Shameless Luther Strange by Taxpayer Tom Scovill

Luther Strange has a new ad attacking Mo Brooks for four votes he took on amendments to the Defense Appropriations Acts in 2015 and 2016 related to the War Powers Act and the authorization to use military force. Here is the Strange attack ad, a shameless distortion of the truth. The roll call votes cited by Strange can be seen at the 12 second point. Contrary to what Strange says, the issue is not about funding the warriors who are in harm’s way, the issue is maintaining legitimacy.

To update your understanding of the War Powers Act, here is a recent article by Andrew McCarthy from National Review. He points to several problems which Mo Brooks and others tried to fix without success, problems which candidate Donald Trump pointed to last year but seem now to have fallen off his plate. Unless you are comfortable with the concept of continual warfare without a buy-in by the US Congress in the name of the American people, it is well past time to update the use of force authorizations from the Obama and pre-ISIS George W. Bush eras.

In the meantime, President Obama did not have and President Trump does not have authority to use military force in Syria against ISIS, Syria, Russia, or anyone else. The latter problem will be easier to solve if Luther Strange is not a member of the US Senate.

By criticizing Mo Brooks for trying to update the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force we can infer that Luther Strange is fine with Congress abdicating its Constitutional authority and responsibility to legitimize sending our warriors into harms way, a legitimacy they deserve, a legitimacy which should be clearly and loudly announced to America and the world.

We know Strange corruptly acquired his seat in the senate. He is lying shameless to keep it. And he is ruthlessly pulling the rug of legitimacy from under our warriors in harms way.

Here is a summary from congress.gov of the amendments voted on:

H.R.2685 — Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016

Roll call 346
Description: H.Amdt. 479 — 114th Congress (2015-2016): Amendment sought to prohibit the use of funds for Operation Inherent Resolve in the absence of a law enacted by Congress before such date that specifically authorizes the use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after March 31, 2016.

Roll call 347
Description: H.Amdt. 482 — 114th Congress (2015-2016): Amendment sought to prohibit the use of funds to be obligated or expended pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force after December 31, 2015.

Roll call 348
H.Amdt. 484 — 114th Congress (2015-2016): Amendment sought to prohibit the use of funds for obligation or expenditure pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

H.R.5293 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017

Roll call 329
Description: H.Amdt. 1215 — 114th Congress (2015-2016): At the end of the bill (before the short title) insert the following: SEC.___. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be obligated or expended for the engagement of the United States Armed Forces in any combat operation in either Iraq or Syria until an authorization for the use of military force has been enacted that authorizes such operation.

According to the Congressional Research Service we are currently operating under Presidential authority and two AUMFs, each of which is showing its age:

Presidential Authority to Use Military Force Against the Islamic State

President Obama in his August 2014 notifications to Congress of deployments and airstrikes in Iraq indicated his powers as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive under Article II of the Constitution gave him authority to undertake such action. Obama Administration officials and the President Obama’s September 2014 notifications to Congress for airstrikes and other actions in Iraq and Syria, however, stated that two enacted authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs), the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; P.L. 107-40), and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (2002 AUMF; P.L. 107-243), provide authorization for certain U.S. military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Khorasan Group of Al Qaeda in Syria. After these notifications, however, President Obama indicated on November 5, 2014, that he intended to enter into discussions with congressional leaders to develop a new AUMF specifically targeting the Islamic State, in order to “right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights” authorized by the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. President Obama called on Congress to enact a new AUMF targeting the Islamic State in his January 2015 State of the Union address, and transmitted a draft AUMF to Congress on February 11, 2015.

2001 Post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the AUMF authorizing the President to use military force against “those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons…. ” Although the Islamic State does not appear to fall within that language, it is possible that the executive branch regards it as one of the “associated forces” fighting alongside Al Qaeda and the Taliban that it asserts are also targetable under the 2001 AUMF. The Obama Administration had stated previous to the latest action against the Islamic State and the Khorasan Group that it will use force against such associated forces under the 2001 AUMF only when they are lawful military targets that “pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons…. ” Due to Al Qaeda’s February 2014 disavowal of any remaining ties with the Islamic State, some question whether the Islamic State can be considered an associated force under the 2001 AUMF. During his Administration, President Obama stated that the Islamic State can be targeted under the 2001 AUMF because its predecessor organization, Al Qaeda in Iraq, communicated and coordinated with Al Qaeda; the Islamic State currently has ties with Al Qaeda fighter and operatives; the Islamic State employs tactics similar to Al Qaeda; and the Islamic State, with its intentions of creating a new Islamic caliphate, is the “true inheritor of Osama bin Laden’s legacy.”

2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq

Congress enacted the 2002 AUMF prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that toppled the government of Saddam Hussein, with U.S. military deployments to and operations in Iraq continuing until December 2011. The 2002 AUMF authorizes the President to use U.S. Armed Forces to enforce relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq…. ” Although the 2002 AUMF has no sunset provision and Congress has not repealed it, one view is that after the establishment of a new Iraqi government, the restoration of full Iraqi sovereignty, and the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the 2002 AUMF no longer has force. During the Obama Administration, executive branch officials voiced support for repealing the 2002 AUMF, reflecting that Administration’s belief that it was no longer needed. Conversely, another view asserts that, although its preamble focuses on the Saddam Hussein regime and its WMD programs, the 2002 AUMF’s authorization language is broad, referring only to a “continuing threat” from Iraq, and that the 2002 AUMF could provide authority to defend against threats to Iraq as well as threats posed by Iraq. Indeed, 2002 AUMF authority was the basis for the U.S. military presence in Iraq from the fall of Saddam Hussein and completion of the WMD search to its 2011 withdrawal, a span of over eight years, a period that could be characterized as dealing with threats to Iraq rather than threats from Iraq. The IS threat in Iraq could therefore be seen as breathing new life into 2002 AUMF authority. In addition, former supporters of Saddam Hussein reportedly provide support to the Islamic State, possibly forming a link between the original aims of the 2002 AUMF and any future actions taken against the Islamic State.

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