National Security

Rand Paul’s AUMF Amendment Predictably Fails

Written by SK Ashby

Senator Rand Paul threatened to blow up the process of passing the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if his amendment to rescind the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was not given a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave Rand Paul what he wanted this afternoon and Paul's amendment was quickly defeated.

[Senators] voted 61-36 instead to table Paul’s amendment — which would have repealed the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations the US has used as the legal basis for the war on terror, with a six month delay — essentially killing his motion. [...]

Though he couldn’t outright halt the Senate’s passage of the NDAA on his own, Paul threatened on Monday to “object to all procedural motions and amendments” to delay the yearly spending bill, which funds the Defense Department and typically passes with broad, bipartisan support.

Like me, I suspect many people reading this actually agree that we should not be using legislation passed 16 years ago to justify wars taking place today.

The problem is Rand Paul's amendment was the "repeal and replace" of war authorization. It would have rescinded the 2001 AUMF in six months with no replacement in sight. Now, I am no fan of our endless, open-ended wars, however I also know it would be irresponsible to jeopardize the mission against ISIS by placing authorization on a timetable in a Congress that hasn't been able to meet a single timetable presented to them.

Some Republican senators who voted against Paul's amendment have said six months is not enough time to replace the 2001 AUMF, and I agree, but they've had a lot longer than six months to do so.

President Obama submitted a detailed proposal for a new AUMF to Congress over two years ago when the war against ISIS was just heating up, and what did they do with it? Nothing. Rand Paul himself did nothing.

Democrats who voted for or against Rand Paul's amendment did so for their own reasons, whether they were moral or political, and neither side should be attacked for doing so because, at the end of the day, this was never going to become law. Today's vote was a show vote because that's all Rand Paul has ever really been good for. Even his stance on endless wars in the Middle East can't be taken seriously because, once a upon a time, when he was running for president, Rand Paul attacked supposed arch-warhawk Hillary Clinton for being too soft on foreign policy and terrorism.

With all of that said, I expect to see thinkpieces by the end of the day pronouncing that bother parties are the same, or whatever.

I suppose that's another thing Rand Paul is good for: making everyone including himself look silly.