Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2015

Rand Paul: Obama Should Seek New Authorization for Iraq Strikes

iraq rand paul

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said President Barack Obama should seek new authorization from Congress before taking military action in Iraq, saying it would be “absurd” to rely on the 2001 authorization to use military force.

“This is a debate we’ve had and the Obama administration as well as many Republicans think that you can stay at war forever based on [the] 2001 use of authorization of force,” Paul told reporters Thursday. “I don’t agree with that. I don’t think one generation can commit another generation to war forever.

“Can one vote in Congress in 2001 say that we are at war forever, anywhere, anytime around the world? I think that’s absurd,” Paul continued. “And I think if the American people could weigh in on it they would be horrified to think that a vote with no geographic limit and time limit and no limit upon what enemies. I think it’s an untenable position.

“This is precisely why we should have repealed the AUMF a couple of years ago when I tried to repeal it. Now we are in a situation where no one is going to want to talk about it,” Paul said, giving little chance of the Senate debating and voting on the matter anytime soon.

His comments come after Obama announced he is prepared to send up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq to assist in training and advising Iraqi forces and to take targeted and precise military action if and when he determines that the situation on the ground requires it.

Other senators say that while the president has authority to take short-term limited action, anything broader would need a new authorization from Congress.

“I think he has … authority to act to protect the national security of the United States in the short-term, but if he is proposing anything beyond a handful of weeks or months then I think he has to come back to Congress for new authority,” Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., said. “I think the original Iraq AUMF is obsolete and I think it’s a stretch for the [2001] AUMF to cover a new long-term engagement in Iraq.”

On the 300 advisers, Murphy said, “It may make sense to give some short-term military assistance, so I’ll want to hear the details around the president’s proposal.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who recently proposed repealing the Iraq AUMF, said the question of authorization “depends on what actions they take.”

But others believe that the White House may be on legally solid ground only relying on the 2001 AUMF.

“I would hope they would consult,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. But “I think they could easily rely in this 60–word AUMF that was put forth back in 2001 … on the other hand you would think they would have the prudence — and they are showing that now — to engage Congress on what they are doing.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., endorsed the president’s strategy.

“I support President Obama’s decision to deploy a very limited number of advisers to Iraq for a non-combat training mission,” he said in a statement. “This decision gives America the flexibility to take precise action against threats to our national security and keeps Iraqi authorities accountable for maintaining the security of their own country.”


Related stories:

Obama Prepared for Iraq Action Without Congress

Obama not asking Congress’ Permission on Iraq

Amendments Opposing Iraq War Could Put House Democrats in Tough Spot

Obama’s Democrats Wary of Military Action in Iraq

Obama Could Bomb Iraq Without Congress Because War Authorization Act Never Expired

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  • Jack Everett

    Mr plagiarist strikes again lol. Rand the wing nuts voted away their war powers when they sold out to Bush and it’s still on the books now run along and see what else you can steal from intelligent people.

  • Layla

    Let me refresh your “memory”, Jack. 99% of the entire Congress voted to support Bush in Iraq and NOBODY sold out their rights on anything.

    Go ahead, make the decision by yourself and be ready to take every last bit of the blame. You are a dictator, after all.

    • Jack Everett

      You need to get informed . Congress passed legislation to give the president powers to attack any country at will. Bush used his war powers granted by congress to start two wars based on lies. Congress has not declared war on any country since WWII and always defers to the president. If you want to support a terrorist like Bush go ahead but don’t try making me your scape goat.

  • NickP

    Above “…authority to take short-term limited action, anything broader would need a new authorization from Congress.”

    See above. Does Rand Paul know about this? Probably not. Rand Paule is not the brightest penny in the jar.

  • NickP

    READING BETWEEN THE LINES of President Obama’s remarks on Iraq in the press room yesterday: The President’s announcement that he’ll send up to 300 more “American military advisers” to help “train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces” was the LEAST he could plausibly do. The minimalist announcement, according to metaphor-mixing advisers, shows his leeriness about the slippery slope: You dip a toe in, and you can be pulled under.

    His approach reflects the LIMITS OF INTERVENTION, when the root problem is political. It also shows his practical side, eschewing symbolic strikes. One Democrat’s translation: “He’s telling Washington to chill out – he’s going to take his time and do this right.” Of course, the biggest takeaway is that, as much as he wants to, he just can’t put Iraq in his rearview mirror.

    • Jack Everett

      Their is no way we should be fighting for this Bush puppet Maliki when his own army throws down their guns and runs away.

  • DAK27

    This is the exact problem you get when you concentrate all the power into ONE BRANCH of the government, which the GOP was only too f’ing happy to do after 9/11 when their boy was in the Oval Office. Too little, too late now, Mr. GOP Crybaby. You guys wanted to paint it as only a Republican could handle a war, and you made sure to give Bush & Cheney all the power to do just that. ALL BASED ON LIES, that YOU KNEW WERE LIES but it was okay then… it was a Republican then so that was GOOD!

    Now, there aren’t 3 branches of government to divide the power back into as Congress doesn’t work (too many children elected with a little ‘r’ beside their name) and the LAST thing anyone wants is CHILDREN having access to The Button.

    • Jack Everett

      Well said

  • valwayne

    Our dictator wannabe INCOMPETENT President go to Congress for authorization like George Bush always did? Obama doesn’t think he should have to bother with Congress. Besides, nobody in Congress, not Democrats nor Republicans, think Obama is honest enough, or COMPETENT enough to be trusted with any kind of authorizations. And they are right. Obama will dither and dither and then likely pick the worst possible option. Its what he’s done on the economy, with Obamacare, with the military, with our relationships around the world, with Iran, With Syria, with Putin and Russia. Nobody trusts Obama, because he’s both dishonest and INCOMPETENT. Look at the IRS deal with those suddenly crashed hard drives etc etc. Our President simply isn’t fit for the office he hold.

  • Henry Ko

    In related news, here are the US deaths in Afghanistan, by year:Bush2001: 52002: 302003: 312004: 492005: 942006: 872007: 1112008: 151Total = 558Obama2009: 3032010: 4972011: 4942012: 2942013: 115Total = 1,703Ref:

  • Anonymous


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