Highlights

 
Quotable
Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Original Letters Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
May 22, 2007

Congress Must Do Its Duty


by Rep. Ron Paul

Many of my colleagues, faced with the reality that the war in Iraq is not going well, line up to place all the blame on the president. The president "mismanaged" the war, they say. "It's all the president's fault," they claim. In reality, much of the blame should rest with Congress, which shirked its constitutional duty to declare war and instead told the president to decide for himself whether or not to go to war.

More than four years into that war, Congress continues to avoid its constitutional responsibility to exercise policy oversight, particularly considering the fact that the original authorization no longer reflects the reality on the ground in Iraq .

According to the original authorization (Public Law 107-243) passed in late 2002, the president was authorized to use military force against Iraq to achieve the following two specific objectives only: "(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

I was highly critical of the resolution at the time, because I don't think the United States should ever go to war to enforce United Nations resolutions. I was also skeptical of the claim that Iraq posed a "continuing threat" to the United States.

As it turned out, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no al-Qaeda activity, and no ability to attack the United States. Regardless of this, however, when we look at the original authorization for the use of force it is clearly obvious that our military has met both objectives. Our military very quickly removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, against whom the United Nations resolutions were targeted. A government approved by the United States has been elected in post-Saddam Iraq , fulfilling the first objective of the authorization.

With both objectives of the original authorization completely satisfied, what is the legal ground for our continued involvement in Iraq ? Why has Congress not stepped up to the plate and revisited the original authorization?

This week I plan to introduce legislation that will add a sunset clause to the original authorization (Public Law 107-243) six months after passage. This is designed to give Congress ample time between passage and enactment to craft another authorization or to update the existing one. With the original objectives fulfilled, Congress has a legal obligation to do so. Congress also has a moral obligation to our troops to provide relevant and coherent policy objectives in Iraq .

Unlike other proposals, this bill does not criticize the president's handling of the war. This bill does not cut off funds for the troops. This bill does not set a timetable for withdrawal. Instead, it recognizes that our military has achieved the objectives as they were spelled out in law and demands that Congress live up to its constitutional obligation to provide oversight. I am hopeful that this legislation will enjoy broad support among those who favor continuing or expanding the war as well as those who favor ending the war. We need to consider anew the authority for Iraq, and we need to do it sooner rather than later.


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • Imagine an Occupied America
    3/10/2009

  • The Draft: Just Say No
    2/17/2009

  • Gaza Resolution One-Sided and Unwise
    1/10/2009

  • Obama's Opportunity
    1/6/2009

  • Whose Iraq Predictions Have Come True?
    9/23/2008

  • How Foreign Policy Affects Gas Prices
    8/23/2008

  • Getting Out of Iraq
    7/17/2008

  • Using One Tragedy to
    Create Another
    7/16/2008

  • Congress's 'Virtual Iran War Resolution'
    7/3/2008

  • War, Economy Can't Be Decoupled
    6/19/2008

  • March to War in Lebanon?
    5/22/2008

  • The Economy: Another Casualty of War
    5/20/2008

  • The Emerging Surveillance State
    4/8/2008

  • The Iraq War Ledger
    3/25/2008

  • Living by the Sword
    3/15/2008

  • Intervening Our Way to Economic Ruin
    3/14/2008

  • No to Torture, Yes to the Constitution
    3/13/2008

  • Stop Choosing Sides
    3/7/2008

  • War at Any Cost?
    3/1/2008

  • Protect America from the Protect America Act
    2/1/2008

  • The Ties That Strangle
    1/10/2008

  • Bombed If You Do, Bombed If You Don't
    12/11/2007

  • 'Homegrown Terror' Act an Attack on Internet Freedom?
    12/7/2007

  • Entangling Alliances
    11/15/2007

  • Struggling for Relevance in Cuba: Still No Cigars
    10/30/2007

  • Interventionism? Isolationism? Actually, Both
    10/25/2007

  • Support the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007
    10/21/2007

  • The Fear Factor
    7/31/2007

  • Don't Delay: US Out of Iraq Now
    7/14/2007

  • Signing Statements Erode Constitutional Balance
    7/12/2007

  • Recapturing the Spirit of Independence
    7/3/2007

  • Have We Forgotten 2003 Already?
    6/21/2007

  • Nonintervention: The Original Foreign Policy
    6/19/2007

  • The Price of Delaying the Inevitable
    6/5/2007

  • On Patriotism
    5/24/2007

  • Congress Must Do Its Duty
    5/22/2007

  • More Bureaucracy,
    Less Security
    5/15/2007

  • We Just Marched In (So We Can Just March Out)
    4/24/2007

  • More Pork for More War
    3/27/2007

  • Defund the War
    3/22/2007

  • The Original American Foreign Policy
    3/16/2007

  • The Scandal at Walter Reed
    3/9/2007

  • With Friends Like These…
    2/27/2007

  • In Congress, Opposing the War but Doing Nothing to Stop It
    2/15/2007

  • Congress Racing to Spend
    $1 Trillion on Iraq
    2/13/2007

  • Support the Troops by Ending the War
    2/1/2007

  • Inflation: The Hidden
    Cost of War
    1/30/2007

  • The Fatal Conceit
    in the Middle East
    1/23/2007

  • The Irrelevance of
    Military Victory
    1/16/2007

  • On the Mideast Escalator
    1/15/2007

  • Saddam Is Dead - So Are 3,000 Americans
    1/6/2007

  • 2007 Promises More of the Same
    12/26/2006

  • America's Original
    Foreign Policy
    12/19/2006

  • Who Makes Foreign Policy?
    12/12/2006

  • Congress to Ponder Conscription?
    11/28/2006

  • The Law of Opposites
    9/9/2006

  • This Will Come Back
    to Haunt Us
    7/21/2006

  • Avoiding War With Iran
    5/23/2006

  • Foreign Policy, Monetary Policy, and Gas Prices
    5/9/2006

  • True Foreign Aid
    5/2/2006

  • Policy Is More Important
    Than Personnel
    4/25/2006

  • An Embargo Is Not a Peaceful Alternative
    4/18/2006

  • Iran: The Next Neocon Target
    4/7/2006

  • Making the World Safe for Christianity
    3/30/2006

  • A Sense of Déjà Vu
    2/20/2006
  • More Archives


    Ron Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2014 Antiwar.com