Rand Paul: Time to revisit Mideast war authorization

  • In Politics
  • 2020-01-12 18:12:07Z
  • By Politico

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Sunday he thinks it is time for lawmakers to revisit ongoing conflicts the U.S. is engaged in, saying he doesn't think Congress meant to "bind another generation" when it authorized the war against Iraq in 2002.

"We really need to have a debate about whether we should still be in Iraq or in Afghanistan," Paul said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "There needs to be authorization from Congress."

He was responding to a question from host Chuck Todd about the briefing that members of Congress received last week about President Donald Trump's rationale for killing a top Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3. Paul said the explanations provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about an imminent threat from Iran were not entirely convincing.

"He thinks he can square the circle, but to me it seems pretty inconsistent," Paul said of Pompeo.

The senator, who has often stood apart from his fellow Republicans on foreign policy, said the whole situation raised larger issues.

"To me, there's a bigger question, too, though," he told Todd. "This is what really infuriated me about the briefing. … They maintain both in private and in public that a vote by Congress in 2003 or 2002 to go after Saddam Hussein was a vote that now allows them to still be in Iraq and do whatever they want, including killing a foreign general from Iran."

Paul added: "I don't think that's what Congress meant in 2002, nor do I think one generation can bind another generation."

On consecutive days in October 2002, the House (voting 296-133) and Senate (77-23) approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which gave the second Bush administration authorization to use military force, if necessary, against Hussein and the Iraqi leadership. At the time, Hussein was suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction, but that later proved not to be the case.

Paul was not in Congress at that time, though his father was. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was one of six Republicans in the House to oppose the measure.

Other lawmakers have expressed concerns about the Trump administration's using old congressional authorizations to justify military action now. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), speaking on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," said he supported a resolution by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that would specify that resolutions from the Bush years can't be used to justify war against Iran.

"Neither the '01 nor the '02 AUMF can be read to support further military action against Iran," Lee said, referring to the Authorization for Use of Military Force. The 2001 resolution authorized action against those behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kaine said it was a matter of Congress' performing its constitutional obligation to decide whether the country should go to war.

"We don't want to put our troops in harm's way unless there is deliberation in front of the American people about whether it's important," he said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."


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