Rand Paul Stands Tall Against Endless War
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Article from The Atlantic, by Conor Friedersdorf
Senator Rand Paul is trying to pressure his colleagues in Congress to reassert power over where the United States wages war. Should U.S. troops be fighting in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan? Should American drones carry out lethal strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond? The Kentucky Republican wants the House and Senate to decide questions like that through new votes that force legislators to go on the record so that they are fully accountable to their constituents—and discharging the role enumerated for them in the U.S. Constitution.
In recent years, Congress has instead ceded such questions to successive presidents. For example, President Barack Obama waged war in at least seven countries under the auspices of an Authorization to Use Military Force that legislators passed shortly after 9/11, even though its language specifies “those nations, organizations, or persons” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,” a limit that has been oft exceeded.
On Monday, the anniversary of that bygone terrorist attack, Paul published an opinion article laying out why he wants to sunset the authorizations for use of military force that Congress passed prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And then he took to the Senate floor in a lonely protest to try to force a vote on his reform amendments.
“Tonight, the Senate is attempting to move forward with the Defense Bill,” he stated on Twitter. “I will object to all procedural motions and amendments unless and until my amendment is made in order and we vote on these wars. An attempt was made to run the clock on the bill overnight. I objected and am now sitting on the floor of the Senate … I sit silently to protest the thousands of American soldiers who have died over the past decade in these wars. We have been there for 16 years. It is time for them to end. It is time for Congress to vote on whether or not they should end.”
Read more from The Atlantic.