Senator Rand Paul once again proved that he is a Constitutionalist and a principled non-interventionist by reminding the Senate of his staunch opposition to the US being illegally engaged in war for the best part of two decades.
Paul was speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday, arranged to review congressional authorizations for the use of military force, when he made the argument against military engagement in Syria without Congressional approval.
Paul made specific reference to The War Powers Act, which as he noted has been abused by the government to wage war in the Middle East and beyond.
“Madison wrote that the executive branch is the branch most prone to war; therefore, the Constitution, with studied care, granted that power or vested that power in the legislature.” the Senator noted.
“In no way did they argue that Article II was unlimited authority to commence, initiate or engage in war, at all. In fact, most of the founding fathers would disagree with you on saying that Article II gives the president power to commence in war. To defend the country under imminent attack, to execute the war once the war is initiated — the initiation of war is congressional duty, not — not the president’s at all.” Paul continued.
“There’s nothing in the War Powers Act about unauthorized war, because we’re not supposed to be doing it… There’s supposed to be no war without an AUMF. We have been illegally at war for a long time now. This is illegal war, at this point,” Paul urged.
The Senator further argued that proposed Senate reforms fail to address this problem, and will not stop the military industrial complex from continuing on a path toward world war three.
“Are we going to limit the president’s power? Are we going to take back our powe?” Paul asked.
The Senator also addressed a proposed sunset clause, a move that has been used time and again to stretch out the Authorization of Use of Military Force signed by George W. Bush in 2001, essentially an open-ended mandate for war.
“I think a five-year sunset, is–you know, and I don’t mean to be mean, but–is essentially nothing. I mean, we’ve had millions of people die in five-year wars before, so I think it’s — it’s virtually meaningless,” Paul said.
“The document, as Senator Cardin said, was very, very specific to 9/11,” Paul said. “And we’ve had people just saying, “you can do anything you want” now for 15 years… The practical question is, is doing anything you want, killing every perceived enemy and every perceived leader or chieftain of five people in some misbegotten village, is it helping?”
“I’m not going to vote to go to war in 50 or 60 countries,” he added, saying he rejects the proposed legislation.
“I was all for going after the people after 9/11, I would have voted for that, but I don’t think that war in Yemen is necessarily helping us.”The Senator exclaimed.
Paul concluded by warning that a continued policy of endless war will lead to more conflict and the ultimate destruction of the Republic.
“For a hundred years, they’ll be talking about the time the Americans came and killed the people and killed our women and children. For a hundred years, they’re going to be talking about the Saudis dropping bombs on a funeral procession. That does not go away. These people remember the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. They have long memories,” Paul said.
“They’re just going to be there and they will wait us out. But we’re not going to defeat terrorism by having war in 60 some odd countries and dropping drones on everybody that we think in a village is of a radical ideology. We have to defend ourselves but we should be much more specific than this.” Paul urged.