Friday, September 15, 2017

All Dems Want Peace And All Republicans Want War, Right? No


Early this summer it looked like the House would vote on Barbara Lee's attempt to repeal and replace an outdated Bush-era Authorization for the Use of Military Force. But then Paul Ryan, secretly-- in the dead of night-- pulled the amendment out of the 2018 Defense Appropriations Bill that had previously been agreed to. Lee's office: "In a desperate and undemocratic attempt to kill Barbara's AUMF repeal amendment, Speaker Paul Ryan stripped it from the Appropriations bill in the middle of the night without even bringing it up for a vote. This shows the extreme tactics Ryan will use to uphold the status quo and avoid debating endless wars. It shows an underhanded move to make Barbara's amendment vanish into thin air. And it shows a new low for the Speaker that requires us to come together and take action... Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace for nearly 16 years. What is Paul Ryan afraid of? Why won't he let members of Congress honor their constitutional responsibility to debate and vote on U.S. military intervention abroad? Paul Ryan should be ashamed of himself. This isn't leadership, this is autocracy. If we are going to continue to send our brave servicemembers into battle zones to fight endless wars, Congress must have the courage to take up this debate. With your help, we'll make it clear to Paul Ryan that the American people want Congress to act to stop endless war."

Wednesday Rand Paul gave it a try in the Senate. He did little better than Lee had. Senator Paul had hoped "to repeal the war authorizations that underpin the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as military action in a slew of other countries." His amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was killed 61-36. It wasn't a Democrat vs Republican vote. The only Republicans backing Rand Paul's amendment were Mike Lee (UT) and Dean Heller (NV). Progressive tended to support him as well-- Bernie (VT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkely (OR), Sherrod Brown (OH), Harris (CA), Udall (NM), Hirono (HI), Markey (MA), Heinrich (NM)...

Democrats who voted against the bill-- the pro-war part of the party-- included Bob Casey (PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Joe Manchin (WV), Debbie Staben ow (MI), Cortez Masto (NV), Tom Carper (DE), Mark Warner (VA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Brian Schatz (HI), Claire McCaskill (MO)...

Alan Grayson first ran for Congress on a pro-peace platform and the issue was never far from uppermost in his mind. Today he mention a classic John Lennon line, All we are saying is give peace a chance. "After the WMD farce, I understand that the military-industrial complex is incapable of embarrassment or shame. However, for a Great Power to be going to war against ISIS on the basis of an AUMF issued against Al Qaida-- before ISIS existed-- is embarrassing. Every time a hard decision comes along, 535 voices shout, in unison, 'Duck!' Bipartisanly."
In a floor speech Tuesday, Paul torched his fellow lawmakers for refusing to vote to authorize the myriad military actions the U.S. has engaged in since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

"I don't think that anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes that these authorizations from 16 years ago and 14 years ago ... authorized war in seven different countries," Paul said.

"I am advocating a vote ... on whether or not we should be at war," Paul said. "It should be a simple vote. It is like pulling teeth."

But the war powers vote didn't come easy for the senator. Wednesday's vote came after Paul blocked Senate leaders' efforts to speed consideration of the must-pass defense policy bill for two days. Paul objected to procedural efforts to begin debate sooner and threatened to hold up all other senators' amendments if he wasn't granted a vote on his proposal.

Paul was joined by senators from both parties who supported sunsetting the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs in order to force Congress to debate and pass a new authorization that covers the current military campaign against ISIS as well as other contingencies.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, who has pushed for a new AUMF with Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, said it was "way past time" for a vote.

"There has been no particular motive or forcing mechanism that has made the [Foreign Relations] Committee take this up, bat it around, hear from experts, debate, amend it and send it to the floor," Kaine said of his and Flake's proposal.

"Of all the powers Congress has, the one that we should most jealously guard is the power to declare war," he said.

But opponents of the measure argued repealing the two war resolutions on such a quick timeline would endanger military operations in Afghanistan and against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and send mixed signals to U.S. troops and allies overseas.

"I did not expect that 16 years later we would still be engaged in the evolution of that fight that began on 9/11," said Senate Armed Services ranking Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island. "But we cannot, I think, simply stop, threaten to pull back our legal framework with the expectation that in six months we will produce a new and more appropriate authorization for the use of military force."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell piled on Wednesday, arguing a repeal of the legal framework for military operations against terrorist groups "breaks faith" with the troops.

Enacting a new war resolution to cover the ISIS campaign has proved to be a politically fraught effort.

Former President Barack Obama sent Congress a proposed AUMF in 2015, though neither the Senate nor the House voted on the measure. Efforts to attach a repeal of the current AUMF to major bills, including the NDAA, have also been unsuccessful.

In a classified briefing with senators in August, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the 2001 AUMF provides legal authority for current military operations in the Middle East, though Mattis has said Congress should enact a new resolution.
Doug Applegate, the progressive Democrat and former Marine colonel running for the San Diego/Orange County congressional seat occupied by Darrell Issa, summed this up perfectly this evening: "Congress needs to do their Duty under the United States Constitution and vote yea or nay for war. For it is war without question that we are conducting."

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At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

And what about some checks and balances for dropping a nuke? To me, this should be an emergency measure. Trump especially should not be the unilateral "decider' nor should any one person. This is a travesty. We thought Iraq was bad, and it was, but just wait for Trump's moves in a conflict - he will make George Bush look like small change.

Congress is just waiting, sitting around and doing nothing, to prevent this horror. When Trump is really cornered, and he will be, and lashes out in a fit of rage, watch out world. To me this is the worst disappointment of the current Congress. Please do something to prevent a unilateral decision to drop a nuke by this unstable, deranged President!

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, as far as Iraq is concerned, it was cheney and not bush. bush couldn't even find Iraq on a map, if you remember. It was cheney as a founder of pnac which authored papers advocating conquering the oil states of the Mideast in a domino arrangement as a strategic cause. bush was allowed to wear the costume (remember the AC Carrier charade) and do tax cuts. But the rest of the presidency was straight from cheney until Lehman went poof.

As far as party lust for war, THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN BIPARTISAN. Name all the Ds who voted against either AUMF. Hint: a very, VERY short list. Name all who voted against any NDAA since 2001.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

Eight years ago.I wrote: George AWOL Bush may well go into the history books, if there are history books, as The Worst President Ever, rest assured the Cheney Administration accomplished every thing it set out to. Nixon's revenge.

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, TTB, I have to disagree. Cheney (pnac) had a STATED goal to conquer and subjugate Iraq, Syria, iran (the ones not already playing ball with the cmic) and steal their oil for the greater glory of the usa military and profits for us oil companies.

They also allowed 9/11 to give us/US our "Pearl Harbor event" (so-called by pnac) to suck the suckers into support for Mideast wars. Before 9/11, you'll remember, was the anthrax thing that they were going to pin on saddam (but was almost certainly the work of Rumsfeld and cheney since the strain came directly from dod stocks) plus forged docs about yellowcake (clumsy forgeries) plus more lies about AL tubes to be used for centrifuges.

All the planning proved moot as soon as the planes hit the towers, and they HAD to do Afghanistan because of bin laden.. but they reserved plenty of weight to drop on Iraq even though it had zippy to do with 9/11.. but that's where pnac wanted to start, so they ended up doing that one with more force than Afghanistan.

You'll remember also the charade with the UN as their inspectors had nearly finished going through every Iraqi site and was just about to announce that there were no WMDs at all in Iraq... so cheney had to launch his invasion earlier than he wanted to get it in before the UN announcement.

Long story short... they screwed the pooch so bad, they never got around to Syria and Iran... although their cluster fuck in Iraq ended up spreading.

So, no, cheney did not do it all. I firmly believe that if he'd been able to do Syria, there would have been another "reichstad fire" event that would have been blamed on Iran and he would have declared martial law to stay on as de-facto dictator using the imbecile bush as his sock puppet.

But pretty much everything he thought would be so easy turned out to be nigh impossible and he'd lost enthusiasm for ruling the world by the time Lehman went down.


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