We still have the blanket authorization for the use of military force

Congresswoman Barbara Lee from northern California is the only member of Congress who voted back in 2001 against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, warning that it was a blank check giving the president unchecked opportunity to wage war while abdicating congressional authority. Barbara Lee was prescient. The authorization has undergirded all the military forays of presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump into Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and nine other countries plus the high seas.

Rep. Barbara Lee is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee. On June 29, she introduced an amendment to the defense appropriations bill to revoke the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It passed with bipartisan support on a voice vote and the committee members applauded.

About two weeks later, quite literally in the dead of night, around 1 a.m., at the behest of Speaker Paul Ryan, the House Ways and Means Committee stripped the amendment to revoke the authorization from the Defense Authorization Bill.

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This was a Republican dirty trick, and I'm sure Speaker Ryan does not want to preside over a debate about a Republican president's use of force. But the Dems are also liable. President Obama used the Authorization for the Use of Military Force freely. Speaker Ryan didn't want to challenge him either.

So Barbara Lee stands alone, a tiny woman, continuing to make giant efforts for peace.


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