“I’ll be introducing an amendment to the upcoming defense bill that will state in no uncertain terms that the president cannot use vague, out-of-date authorities to send our troops to war,” Senator Rand Paul began a short video he shared on Facebook Monday evening.
When Obama came to the White House, Paul notes, he was elected on promises of ending the already lengthy, futile wars started by his predecessor. Since then, Obama has done just the opposite. In fact, he now holds the dishonor of being the president who has kept America at war the longest, all the while using Orwellian language to pretend he is the peace president he pledged he would be.
“In his last months in office, you would think President Obama might be trying to wind down these seemingly never-ending and growing series of wars,” Paul adds. “You would be wrong.”
In Afghanistan and Iraq alike, American intervention continues. Not only are these nation-building projects counter-productive and expensive, but they aren’t even legal. They all operate under the cover of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed shortly after 9/11. Especially with the Islamic State as the now-primary enemy, it’s a huge stretch to say a document written years before ISIS existed meets the legal requirements our Constitution spells out for war.
That’s why Paul is insisting that for these wars to continue, “there must be a new declaration of war by Congress.”
“One generation cannot and should not bind another generation to perpetual war,” he says. “The cost in lives and dollars of the last 15 years of our foreign policy has been staggering, and the benefits? Somewhere between questionable and negligible.”
Paul is right, and the Senate would do well to pass his amendment. It’s a much-overdue step toward a more restrained, reasonable foreign policy of prosperity and peace.