Senate Committee Debates ‘Use Of Force’ Authorizations, Rand Paul Calls For ‘Public And Official Ending Of The Iraq War’
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delivers an opening statement before John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on February 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate committee heard testimony on the costs and benefits of the war in Afghanistan which is America's longest war.
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On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on the authorizations of “use of force.” The committee hearing was titled “Authorizations of Use of Force: Administration Perspectives,” with Senator Menendez (D-NJ) presiding.

During the hearing, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) explained his reasoning for the “public and official ending of the Iraq War.”

“I wholeheartedly support the public and official ending of the Iraq war,” Sen. Paul said. “Many of us thought the war was a mistake to begin with. Large percentages of the public now in retrospect think the war was a mistake. Even if you poll our veterans who have fought in the war the vast majority of our veterans actually think it was a mistake.”

“So publicly ending the Iraq war which has been over for a decade is a great idea and shouldn’t be controversial,” Sen. Paul continued. “But people who want to keep it in place have to realize that this vote will be similar to the vote in 2002. The vote in 2002 allowed a hundred thousand troops or more to be in Iraq, it allowed two thousand of our soldiers to die, it allowed 20,000 people to be wounded and over a thousand young men and women to lose their arms and legs. That’s what you’re voting for now.”

“If you leave this in place any president could do the same thing they did in 2002. That’s what you’re voting for,” Sen. Paul said. “Wouldn’t you want to vote again? People say we might not vote for it, that would be good if we didn’t vote for another Iraq war! But if there is another need for a war come and vote. When we have been attacked we have voted overwhelmingly. When we were attacked on 9.11 we overwhelmingly voted. Iraq was a different story and still people have debates over whether it was a good idea to this day.

“But leaving it on the books, if you vote to leave it on the books you’re voting to allow a president to send as much as hundreds of thousands of troops in,” Sen. Paul added.

“Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of American personnel overseas is of the highest priority to the State Department,” said Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. “As diplomats, it is our responsibility and our honor to represent America’s values and interests at home and abroad. That work requires our personnel to travel—and live—all over the world, including in many challenging environments.”

“We are here today to discuss authorizations for the use of military force. But I believe this hearing is also about our democracy, and the democratic values we model around the world. President Biden is committed to engaging with Congress on questions of war and peace, and to being open and transparent about when, where, why, and how the United States chooses to use military force,” Secretary Sherman added, before saying that the “Biden-Harris administration believes the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq has outlived its usefulness and should be repealed.”

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