After 16 Years of War, Senate Finally Debates Need for War Debate

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2017

"We have fought the longest war in USA history under an original authorization to go after the people who attacked us on 9/11", Paul told senators.

The Senate voted Wednesday by almost two-to-one against an amendment from Sen.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) (C) returns to his office after bringing the Senate into session at the Capitol July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Jeff Flake of Arizona to draft a new war authorization, says he's likely to back Paul's amendment.

Paul criticized his colleagues ahead of the vote, urging them to embrace their war-making responsibility instead of surrendering their power to the White House.

"Repealing the 2001-2002 AUMFs without simultaneously passing a new authorization would be premature, it would be irresponsible and it would threaten the US national security and it would inhibit our democracy-building efforts overseas", McCain said on the Senate floor before the vote.

While Paul said he personally rejected the rationale behind the U.S.'s worldwide military intervention, the Kentucky senator told lawmakers Wednesday that passing his amendment would not necessarily end the country's involvement in wars overseas.

The Senate was set to consider Wednesday a proposal created to restrict President Donald Trump from wielding extraordinary powers that have allowed the U.S.to wage wars across the globe in the name of fighting terrorism since the early 21st century. "It would be read in many places as a signal the Senate has essentially declared in six months we are going to de-authorize military actions".

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"You can't replace something with nothing". Our take on Sen. He opposed Paul's amendment.

"I'm sympathetic to his concerns, but I don't think this is the way to go about it", Flake said.

The vote on revoking the Bush-era "Authorized Use of the US Military Forces" bill is scheduled in the US Senate on Wednesday. Paul is not alone in wanting to revisit the controversially expansive war powers resolutions to the National Defense Authorization Act, but he is the only legislator so far who has threatened to halt the $700 billion dollar act until his proposals for reform are addressed.

"That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of worldwide terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons". Despite sixteen consecutive years of the longest conflict in US history, the Pentagon has struggled to help local forces struggle an insurgency from the Taliban and Islamic State (ISIS) militant groups. This was the first time in 15 years the full Senate has voted on Congress' role in initiating war. US troops are supporting a Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen since March 2015.

"You can't replace something with nothing, and we have nothing", Reed said, adding that the six-month gap before the authorizations were rescinded would both create logistical difficulties for the military and send a negative signal to enemies overseas.

Some of the more brazen advocates of war maintain the President can even fight war in perpetuity without any Congressional authority.

But Short said the administration was not looking for changes and stood by the 2001 authorization. But Tillerson and Mattis also said they were open to an updated authorization provided the measure did not impose tactically unwise restrictions or infringe on the president's constitutional powers as commander in chief.

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