Senate votes down bid to repeal 2001 war authorization

The Senate rejected an amendment Wednesday to revoke the authority of the U.S. to conduct military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and against al-Qaeda and other terror groups without congressional approval.

Known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the amendment was offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Paul, a frequent critic of the war and the use of the U.S. military overseas, had argued the amendments are “outdated” and the authorizations allow the pursuit of an “unauthorized, unconstitutional and undeclared war.”

“After 16 years, it’s difficult to determine the purpose in Afghanistan,” Paul said on the Senate floor.

Mr. Paul’s stated purpose was to “grab power back” from the executive branch, which was granted virtually unlimited latitude in using military force following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act was defeated 61–36, suffering bi-partisan criticisms.

Expressing fear over a collapse of military operations and, by extension, placing the political conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq in jeopardy, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), said approving the measure would have “practical and almost immediate consequences,” as no viable alternative existed to replace the amendment.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Committee on Armed Services Chair, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), said:

“Repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs without simultaneously passing a new authorization would be premature, it would be irresponsible.”

Had Paul’s amendment become law, the ability for the U.S. to conduct military operations would have ceased six months after passage.

“I don’t think one generation should bind another generation to war,” Paul said Wednesday in an interview on MSNBC.

 

[Reuters] [CNBC] [The Intercept] [Photo courtesy AP/Senate Television via RealClear Politics]