history, new to the American republic, where one man has the power to enter a war.  This new Iraq war hasn’t been the subject to any debate.  There hasn’t been a discussion.  One man decided on this.

If anyone bothers to ask, President Obama hid behind Public Law No: 107-243, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.  That was the Iraq War Resolution.  It’ still on the books, giving the president the power to wage war in Iraq.

It is time to repeal the Iraq AUMF.  It was passed 12 years ago.  The world and, especially, Iraq have changed in 12 years.  The situation is completely different now, and the law Congress passed to empower the president to remove Saddam Hussein — a man who was executed eight years ago — should no longer empower the president to make war.  If current, and allegedly limited, military action is absolutely necessary, then fine, let the Congress pass a new resolution empowering the president.

It’s not supposed to be like this, not in the American system.  Whatever the merits of the dropping bombs on ISIS people might be, we need to talk about it and put it to a vote.  We’re supposed to have checks and balances.  Have we really come this far, that one man has the power over war and peace?

Photo Credit: By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas Hall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    MarciN:

    Thank you. So it did originally have a sunset provision:

    An amendment to the just-passed $600 billion defense bill that would have seen the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force—the 14-year-old law legalizing the United State’s war on terror—expire in a year was just rejected by the Republican-controlled house.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/05/22/Congress-rejects-AUMF-sunset-amendment-war-on-terror-to-continue-Guantanamo-still-open/3121400794485/#ixzz39uTaEREg.

    That’s funny. I wasn’t familiar with the bill, but President Bush was fanatical about sunset provisions. I’m sure that came out of his business life and his work with good lawyers. A contract without a sunset provision is worthless and dangerous. I noticed he worried about this a lot while he was in office. Ha. Too funny.

     No, it didn’t originally have a sunset. The house rejected an attempt to add a sunset in May of this year.

    • #31
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Wow.  I’m reading those “whichs” and “thats” differently from the way you are reading them.  But you are a lawyer, so I shall defer.  :)

    • #32
  3. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    My knee jerk reaction is to come out swinging hard against Fred on these foreign policy threads, but I think there is something to be said for his position here from the stand point of a a unilateral interventionist such as myself. 

    The rise of ISIS in many ways represents a classical failure of America foreign policy, which is to leave everything to the last minute and then scramble desperately to try to salvage something.  These standing resolutions for the use of force help to perpetuate this kind of action. With them we know the president can always just send in the cavalry and within hours bad guys are being blown to kingdom come.  

    The problem is that holding the debate about ISIS now is like arguing about how best to get out of a burning building once it is already on fire. We should have been debating our options and establishing contingencies long before we got to this point. Now we need to scramble to save the curds and those poor people on a mountain before they are beheaded by sociopaths.  

    If the president needed to get authority before acting we might not have been caught so flat footed.

    • #33
  4. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Valiuth: … We should have been debating our options and establishing contingencies long before we got to this point. …

    I do agree but this brings to mind Friedman’s “Barking Cats”…as in “I would like to have a competent foreign policy team provided it was filled with selectively-diverse progressive ideologues.”  The serious foreign policy team (and, not to mention competent congressional representation) required to have/lead the discussions you wish would never have established the near perfect petri dish for ISIS in the first place. Biologically incapable of using the word “victory” outside of domestic election cycles, the consequences of their very constitution dictated the “end” of the war in Iraq be done with the exact short sided incompetence that it was.  Given our refusal to change course in 2012, we cannot now demand that Democrats should have devoted serious thought to contingencies regarding the obvious consequences of their sophomoric actions on the world stage.

    • #34
  5. user_656019 Coolidge
    user_656019
    @RayKujawa

    Getting support from both houses of Congress would be a longshot. Looks like it doesn’t have support of the House, but maybe in the Senate. Congress is divided. This resolution isn’t going anywhere soon. So the situation and question remains. But the Constitution establishes a strong executive and Commander in Chief. It gives the CiC broad latitude of action to set foreign policy and use of force to protect American interests. Hence, my perspective on legislation for or against use of force in every case as legalisms. This type of legislation establishes support of the representative / legislative branches and hence the People of the United States for action outside the country, but they aren’t nearly as critical as legislation that has an impact on rights and liberties of Americans living in the United States under the Constitution.

    On the other hand, almost any military action puts the lives of citizens (our soldiers) in harm’s way — I don’t discount the seriousness of that.

    It seems you would prefer rather to live under the Articles of Confederation with a weak Presidency. I confess I have started reading the Anti-Federalist Papers. Valuable insight there these days.

    • #35
  6. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Fred Cole:

    Okay. That may be the case. So if our nation is going to go to war, shouldn’t we have a vote on it?

    We had a vote. And an invasion. And a war. Which did not end. And once again the people most likely to be our friends have been left hanging out to dry, to be murdered by our enemies.

    I find that last extremely tiresome. I remember an old quasi-joke about US foreign policy- we appease our enemies and betray our friends. We should stop this, or sooner or later we will have no friends.

    Also, I’d take the idea that we need yet another vote about Iraq more seriously if Barry hadn’t spent the last few years either overthrowing governments that had lately done us no harm (Libya) of threatening to do so (Syria).

    I don’t doubt that you’d make the same argument for those examples, but I find the idea that somehow we can’t kill the murderous scum of ISIS without yet another vote just silly.

    It reminds me of why I cannot be a libertarian. 

    • #36
  7. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Ray Kujawa:

    We need a president (or maybe an ex-Hollywood actor) who is willing to say to al-Maliki: ‘We put you into power and we will remove you from power if necessary. AND we will have you put on trial for your crimes against the Iraqi people.’

     I take your point. But we did not have Ronald Reagan, we had George Bush.

    Alas.

    • #37
  8. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Fred,
    I cannot disagree with anything you wrote in your OP. This is now Obama’s war. The President should, at a minimum, lay out a mission statement and ask Congress for funding. This is especially important given that Obama wanders aimlessly from crisis to crisis with no strategic vision.

    This would be a good opportunity for a do-over. Negotiate a long-term SOFA and establish an enduring American military presence in Mesopotamia. America should assert itself so that we can influence the shaping of whatever new order arises in the Middle East.

    • #38
  9. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Talk about it, it’s the middle of the August recess. Congress would have to come back. Obama would have to cut short the Marthas Vineyard vacay. What can you be thinking?

    • #39
  10. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Nick Stuart: We should have been debating our options and establishing contingencies long before we got to this point.

     Don’t you remember that during last year’s August recess was the whole Syria crisis? When Obama pretended he was going to do something for a few days?

    Fred, like the president, is funadamentally unserious when it comes to foreign policy.

    When you said last night on Facebook, Fred, that you had dropped a bomb and gone to bed, we all joked that you had dropped a deuce. I didn’t realize you actually had.

    • #40
  11. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    I’m so bummed we’re bombing ISIS.
    article-2719991-205D1F6000000578-491_634x403 article-2719991-205D1AC200000578-714_634x403

    • #41
  12. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Hold on to your hats, everybody, but Fred is 100% right.  Fred is reported to be against all use of force etc, but that doesn’t make him wrong about a particular use of force.  Since Obama “Ended the War”, shouldn’t the AUMF be obsolete?  Call it sloppiness that in his rush to destroy Iraq he forgot to close out the paperwork at home, but nobody else picked up on it, so smooth move Preezy.  Well played.

    Killing bad guys is good work, but we should face our inability and unwillingness to to difficult jobs.  And ISIS is not destabilizing anything — they ARE the instability.  Obama destabilized this, as some of us have been shouting for years.  This is just headless children coming home to roost.

    The American people voted TWICE to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan to their fates.  Every decapitated child, every raped to death-or-auction woman, every tortured man might as well be on America’s front porches and playgrounds.   We did this.  Obama’s mission is to discredit the use of American power abroad.  When he spiked the SOFA/BSA negotiations by making them unacceptable and public, this die was cast.

    NFL starts soon!

    • #42
  13. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Spin:

    What we oughtta do is stand around wringing our hands for a while. If we wring our hands long enough, all of the people ISIS wants to kill will be dead, and then we won’t have to worry about it any longer.

     This is what we’re doing.  It’s just that the media pressure got a litle too much for this weak-kneed administration.  All the President has to do is wait for the accolades to pour in for doing the right thing for a couple of days, and Bush will be blamed for breaking Iraq anyway.  Don’t worry.  His Excellency Colonel Obama’s plan to smash what had been built is not harmed by this minor intervention.

    • #43
  14. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    TheIsolatedReader:

    Obama only goes to Congress when he needs to stall for time. Otherwise, he does whatever he wants whether he has the constitutional power to or not. But I don’t see how it is not essentially the same war (though we are just much further down the line now, and no longer with the victory that we had achieved prior to Obama’s election). He did not secure any arrangement that allowed the US to withdraw from Iraq in a stable fashion and it simply did not matter to him. Either he did not understand that the resulting power struggles would endanger US interests and US allies, or he believed that the US deserved punishment for its foreign folly. Internationally, Obama is a poor strategist and a coward. Depending on the particular issue – 1. his sympathies are generally with those who oppose the US or 2. he is indifferent to the long-term security of the US.

     Yes, yes, yes.  All of the above.  And I lean more toward viewing this administration as competent malice than incompetent benevolence.  You cannot wreck things so thoroughly by accident.  Barack Obama has piloted an airliner right into our soul.  Impressive destruction.

    • #44
  15. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    “We are already paying a very heavy price for our inaction, and if we do not change course, the costs of our inaction will only grow,” said Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.”

    The costs to whom, Senator?  Since we officially do not care about Iraq, why is there a cost to us?  Why should we repeat Bush’s well-intended adventurism with Obama’s er, less-well thought through version?
    This President has lost the moral authority to send troops into battle by rashly throwing away what they fought for.  He should stop now before he gets himself in a real mess, that he won’t be able to “end” by giving up. 
    How about picking us some targets today, LBJ?

    • #45
  16. Dudley Inactive
    Dudley
    @Dudley

    The original post should be cited as the ultimate example of pedantry in the English language. 

    With a perfectly valid AUMF in place, it is argued the US should delay action against a manifest evil like ISIS, whose depravity equals or surpasses the Khmer Rouge, Hitler, all the Kims of North Korea, the Rwandan Hutu, Mao Zedong, to name just the obvious, and thereby guarantee the slaughter of scores of thousands, just so we can get our paper work in order.

    Unbelievable.

    • #46
  17. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Brian Watt:

    Fred Cole:

    Look, ISIS is [expletive] horrible. You’ll not hear me disagree. But “they’re horrible, let’s drop bombs on them” is not a policy.

    If our nation is going to go to war, shouldn’t we have a vote on it? If ISIS is as horrible as you say it is, and the cause is righteous, then a new AUMF, one actually based on current circumstances, not those from 12 years ago, should easily pass, shouldn’t it?

    Have no problem with the vote provided it’s scheduled for late January of next year.

    No.  It should be scheduled and held before November.  That way every congressman and every opponent can get on the record and the public can express its views on the subject, as well they should.  

    By the way, this is exactly why there won’t be a vote.  Why would a congressman stick his neck out a couple of months before an election?  

    • #47
  18. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Dudley:

    The original post should be cited as the ultimate example of pedantry in the English language.

    With a perfectly valid AUMF in place, 

    First, thank you for Godwinning my thread.  Second, is it a “perfectly valid” AUMF?  It was passed 12 years ago, under a different president, different secretary of state and different Congress.  The circumstances in Iraq are completely different.  If it were an actual declaration of war, instead of the cowardly out of an AUMF, it would be invalid since the state is entirely gone.  Additionally, the reasons for the AUMF are all gone.

    Other than being an old law that’s still on the books, in what way is it valid?

    • #48
  19. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Albert Arthur:

     

    Fred, like the president, is fundamentally unserious when it comes to foreign policy.

    Okay, two things here:
    1. President Obama is on your side here.  He’s bombing people.
    2. Just for asking that maybe, in our republic, that there should, you know, actually be a vote by the people’s representatives on the whole going to war thing, I am deemed “fundamentally unserious.”

    • #49
  20. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Since Obama “Ended the War”, shouldn’t the AUMF be obsolete? 

    Okay, so just so everybody is clear, it was President Bush who signed the withdrawal agreement.  He did it on his last trip to Iraq in December of 2008.  

    • #50
  21. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Fred Cole:

    Other than being an old law that’s still on the books, in what way is it valid?

    Fred, I get your point, but you’re talking about a law. What you’re asking is pretty much “aside from being legally valid, how is it valid?”

    Also, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but three months ago congress did vote on an amendment which would have ended the AUMF. It voted against it. You don’t actually seem to be arguing for a vote as much as a vote going a particular way.

    • #51
  22. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred Cole:

    Other than being an old law that’s still on the books, in what way is it valid?

    Fred, I get your point, but you’re talking about a law. What you’re asking is pretty much “aside from being legally valid, how is it valid?”

    Also, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but three months ago congress did vote on an amendment which would have ended the AUMF. It voted against it. You don’t actually seem to be arguing for a vote as much as a vote going a particular way.

    I realize I’m swimming upsteam here.  I’m asking that Congress do something morally correct, to the ends of limiting government, in an election year.  But if enough people demand it, Congress will move towards acting.  Right now nobody’s even questioning it.  So I wanted to take this first step.

    • #52
  23. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Fred Cole:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred Cole:

    Other than being an old law that’s still on the books, in what way is it valid?

    Fred, I get your point, but you’re talking about a law. What you’re asking is pretty much “aside from being legally valid, how is it valid?”

    Also, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but three months ago congress did vote on an amendment which would have ended the AUMF. It voted against it. You don’t actually seem to be arguing for a vote as much as a vote going a particular way.

    I realize I’m swimming upsteam here. I’m asking that Congress do something morally correct, to the ends of limiting government, in an election year. But if enough people demand it, Congress will move towards acting. Right now nobody’s even questioning it. So I wanted to take this first step.

     Fair enough.

    • #53
  24. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Fred Cole:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Since Obama “Ended the War”, shouldn’t the AUMF be obsolete?

    Okay, so just so everybody is clear, it was President Bush who signed the withdrawal agreement. He did it on his last trip to Iraq in December of 2008.

    Yes, but Obama came by the construction project to watch the paint dry, took credit, then torched the place.

    • #54
  25. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Ball Diamond Ball: The American people voted TWICE to abandon Iraq and Afghanistan to their fates. Every decapitated child, every raped to death-or-auction woman, every tortured man might as well be on America’s front porches and playgrounds. We did this. Obama’s mission is to discredit the use of American power abroad. When he spiked the SOFA/BSA negotiations by making them unacceptable and public, this die was cast. NFL starts soon!

     Depressing and true.

    • #55
  26. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Fred, We all know that Obama is a lawless nutcase; so it’s not surprising that he didn’t bother to do what every President before him has done by getting Congressional authorization.  So sure, we should talk about it.

    That said, a bunch of psychopathic jihadists are engaged in genocide against our ally, so of course we should bomb the crap out of them, and then bomb Syria, Iran and Gaza while we’re in the neighborhood.  Talking over.

    • #56
  27. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred Cole:

    Albert Arthur:

    Fred, like the president, is fundamentally unserious when it comes to foreign policy.

    Okay, two things here: 1. President Obama is on your side here. He’s bombing people. 2. Just for asking that maybe, in our republic, that there should, you know, actually be a vote by the people’s representatives on the whole going to war thing, I am deemed “fundamentally unserious.”

     I have no problem being on the president’s side on this.

    There was a vote. The AUMF in Iraq is valid. It matters not one bit that “It was passed 12 years ago, under a different president, different secretary of state and different Congress.” What makes you think that a law is invalidated when the Secretary of State changes? That is an odd criteria. Do all laws expire after 12 years, or only the ones you don’t like?

    Your argument is not serious.

    • #57
  28. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred Cole:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred Cole:

    Other than being an old law that’s still on the books, in what way is it valid?

    Fred, I get your point, but you’re talking about a law. What you’re asking is pretty much “aside from being legally valid, how is it valid?”

    Also, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but three months ago congress did vote on an amendment which would have ended the AUMF. It voted against it. You don’t actually seem to be arguing for a vote as much as a vote going a particular way.

    I realize I’m swimming upsteam here. I’m asking that Congress do something morally correct, to the ends of limiting government, in an election year. But if enough people demand it, Congress will move towards acting. Right now nobody’s even questioning it. So I wanted to take this first step.

    Fair enough.

     Don’t give him credit for that, Sal. He’s ignoring what you said: Congress did vote in an election year on the AUMF.

    • #58
  29. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Larry3435: That said, a bunch of psychopathic jihadists are engaged in genocide against our ally, so of course we should bomb the crap out of them, and then bomb Syria, Iran and Gaza while we’re in the neighborhood. Talking over.

     I like the way you think.

    • #59
  30. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Albert Arthur:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred Cole:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Fred, I get your point, but you’re talking about a law. What you’re asking is pretty much “aside from being legally valid, how is it valid?”

    Also, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but three months ago congress did vote on an amendment which would have ended the AUMF. It voted against it. You don’t actually seem to be arguing for a vote as much as a vote going a particular way.

    I realize I’m swimming upsteam here. I’m asking that Congress do something morally correct, to the ends of limiting government, in an election year. But if enough people demand it, Congress will move towards acting. Right now nobody’s even questioning it. So I wanted to take this first step.

    Fair enough.

    Don’t give him credit for that, Sal. He’s ignoring what you said: Congress did vote in an election year on the AUMF.

     I think Fred has acknowledged that his argument is that Congress should vote a particular way on the AUMF. I don’t agree with him, but I don’t think his position is beyond the pale.

    • #60
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