Here’s Where Rand Paul And Barack Obama Found Common Ground

The libertarian and the president are on the same side of Paul’s Iraq push”¦ for now.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives at the Senate Republican Policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol October 15, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The U.S. government shutdown is entering its 15th day as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives remain gridlocked on funding the federal government. 
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Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 14, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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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