The ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are immensely complex issues and one of the issues surrounding those wars is the question of their legality. Many political figures, most often those associated with libertarian ideology, have spoken out against the way was authorized and now Senator Rand Paul(R-Ky.) has called for a vote on an amendment that would repeal the 2001 and 2004 war authorizations in six months. This would give Congress time to pass new authorizations.
It was unclear whether or not Paul’s amendment will come to a vote, but the Kentucky senator has threatened to object to all other amendments if his is not allowed a vote. This would effectively mean that no amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act would be voted upon. The two authorizations have provide the legal basis for the Obama and Trump administration’s use of force in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Paul contends those wars are illegal.
On the Senate floor, Paul argued that the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are illegal and urged Congress to reclaim its constitutional power to declare wars which has, in recent decades, been abdicated to the executive branch.
‘For the first time in 16 years, I’m advocating we should vote on whether or not we should be at war. Will senators idly sit by and let the wars continue, unabated and unauthorized?’
“It would send a very inappropriate signal to our troops, to our allies in the fight across the globe, and also it would send an unfortunate signal to our adversaries,” said Sen. Jack Reed(D-RI)”It would be read in many places as a signal the Senate has essentially declared in six months we are going to de-authorize military actions.”
Former vice-presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, on the other hand, has said that he may support Paul’s amendment.
‘I’m inclined to support it, because I think it will encourage the foreign relations committee to really grapple the Flake-Kaine AUMF.’
Despite Kaine’s support, it remains unlikely that Paul’s amendment will pass, but stranger things have happened.