As if in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the dastardly deed in March, 2003, the US Senate has finally decided that the AUMF (Authority to Use Military Force) SJ Res 23 is no longer relevant – except for those Senators who opposed its repeal. Twenty years ago, in response to the 911 attack, the US illegally invaded Iraq in a ‘shock and awe’ campaign that devastated the people of Iraq and was initiated under the false weapons of mass destruction pretense.
That original Resolution to “authorize the use of US Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the US” was specific to 911 and approved within days of the September 11th attack. With the intent to threaten US military action, the Senate approved that Resolution 98 – 0 which has remained in effect for the last twenty years . The AUMF was also liberally utilized over the years to justify other questionable foreign interventions.
It was however HJ Res. 114 “The AUMF Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” that a willing Senate voted to approve an intentionally fabricated war which never discovered weapons of mass destruction as were alleged to exist by the US Secretary of State in front of the UN’s world community. On a 77 – 23 vote, the US went to war for a total cost of $3 trillion with 4,500 American deaths and 32,000 wounded. By December, 2011, 39,000 Americans troops were withdrawn leaving a custodial force in place.
During his “Beyond Vietnam” speech in 1967 from the pulpit at Riverside Church, New York City, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. described it concisely: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own Government.”
Twenty years later, “S 316, A Bill to Repeal Authorizations for Use of Military Force Against Iraq” was introduced and debated in the Senate with a series of Republican amendments, all of which were defeated with most in opposition to repeal.
Sen. Rand Paul’s (SC) amendment to repeal AUMF failed on a spectacular vote of 89 – 6 and was followed by Sen. Mike Lee’s (Utah) amendment to terminate AUMF after two years unless Congress voted to continue also failed 76 – 19. In addition, Sen. Josh Hawley’s (Mo.) amendment to appoint an Inspector General to investigate $113 Billion sent to Ukraine failed 68 – 26 with no Democrats in support. Sen. Rick Scott (Fl.) offered an amendment to conduct a full investigation of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan which also failed 62 – 33 also with no Democrats in favor. Sen. Tim Kaine, Democratic floor manager for S 316, determined that the Hawley Scott amendments were not germane and called on Democrats to vote No.
After almost two weeks of casual debate which began on March 16th, final passage was adopted on a 66 – 30 vote which surpassed the necessary sixty vote filibuster requirement. The Aye votes included eighteen Republican Senators while the thirty Nay votes were all Republicans. Those Republican Ayes were Sens. Braun (Ind.), Budd (NC), Cassidy (La.), Collins (Me.), Cramer (ND), Daines (Mt.), Grassley (Iowa), Hawley (Mo.), Hoeven (ND), Lee (Utah), Lummis (Wyo.), Marshall (Ks.), Moran (Ks.), Murkowski (Alas.), Paul (Ky.), Schmitt (Mo.), Vance (Ohio), Young (Ind.)
The question remains why thirty Republican Senators cast Nay votes against the repeal of the AUMF. There were suggestions that an existing AUMF would protect American troops still located in Iraq or Syria. If that is a legitimate concern the simple answer is to bring all American troops home. Why exactly are there still Americans in Syria or Iraq and who benefits from an AUMF in place – the military industrial complex or perhaps Israel; certainly not American enlisted sons and daughters.
There was also the suggestion that a new AUMF be adopted to replace that being repealed which leads to speculation that there is some future military engagement lurking in the background.
In any case, it is fair to speculate a direct correlation between the AUMF, as the invasion of Iraq in 2003 set the stage for decades of unconstitutional armed interventions spreading death and destruction, chaos and loathing amongst countries unable to defend themselves yet rich in natural resources. Syrian oil, Libyan gold, and Afghan Bank funds among other appropriated commodities were all irresistible targets.
As the US magnified its simulation as a decadent Roman Empire into an international bully in pursuit of political power, geographic territory and valuable resources that belonged to others, including its own fiscal malfeasance, the American Empire has been on an irreversible path of self-destruction as a Constitutional exemplar for the world – all of which comes as a direct result of US meddling and instigation of economic and military pathological disasters never heeding the implications of their narcissistic imperialist agenda on the rest of the planet.
It is not surprising that the White House or the State Department response to the announcement of the Russia-China alliance comes as the US political establishment and its European allies continue to fan the flames of dissension; assuming a golden opportunity to take Putin down, destroy Russia and carve up its riches. The exact opposite has occurred. The US foreign policy establishment which prefers to function within its own narrow framework of reality, like any group of sociopaths, with no understanding of how US behavior is interpreted by those who dare question its motives, remains in a stupor, oblivious to the long term repercussions of their deeds – and those chickens are coming home to roost.
What they call the multi-party alliance has grown since September 2006 into BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as a global geopolitical force encompassing over 3 billion people, 41% of the world’s population and 25% GDP. It is expected to add Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Algeria, Turkey and others to its membership at their next meeting.
The Xi-Putin Agreement included strengthening the multipolar economic order by reducing dependence on the petrodollar while embracing the yuan as currency in Asia, Africa and Latin America. While the dollar as world reserve currency provides the US with its superior status, it is a role they themselves have damaged as decline of the Dollar will nullify US sanctions (aka agents of regime change) routinely applied to some of the planet’s most vulnerable nations. Xi also suggested a peace plan for de-escalation followed by a ceasefire leading to negotiations as well as resistance to NATO’s initiatives into the Asia-Pacific region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told an interviewer that Moscow was “working actively” to move away from the U.S. dollar and encouraged others like Iran which raises a logical question:
With US antagonism towards Iran, why should that country continue to trade in the Dollar? That same question may be asked to those thirty countries which are now living under US sanctions. The answer is clear.
President Joe Biden claimed the alliance was ‘vastly exaggerated’ with assurance that western countries have ‘expanded their alliances.’ However, exhibiting a failure to grasp the meaning of inclusivity, the US uninvited two NATO partners to its upcoming Summit for Democracy based on unrelated policy disagreements. Proving that hypocrisy is no stranger to US foreign policy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cavalierly refused a ceasefire and cited ‘sovereignty’ as a number one goal suggesting ‘this war could end tomorrow’ with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan lecturing about “respecting the sovereignty of all nations.”
Immediately after their rendezvous, Xi was hosting Brazilian President Lula, Putin was touring African nations while Biden was traveling to Canada to convince Trudeau about the wisdom of a Haiti invasion.
It is worth noting that the aggressive language of the AUMF granted the US President authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11 attacks. It has been some months since the Russians announced that they would hold the ‘decision-maker nations’ responsible; those nations who were in the background supplying weapons to Ukraine and fomenting the war would be considered answerable for their behavior.
Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC.