March 30, 2013. Washington. Watch the headlines any month now. Pressure is building for a battle in Washington and the streets over the recently introduced bi-partisan legislation that ends the War on Terror. And to no one’s surprise, President Obama appears to be lining up with Republicans to continue the war indefinitely. At the same time, his own Democrats are positioning themselves for a fight on the issue, including one of its most powerful leaders.
Republican Senators like Bob Corker (R-TN) don't want to end the War on Terror. They just want to update it for the next decade.
HR 198 – Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force
Two weeks ago, we brought readers the news about House Resolution 198 – the Bill that ends the War on Terror. As we reported, revoking the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force’ may also cause other laws like the Patriot Act and NDAA to be un-Constitutional again. The federal government has been up to some extreme and unpopular things since 2001 when America was officially declared in a state of war. It wasn’t exactly the way most Constitutionalists would have liked. But at least this time the US President appealed to Congress for its okay to launch a war. Unfortunately, aside from an ‘emotion’, Congress didn’t know who they were declaring war against. It turned out to be half the world.
Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), one of the few House members who voted against the war in 2001, the Bill has nine additional co-sponsors made up of eight Democrats and one Republican – Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).
The text of the Resolution to revoke authorization for military force is short and to the point. It reads, ‘Congress finds that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note), signed into law on September 18, 2001, has been used to justify a broad and open-ended authorization for the use of military force and such an interpretation is inconsistent with the authority of Congress to declare war and make all laws for executing powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.’
Read, ‘HR 198 – the Bill that ends the War on Terror’ for more information.
Senate preparing to act
With the House Resolution to end the War on Terror passed onto Committee, possibly stuck there forever with its GOP majority, the US Senate appears to be moving closer to proposing its own companion legislation. And key US Senators are already making curious public statements suggesting what their positions will be. While HR 198 is stuck in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are lining up for a fight of their own. And they include some of the more controversial figures as of late.
The Chairman of the Committee is Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who was first found to have a repeat offending, registered child predator working in his Senate office. He was then, justly or unjustly, accused by Republican operatives of utilizing underage, off-shore prostitutes provided by a major Democratic campaign contributor embroiled in legal troubles of his own. While the GOP allegations have mostly been disproven, Sen. Menendez has received strike two on a subject that Americans have little or no tolerance for.
Since Chairman Menendez is having legal troubles of his own, with the secret FBI investigation of him turning out to be real, he may just join President Obama and the Republicans in their effort to keep the nation at war. Showing the Republicans’ shrewd strategy, the highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) – has already indicated he supports keeping the war powers going, albeit with a few modifications.
“For far too long, Congress has failed to fully exercise its Constitutional responsibility to authorize the use of military force, including in the current struggle against al-Qaida,” Sen. Corker announced to the gathered Senate Committee last week, “So, I urge the committee to consider updating current anti-terrorism authorities to adapt to threats that did not exist in 2001 and to better protect our nation while upholding our morals and values.”
Dick Durbin sounds like Rand Paul
For his part, the second-highest ranking Democrat on the Committee – Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) – suggested he may break with the President and vote to end the war. “I don’t believe many, if any, of us believed when we voted for that, and I did vote for it, that we were voting for the longest war in the history of the United States and putting a stamp of approval on a war policy against terrorism that, ten years plus later, we’re still using” Durbin said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
With both Durbin and President Obama part of the notorious Chicago Democratic Machine, spectators are curious about his unusual break from the organization’s pro-war policy. Word in the precincts is that Sen. Durbin may retire and not run for re-election in 2014. But a recent Huffington Post article says unnamed sources indicate he’s been talked into running for a fourth term and becoming Illinois’ second-longest serving Senator in history.
Durbin, an extremely popular figure in Illinois and having won his last re-election with 68% of the vote, is guaranteed a victory. He’s scandal-free and controversy-free. The Senator also seems to have a knack for being ahead of the curve when it comes to what voters want. Now he’s echoing speeches of Republican Senators like the libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – who is also a member of the same Committee along with the staunchly pro-war Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Sen. Paul made nationwide headlines when he filibustered the US Senate for an entire day recently, demanding information about President Obama’s policies and programs regarding the targeted assassinations of American citizens on American soil without charge, trial or conviction.
“Is this a wide-open opportunity for any President to use lethal force anywhere against anyone?” Durbin asked reporters. Until now, the US government’s killing of Americans without due process was never a part of the War on Terror. But Sen. Paul’s iconic day-long speech on the floor of the US Senate suddenly linked the two. And with Sen. Dick Durbin in apparent agreement, the War on Terror’s days may be numbered.
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
For readers who wish to see the longest-lasting war in US history finally ended, the House Resolution (HR-198) must make it out of Committee. The Chair of the Committee is Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and the highest ranking Democrat is Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Below are the remaining members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. None of them are co-sponsors of HR-198…yet.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA)
Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL)
Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
Rep. Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa)
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. George Holding (R-NC)
Rep. William Keating (D-MA)
Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-IL)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)
Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
For more information on HR 198 and to read the full text, click here.
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