Sen. Rand Paul wants to revoke the administration’s ability to re-invade Iraq at will, and he’s getting tacit support from a seemingly unlikely ally — the White House.
Paul will introduce legislation on Tuesday to repeal the Authorization of the Use of Military Force in Iraq. But it marks one of the few times the White House and the Kentucky Republican — who is known for his strong anti-interventionist streak — agree on a defense issue. They’ve sparred over the past year on the administration’s use of drone strikes, the handling of Syria, and the National Security Agency’s intelligence-gathering programs.
“The Administration supports the repeal of the Iraq AUMF since it is no longer used for any U.S. Government activities,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, in a statement to Foreign Policy, which received an advanced copy of the legislation. “We understand that some in Congress are considering legislation related to the Iraq AUMF, and we will certainly examine these proposals as they come forward.”
An administration official noted that repealing the Iraq AUMF was not a priority for the administration because it would be largely symbolic. Paul’s push comes more than two years after the administration announced the end to the Iraq War in late 2011.
But the White House’s hands-off approach to Paul’s legislation could help him gain Democratic supporters. A similar proposal by Paul in 2011 failed by a 30-67 vote.
If Paul’s proposal is successful, the administration could strike back against terrorist activity in Iraq because of the resurgance in al-Qaida-linked violence. Under the AUMF signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 the military can take action nearly anywhere al-Qaida or an al-Qaida-linked group is located.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.