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. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Pelayo: 1, Why did Obama wait until the Yazidi were in dire straits before postponing his latest tee time and authorizing bombings? Christians in Iraq and Syria have been slaughtered by ISIS for a long time and their cries fell on deaf ears at the White House. 

    For Obama, killing Christians is a feature, not a bug. 

    Pelayo: 2. Why does the U.S. still insist on maintaining a single government in Iraq?  It seems obvious to me that the Kurds in northern Iraq are the most rationale and civilized group in Iraq.  We should support an independent Kurdish nation and provide them with military weapons so they can defend
    themselves.

    The Turks don’t want an independent Kurdistan. My view is [CoC] the Turks.

    Pelayo: 3. Obama does whatever he wants whenever he wants. Fred’s contention about needing a new AUMF is legally valid but that has never stopped Obama or Eric Holder.  Rather than focusing on that, let’s focus on what our involvement should be in the region and doing the right thing. 

     Obama does the right thing so rarely that I hate to impede him in those rare circumstances. 

    • #91
  2. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    As usual, the foundation of a useful debate is getting lost in a fixation on the details. Essentially, Fred’s point was not about Iraq, ISIS, or President Obama. His point was about declarations of war in general. 

    Make an argument without any reference to the current situation. What should a declaration of war look like? What are its necessary components?

    Must it contain conditions of victory? Does achievement of those win conditions necessarily conclude the war? Must a declaration of war provide conditions of conclusion? Or does Congressional permission for war end only when Congress actively revokes it through further legislation?

    • #92
  3. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    You are correct that leaving was wrong. Which is why many of us said at the time that it would be a disaster if we left. We left anyway, as the American people voted to do. And it’s a disaster. In a fundamental way, America decided with a resounding What-Ev-Urr, that it did not care about Iraq, about what had been accomplished, or about what that had cost. Well, there you go. Just do what the administration does. Protest the horror, be outraged online, urge others to action, do what you must in order to smooth your image and pre-empt your critics, and just wait. It will all be over soon. — If America dropped Iraq because the cost was too high, then we should certainly not go back when the cost will be higher. The marginal cost of achievements in Iraq soared when we closed down the factory. If the cost was not too high, then why did we leave?

     This war on radical Islam will not go away for the next fifty years.  We need to be in Iraq.  It is short sighted to evacuate and concede that ground.

    • #93
  4. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Jager:

    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.

    If we withdrew our forces and “ended the War” then this new bombing would not be a continuation of the old “war”. We are now bombing a new group that did not really exist when we ended the War. The War Powers Act gives the President the ability to use military force for something like 60 days with out Congressional Approval.

    I understand the concern with an open ended AUMF but the removal of this AUMF would not change the President’s ability to drop bombs on people with out congressional approval.

    To make myself perfectly clear — channeling my inner Nixon — I’m OK with such interventions to tip the balance towards our allies or protect against genocide. We can’t intervene everywhere or against every bad actor, but we can and should here. That’s what the 60 day window of the War Powers act allows — one can debate whether it intended such missions — so yes, there was no need for him to cite the Iraq AUMF given the War Powers “window” for use of force.

    However, to intervene, Obama’s Iraq withdrawal “victory” needed to be first tossed down the memory hole. The Iraq AUMF lets him intervene in a way that rationalizes his new line that “he never wanted out” of Iraq:

    The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–

    (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

    (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

    The specific issues with Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda were stuffed up in the “Whereas” section of the law. The authority to use armed forces gives the President, in part (a), sole authority to determine what is “necessary and appropriate” to fight the “continuing threat posed by Iraq”. Which was mighty convenient for Obama now that he claims withdrawal wasn’t a good thing.

    My problem with both the Iraq and 9/11 AUMFs is the same problem I have with the Affordable Care Act. Such laws are open-ended Enabling Acts, which allow Congress to abdicate large swaths of authority to the Executive. They also allow the president to pick and choose his justifications for intervention to avoid accountability for his policies. Libya wasn’t covered by the 9/11 AUMF because Obama didn’t want to acknowledge that Al Qaeda connection; whereas the current Iraq attacks are placed under the Iraq AUMF because he wants everyone to forget his “Iraq Withdrawal…Mission Accomplished” dance of a few years ago.

    • #94
  5. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    While I do support the USA intervening militarily to protect innocent civilians in Iraq during the current crisis, I also support sunset clauses for virtually all legislation and an AUF resolution’s no different. I think a clause requiring reauthorization every five or ten years would be pretty sensible.

    Additionally, I think any nation that expects to receive military protection from the United States in perpetuity should be invited to apply for US statehood.

    • #95
  6. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Carey J.: The Senate is run by Democrats who dislike the existence of the American military. They don’t want to approve a mission that would make our troops look heroic.

    Link plz?

    • #96
  7. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Aaron Miller: As usual, the foundation of a useful debate is getting lost in a fixation on the details. Essentially, Fred’s point was not about Iraq, ISIS, or President Obama. His point was about declarations of war in general. 

    That’s how I read it.

    • #97
  8. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: C Tom Meyer, Ed.

    Hey.  You added letters to your name.  And blue to your text box.  When did you become one of our overlords?

    -E

    • #98
  9. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Carey J.:

    For Obama, killing Christians is a feature, not a bug.

     

    I’m sorry.  What does this mean?

    • #99
  10. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    Fred Cole: 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.

     Please.  The Congress put the sword in the Executive’s hand via the  AUMF.  Obama hid behind nothing.

    The Congress can take it away anytime it is willing to do so by veto-proof majorities.   But it is not likely do do so because that would result in loosing Iraq to Jihadists.   And Congress has done before: this is exactly how the Democrat Congress caused the U.S. to loose in the Vietnam war. 

    • #100
  11. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Fred Cole:

    Carey J.:

    For Obama, killing Christians is a feature, not a bug.

    I’m sorry. What does this mean?

     It means he thinks killing Christians is a Good Thing, not something to be upset about.

    • #101
  12. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Aaron Miller:

    As usual, the foundation of a useful debate is getting lost in a fixation on the details. Essentially, Fred’s point was not about Iraq, ISIS, or President Obama. His point was about declarations of war in general.

    Make an argument without any reference to the current situation. What should a declaration of war look like? What are its necessary components?

    Must it contain conditions of victory? Does achievement of those win conditions necessarily conclude the war? Must a declaration of war provide conditions of conclusion? Or does Congressional permission for war end only when Congress actively revokes it through further legislation?

     Fred’s point is that America should stop being “the world’s policeman” and start being “the world’s battered peoples shelter”.

    • #102
  13. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    CandE:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: C Tom Meyer, Ed.

    Hey. You added letters to your name. And blue to your text box. When did you become one of our overlords?

    -E

    Last week.  I’m the new (Eastern Time) Morning Editor.

    • #103
  14. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Which is why I’m a bit mystified by the opposition to seeking Congressional approval before intervening (which was Fred’s main point).

     Fred doesn’t want to intervene. He thinks that the forces of evil will leave us alone if they realize we live in a libertarian fantasy world.

    • #104
  15. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred’s probably right. There’s no reason we should intervene against ISIS.

    • #105
  16. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Albert Arthur:  Fred doesn’t want to intervene. He thinks that the forces of evil will leave us alone if they realize we live in a libertarian fantasy world.

    I’d wager you’re right; Fred’s very non-interventionist.  But that’s not the argument he made in the OP:

    Fred Cole: 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…

    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?

    • #106
  17. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred,

    Isn’t the fact that the Authorization for use of force hasn’t been repealed evidence that congress is okay with actions like we are taking now?

    • #107
  18. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Iraq is going to be taken over no matter what.

    Not for nothing, but this assertion needs to be challenged. Suppose that the US does nothing, which is not the case, since we’re dropping bombs. You don’t know that ISIS is going to take over Iraq. With all due respect, you don’t have a crystal ball. And its a fallacy to extrapolate in straight lines, which is what you’re doing. Its far more a complex situation than you think it is.

    Same to you Fred, who consistently assumes best outcomes in these matters, which enables you to more easily hold a completely non-interventionist viewpoint.

    • #108
  19. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    John Hendrix:

    Fred Cole: 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.

    Please. The Congress put the sword in the Executive’s hand via the AUMF. Obama hid behind nothing.

    The Congress can take it away anytime it is willing to do so by veto-proof majorities. But it is not likely do do so because that would result in loosing Iraq to Jihadists. And Congress has done before: this is exactly how the Democrat Congress caused the U.S. to loose in the Vietnam war.

     Absolutely.  And the war against Islamic terrorism has not ended.

    • #109
  20. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Frank Soto:

    Fred,

    Isn’t the fact that the Authorization for use of force hasn’t been repealed evidence that congress is okay with actions like we are taking now?

     Not according to Fred. According to Fred, the mere fact the we have a new Secretary of State invalidates the AUMF in Iraq.

    • #110
  21. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Albert Arthur:

    Frank Soto:

    Fred,

    Isn’t the fact that the Authorization for use of force hasn’t been repealed evidence that congress is okay with actions like we are taking now?

    Not according to Fred. According to Fred, the mere fact the we have a new Secretary of State invalidates the AUMF in Iraq.

     According to Fred, the fact that the troops have shaved since the AUMF was passed invalidates it.

    • #111
  22. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Carey J.:

    Albert Arthur:

    Frank Soto:

    Fred,

    Isn’t the fact that the Authorization for use of force hasn’t been repealed evidence that congress is okay with actions like we are taking now?

    Not according to Fred. According to Fred, the mere fact the we have a new Secretary of State invalidates the AUMF in Iraq.

    According to Fred, the fact that the troops have shaved since the AUMF was passed invalidates it.

     To be fair, he does call for it to be repealed, not ignored as invalid.

    However, his insistence for a new vote seems strange to me, as not voting to repeal it is has the same effect as voting to authorize a new one.  Congress can at any moment repeal it, and isn’t even talking about it.

    • #112
  23. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I’m not sure if the obvious question has been asked, so I’ll ask it:  Fred, if there was a vote, and Congress voted to authorize the current action, would you be ok with that?  Because I do think you may be engaging in pedantry here.

    • #113
  24. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto:

     

    To be fair, he does call for it to be repealed, not ignored as invalid.

    However, his insistence for a new vote seems strange to me, as not voting to repeal it is has the same effect as voting to authorize a new one. Congress can at any moment repeal it, and isn’t even talking about it.

     They’re not talking about it and we all know why: It’s an election year.  Why stick your neck out?

    • #114
  25. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Albert Arthur:

    Frank Soto:

    Fred,

    Isn’t the fact that the Authorization for use of force hasn’t been repealed evidence that congress is okay with actions like we are taking now?

    Not according to Fred. According to Fred, the mere fact the we have a new Secretary of State invalidates the AUMF in Iraq.

     I kinda feel like we’ve talked about this paraphrasing thing before and your lack of aptitude. 

    • #115
  26. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:

    Frank Soto:

    To be fair, he does call for it to be repealed, not ignored as invalid.

    However, his insistence for a new vote seems strange to me, as not voting to repeal it is has the same effect as voting to authorize a new one. Congress can at any moment repeal it, and isn’t even talking about it.

    They’re not talking about it and we all know why: It’s an election year. Why stick your neck out?

     The Republicans overwhelmingly support the prevention of the mass murder of civilians in Iraq.  The democrats will support their president.  As Spin pointed out, your insistence on a vote whose outcome is known and changes none of the underlying dynamics is simply pedantry.

    • #116
  27. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Fred Cole: They’re not talking about it and we all know why: It’s an election year. Why stick your neck out?

    Or it could be that majorities in both houses of Congress don’t think it would be a good idea to repeal the AUMF.

    • #117
  28. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:

    Frank Soto:

    To be fair, he does call for it to be repealed, not ignored as invalid.

    However, his insistence for a new vote seems strange to me, as not voting to repeal it is has the same effect as voting to authorize a new one. Congress can at any moment repeal it, and isn’t even talking about it.

    They’re not talking about it and we all know why: It’s an election year. Why stick your neck out?

    The Republicans overwhelmingly support the prevention of the mass murder of civilians in Iraq. The democrats will support their president. As Spin pointed out, your insistence on a vote whose outcome is known and changes none of the underlying dynamics is simply pedantry.

     Well, then if its a fait acompli, shouldn’t the Congress vote on it?

    • #118
  29. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    As Spin pointed out, your insistence on a vote whose outcome is known and changes none of the underlying dynamics is simply pedantry.

    I spent quite a bit of time learning what the word pedantry means, and how to pronounce it.  So now I’m going to use it all the time.   

    • #119
  30. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Fred Cole: 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.

     This is not a new concern or a new phase in American History. The War Powers Act of 1973 predates me, but was meant limit the power of the President to use military power.  

    • #120
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