Despite an al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq, just 25% of voters favor military action in the Middle Eastern country if Islamic radicals take control. That is an example of how much a war weary nation has changed.
Some like, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have used the escalating violence in Iraq to slam President Barack Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw from Iraq, which was based on a timeline set by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Others, however, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), say that it’s time to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq:
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to introduce legislation Friday to repeal the law that green-lighted the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and which remains on the books two years after President Barack Obama declared that war over, Paul’s office said Wednesday.
Paul’s announcement came one day after Yahoo News reported the White House now favors scrapping the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, signed into law in late 2002 by then-President George W. Bush.
Paul has been seeking Senate co-sponsors, and hopes Obama’s decision to support repeal will clear opposition from Democrats and some prominent Republicans.
“This bill will ensure that our chapter of action in Iraq is officially closed, and that any future President seeking to engage in the region will be required to come to Congress to gain authorization and support, as is Constitutionally required,” Paul wrote in a letter to colleagues obtained by Yahoo News.
“I look forward to a bipartisan process that will close this chapter in our military history, and honor the sacrifices of those that have served,” the senator wrote.
This is long overdue, but Paul has tried this before. In in November 2011, the Kentucky Republican introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal the Iraq AUMF, but it failed in a 30 to 67 vote. The White House opposed repeal at the time, though, as noted above, it seems that things have change.
The backing of the White House, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that Paul would be successful. After all, there is a majority in the Senate that wants new sanctions against Iran, despite a landmark nuclear deal. It’s almost certain, for example, that McCain and Graham will lead the effort to oppose repeal.
More than 11 years since its passage, repeal of the Iraq AUMF is long overdue. The war was unnecessary. Iraq wasn’t a real threat to the United States. What’s more, it’s beyond dispute, at this point, that the case for war was sold to Americans on faulty, if not cherry-picked intelligence. The future of the country is in the hands of the Iraqi government, where it should be.