[pjw] NEWS: Reps push House to debate war against Islamic State - SF Chronicle 5/12
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Mon May 16 18:27:10 EDT 2016
As we noted last week, the US war on "ISIS" is not being conducted with
lawful authorization from Congress.
Rep. Barbara Lee, famous for being the one member of Congress who didn't
vote for the "war on terror" in 2001, held a news congerence with a
half-dozen other legislators last Thursday demanding a debate and vote on
a war authorization. She pushed the hashtag #CongressMIA
and showed a map of countries subjected to US military action under ths
2001 authorization. Oddly-- and maybe I'm missing something here-- the
map includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Georgia and Turkey as well as
Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan (but not
As the article below notes, she's saying "the Congressional Research
Service found that the Afghanistan war resolution has been used 37 times
to authorize military actions since it was passed", in 14 countries.
(There are only 12 on the list / map above.)
Anyway, regardless of those details, the big picture here is that there's
a lawsuit against the US for conducting these wars and there's a new
movement in Congress to debate whether American should be doing so. It's a
great time for the peace community to step up and say "debate yes, war
(Thanks to Betty for sending the article)
peace and justice works iraq affinty group
Rep. Lee, others push House to debate war against Islamic State
By Carolyn Lochhead
Updated 4:37 pm, Thursday, May 12, 2016
WASHINGTON -- With hundreds of U.S. forces now operating on the ground
in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Barbara Lee led a bipartisan effort Thursday to
insist that Congress debate escalating U.S. ground combat overseas
against the Islamic State.
President Obama sent 200 additional ground troops to Iraq and 250
special operations forces to Syria last month, using the war resolution
Congress passed 15 years ago to approve the invasion of Afghanistan.
On Thursday, three House Republicans and five House Democrats stood
outside the Capitol to demand that Speaker Paul Ryan allow debate on a
new war resolution, arguing Congress has a clear constitutional
obligation to approve wars, but that GOP leaders are shirking that
responsibility for political reasons.
Lee, D-Oakland, said Republican leaders "don't want the responsibility"
for the undeclared war against the Islamic State, which she said has
been under way without any debate in Congress for two years at a cost
of $19.5 billion. Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the
war in Afghanistan, said the Congressional Research Service found that
the Afghanistan war resolution has been used 37 times to authorize
military actions since it was passed.
The group said it intends to offer amendments asking for a war
authorization on a pending defense bill, but have had no assurance from
Ryan or other House GOP leaders that the amendments will be permitted.
"We are at war," said Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican representing a
southern Virginia district near the giant naval base at Norfolk. Rigell
noted the May 3 combat death in Iraq of Navy SEAL Charlie Keating, the
third U.S. soldier killed in operations against the Islamic State.
"This mission (against the Islamic State) had mission creep before it
started," said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. Massie argued that Congress
needs to debate the military mission in Syria and said he has asked GOP
leaders about a new war resolution but was told that the president
already has one.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove (Sacramento County), said the
failure by Congress to approve a new authorization of the use of
military force violates the constitutional principle that war-making
powers should not be vested in a single person, the president.
Two liberals, Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.,
said opinions on what a new war authorization should include vary
widely, but that is all the more reason to have a public debate over
the purpose, scale and timeline of the war against the Islamic State.
Obama requested a new war authorization Feb. 11, 2015, that would
permit limited ground combat operations, but Congress has not acted on
Carolyn Lochhead is The San Francisco Chronicle's Washington
correspondent. Email: clochhead at sfchronicle.com
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