Anti-Interventionists in Congress Respond to Trump's Afghanistan Strategy

Amid efforts to get Congress to vote on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force



The small band of Republican anti-interventionists in Congress isn't enthusiastic about Donald Trump's new plan for Afghanistan. "There's nothing hasty about ending America's longest war," Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted last night. "@POTUS bowed to military-industrial establishment; doubled down on perpetual war."

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who has warned about the role of the war on drugs in the war in Afghanistan, also expressed disappointment about Trump's decision to continue the conflict. "I had hoped the Afghanistan war would end soon, but now it's inevitable that babies born during the war will be deploying to the war in 2019," Massie tweeted.

Democratic skeptics of military intervention also opposed Trump's latest move in the 16-year-old war. "I opposed President Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan, and I oppose President Trump's," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Col.) tweeted. "Ongoing boondoggle costs American blood and money."

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) also questioned the wisdom of extending the war. "Endless war in Afghanistan to support a corrupt govt is not in America's national interest," McGovern tweeted. "It's time for us to finally end this war." In a local radio interview this morning, McGovern insisted Congress had a "constitutional duty to debate these wars."

To that end, Reps. Walter Jones (R–N.C.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) have introduced a resolution requiring a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for continuing military operations in Afghanistan.

"This critically important decision in Afghanistan should compel Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility," Garamendi tweeted last night. "Congress must fully debate our goals and set clear guidelines for our actions in Afghanistan."

In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) struck a critical note as well. "The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war," he said in a statement prior to the president's address.

Paul also wants to repeal the 2001 AUMF against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks and their "associated forces." When the House passed the NDAA in July, Republican leaders stripped out an amendment that would have revoked the post-9/11 AUMF; the amendment had been sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to vote against the original AUMF.

Back then, Lee warned that the White House could use the legislation to wage endless war without the appropriate authorization of Congress. She was right, and only Congress can correct its mistake.

The pro-war Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News last night he expected broad bipartisan support for Trump's Afghanistan strategy. He said he didn't think a vote was necessary on Trump's strategy but that he'd be "happy" to cast one.