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. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Manny:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    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.

     Until we fix our Communism problem at home, every foreign fight will be throwing lives away.  That is the long game.  it will profit us nothing to try to scrub the Middle East while not being serious about our borders.

    • #121
  2. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    You know, His Excellency Colonel Obama would be able to get a confirmation of the AUMF passed with a rousing speech and a huge bipartisan majority if he were really a Lightworker.
    Imagine the scene on the south lawn with everybody united, yay, America.

    • #122
  3. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Fred Cole: 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?

     You sure about that?
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States
    US Constitution, Article II, Section 2

    The Executive is a co-equal branch of government with all the power of that branch residing in one man.  It is so by design.  The President is under no constitutional obligation to defer to Congress on the use of the forces under his command.  If Congress disagrees with his decision, it can refuse to fund it.

    • #123
  4. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred Cole:

    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.

     Hey, Fred, Could you do me favor and bother read your own comments before you moan about being misquoted?

    Fred Cole: is it a “perfectly valid” AUMF? It was passed 12 years ago, under a different president, different secretary of state and different Congress.

    That would be super, thanks.

    Also, I prefer the serial comma. But I guess libertarians just love freedom too much to be weighed with it.

    • #124
  5. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Klaatu:

    Fred Cole: 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?

    You sure about that? “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States” US Constitution, Article II, Section 2

    The Executive is a co-equal branch of government with all the power of that branch residing in one man. It is so by design. The President is under no constitutional obligation to defer to Congress on the use of the forces under his command. If Congress disagrees with his decision, it can refuse to fund it.

     Fred doesn’t care about that. If there’s a new Congress, new president, and new Secretary of State, then the law is no longer valid. Which is good news for Obamacare.

    • #125
  6. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Klaatu:

    Fred Cole: 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?

    The Executive is a co-equal branch of government with all the power of that branch residing in one man. It is so by design. The President is under no constitutional obligation to defer to Congress on the use of the forces under his command. If Congress disagrees with his decision, it can refuse to fund it.

     I don’t often find myself agreeing with you, Klaatu, but I’d rather see a President deal with a foreign threat by destroying it in its lair instead of turning America into a surveillance state as a passive defense against the threat.

    BTW, I like your new avatar, too.

    • #126
  7. user_656019 Coolidge
    user_656019
    @RayKujawa

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    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?

     We currently have diplomatic, military and political eggs in that part of the world, near Irbil. Neither the president nor the American people want to see a repeat of Libya. The president is understandably sensitive about having another Libya. We have forces over there, and we don’t necessarily want to shout it out to the world we’re there in force. We were surprised and know we have to hold the line here. This is one time when the Commander in Chief knows better than we do and should have freedom to make the call. There’s more riding on this than just political embarrassment.

    • #127
  8. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    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.

     I don’t think that it is sensible to have sunset clauses in AUMFs; doing so creates additional drama and difficulty for military commanders and adds incentives for our enemies to kill Americans (the eve of any extension vote is sure to be a strong pick me up to any terrorist in need of invigoration). Still, it seems respectable to argue that the last AUMF should have had a sunset clause, and that future ones ought to. 

    Fred’s claim that we should treat a law that is currently valid as if it is not valid on the basis that we should have written a Sunset clause into it, though, seems more problematic. 

    I don’t believe that Iraq wants unusual military protection for perpetuity, nor that South Korea, Japan, or Europe should be admitted into the Union. 

    • #128
  9. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Albert Arthur:

    Fred Cole:

    Albert Arthur:

    Not for nothing, but you know nothing.

    How does that help? How does that advance the conversation?

    What is there to have a conversation about? You think the Muslim Brotherhood should be in control of Egypt. You didn’t want to do anything about Russia taking Crimea. You don’t think the United States should have borders. You refused to say if you think Israel has the right to defend its border. You don’t think we should stop ISIS.

     I agree that Fred is wrong about all these things (possibly not the last one, in the sense that I’m not sure if he believes that; Fred, do you believe that?)
    I think you chose a moment where Fred was correct, though, to pounce, like picking midday to announce that a “clock” with the hands painted on pointing to 12 was always wrong.

    Ball Diamond Ball really did appear to suggest that IS would take over Iraq, and IS really is neither likely nor certain to do that.  I don’t know who BDB believes likely to take over Iraq, but Fred’s response there seems helpful, polite, and informative. 

    • #129
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Ray Kujawa:  We currently have diplomatic, military and political eggs in that part of the world, near Irbil. Neither the president nor the American people want to see a repeat of Libya.

    Then why not hold a vote in Congress.  I accept that, legally, there may be no need for a renewed AUMF, but I’ve yet to hear an explanation from anyone as to why re-asserting Congressional approval would cause harm.

    • #130
  11. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Ray Kujawa: We currently have diplomatic, military and political eggs in that part of the world, near Irbil. Neither the president nor the American people want to see a repeat of Libya.

    Then why not hold a vote in Congress. I accept that, legally, there may be no need for a renewed AUMF, but I’ve yet to hear an explanation from anyone as to why re-asserting Congressional approval would cause harm.

    Because there are enough Democrats who hate the thought of American military forces rescuing helpless people and looking like heroes and enough Republicans who don’t want to give President Obama any sort of political victory that a renewed AUMF might not pass.

    If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

    • #131
  12. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Carey J.: Because there are enough Democrats who hate the thought of American military forces rescuing helpless people and looking like heroes and enough Republicans who don’t want to give President Obama any sort of political victory that a renewed AUMF might not pass.

    Let’s assume this is true and that there are enough of them to sway the vote.  That’s still a terrible reason.  If the American people’s representatives won’t do the right thing, the solution is to un-elect them.

    • #132
  13. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Carey J.: Because there are enough Democrats who hate the thought of American military forces rescuing helpless people and looking like heroes and enough Republicans who don’t want to give President Obama any sort of political victory that a renewed AUMF might not pass.

    Let’s assume this is true and that there are enough of them to sway the vote. That’s still a terrible reason. If the American people’s representatives won’t do the right thing, the solution is to un-elect them.

     It’s better to avoid screwing up for a bad reason than to screw up for a good reason. If it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid. If it’s smart and it doesn’t work, it’s not smart. Or as Forrest Gump famously said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    I’d certainly agree that the country would be better off if half the Legislative branch (and their staffers) had to seek honest employment, but until we can get them off the federal payroll, I’d rather they did fewer stupid things, even if they avoid doing them for stupid reasons.

    • #133
  14. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Carey J.: Because there are enough Democrats who hate the thought of American military forces rescuing helpless people and looking like heroes and enough Republicans who don’t want to give President Obama any sort of political victory that a renewed AUMF might not pass.

     I totally disagree with this. Republicans would back the president on this, and enough Democrats will do anything Obama wants that a new AUMF would definitely pass. But since the president already has the authority to act, what’s the point? Almost exactly a year ago Obama punted on Syria, saying he was going to ask Congress for approval. And then he never asked. The only reason at this point to seek a AUMF would be to avoid taking action. Perhaps, perhaps it’s just possible, that after avoiding his responsibility last summer in Syria, the president might, might, have learned something this time around.

    • #134
  15. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Carey J.: Because there are enough Democrats who hate the thought of American military forces rescuing helpless people and looking like heroes and enough Republicans who don’t want to give President Obama any sort of political victory that a renewed AUMF might not pass.

    Let’s assume this is true and that there are enough of them to sway the vote. That’s still a terrible reason. If the American people’s representatives won’t do the right thing, the solution is to un-elect them.

     If there were a good reason to have the vote, you’d want a good reason to oppose it.  Since there is, so far as I can tell, no reason to have the vote apart from Fred’s entertainment, reasons like “Congressional time is a non-trivial commodity”, “calling for a vote after bipartisan isolationists created the problem by making it clear they would not support action in Syria would complicate the process of alliance building”, or “the awful rhetoric the world would hear during the debate would be damaging to America” seem good enough. 

    • #135
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