Last Wednesday Congress voted on an amendment introduced by Senator Rand Paul. This amendment was set to curb the authorities introduced in the Authorization for the use of Military Force Act (AUMF), which was introduced in response to the 9/11 attacks. It should be clear to anyone that this authorization has far exceeded its intended duration. Any military action set out by the United States in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th have ended a long time ago. Yet 16 years later, two different presidents have continued to piggyback off of this authorization. If you give a mouse a cookie….
The bill introduced by Rand Paul seemed like it should have been a slam dunk, after all, why wouldn’t Congress have wanted their power back? Apparently this just goes to show my foolishly naive thinking yet again as the bill was voted down 61-36. There was a pretty good mix from both Democrats and Republicans on how they voted, with some of the most progressive senators voting in favor of Paul’s amendment. This should come as no surprise as the one area where “progressives” and libertarians can usually agree is on limiting the United States’ military empire.
This of course used to be a key platform of the conservative party. George W. Bush won his first election on the idea of non-interventionism. Sadly, the conservative party platform is quite different today, in large part due to W’s response to 9/11 and the AUMF. Those who voted against Paul’s amendment spit out the same tired rhetoric that an amendment such as this would put the country at risk because it would limit our ability to respond to national security threats quickly. They missed the irony that that response is both an insult to congress itself by confirming that they are incapable of getting anything done in a timely manner, and in opposition to the constitution which they were sworn to uphold.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) even went so far as to say, “you can’t replace something with nothing, and we have nothing.” Well, I for one can think of something that you do have…