Sometime after noon today, the House will take an important vote that is likely to determine whether the U.S. launches airstrikes in Iraq.
If the House passes the McGovern-Jones-Lee H. Con. Res. 105, which it well might, direct U.S. military intervention in Iraq will be much less likely. The bill requires the President to seek explicit Congressional approval for involving U.S. troops in combat.
Call your Representative now and urge them to vote YES on H. Con. Res. 105. You can call the Congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121. Ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. When you reach a staffer, say:
My name is ____ and I’m calling from ____ to urge Representative ____ to vote YES on H. Con. Res. 105 to require the President to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.
When you’ve made your call, you can report it using our easy response form below.
Without Congressional authorization, President Obama has sent hundreds of U.S. soldiers to Iraq who could be used to call in airstrikes – airstrikes that would be certain to kill Iraqi children against whom we have no grievance.
Congress has never voted on this. When Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973, it included a provision for just this situation: a provision to allow Members of Congress to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. troops to a combat situation.
Representatives Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee are now using this provision of the 1973 War Powers Resolution to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. soldiers for offensive military action in Iraq.
Urge your Representative to co-sponsor and vote for H Con Res 105 by signing our petition at MoveOn:
On June 19, President Obama notified Congress that he was sending U.S. troops to Iraq to serve as advisers to the Iraqi military. Press reports have indicated that these troops could be used for offensive military action, including calling in airstrikes. These are different troops than the troops President Obama sent earlier to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Congress has not authorized the U.S. use of military force in Iraq now. Nearly 200 Members of the House are on record saying that the authorization for the use of force in Iraq passed by Congress in 2002 should not be used to justify the use of force in Iraq today.
Under the War Powers Resolution passed by Congress in 1973, Members of Congress have 30 days from the President’s June 19 notification to introduce a “privileged” resolution – a resolution that can’t be buried in committee, but must go to the floor to be voted on – which would require the troops to be withdrawn.
This post is so that I can refer to my spreadsheet in blogging. For now, the attached spreadsheet is not intended to be pretty, only to be accurate. My hope is especially to educate journalists to the fact that nearly half the House is on record opposing the invocation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify the use of force in Iraq today.
The columns are as follows:
Lee-Rigell Iraq (80): the eighty signers of the Rigell-Lee Iraq war powers letter, which is here: http://lee.house.gov/sites/lee.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001_0.pdf Lee's press release is here: http://lee.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/bipartisan-letter-calls-for-congressional-authorization-before-any-military
nix Iraq AUMF (182): the 182 House Members who voted on June 19 to bar funding for using the 2002 Iraq AUMF. That roll call is here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll326.xml
nix AUMF: this column has a 1 if the person voted to defund the Iraq AUMF.
either (192): this column has a 1 if the person signed the Rigell-Lee letter, voted to defund the AUMF, or both. 192 Members are in this category. That is, 192 Members of the House are on record as opposing the use of the 2002 Iraq AUMF in Iraq today.
R-L not AUMF (10): these are the ten Members of the House who signed the Rigell-Lee letter but did not vote yes on defunding the Iraq AUMF on June 19. They are: Julia Brownley (voted no) Michael Capuano (did not vote) Andre Carson (voted no) Eleanor Holmes Norton (not allowed to vote) Collin Peterson (voted no) Charles B. Rangel (did not vote) Bobby L. Rush (did not vote) Matt Salmon (voted no) Kyrsten Sinema (voted no) Bennie M. Thompson (did not vote).
Some people claim that there’s nothing we can do to stop the President from launching a new war in Iraq, if that’s what he decides to do. But last August, when the President had decided to bomb Syria, we proved that wasn’t true. When 192 Members of the House said he had to come to Congress for authorization before using military force, the President decided to go to Congress. When he couldn’t get authorization for force, he chose diplomacy instead.
We have the same opportunity now. If we can get enough Members of Congress to sign the Rigell-Lee letter saying that the President has to come to Congress before using force, we can stop the rush to war.
Call your Representative now at 202-225-3121. When you speak to a staffer, say:
I urge Rep. ____ to sign the Rigell-Lee letter, saying the President must come to Congress for authorization before using force in Iraq. I would like to know whether Rep. ____ plans to sign the Rigell-Lee letter.
When you’ve made your call, you can report it using our easy response form below.
Virginia Republican Scott Rigell and California Democrat Barbara Lee are leading a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.
To urge your Representative to sign the bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter, sign our petition at MoveOn.
Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. President:
We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq.
We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a “quick” and “easy” military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.
We do not believe intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict.
Any solution to this complex crisis can only be achieved through a political settlement, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.
Statement of Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, on House passage of Conyers-Yoho amendment to prohibit transfer of MANPADS to Syria
President Obama is under heavy pressure to order direct U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria. But as Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times, avoiding direct U.S. military involvement in these two countries' civil wars is the "least bad option."
Thanks to Reps. Barbara Lee and John Conyers, we have a crucial opportunity TODAY to push back against the warmongers. The House will be voting on amendments to the defense appropriation that would block direct U.S. military action in Iraq and block the U.S. supply of manpads to Syrian insurgents.
Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's office. When you reach a staffer (or leave a voice mail) say
I urge you to support Barbara Lee's amendments to the defense appropriation to block funds from being used to wage another war in Iraq, and the Yoho-Conyers amendment to block the transfer of manpads to Syrian insurgents. Congress must assert its Constitutional responsibility to publicly decide when the United States goes to war.
Let us know how your call went by filling out our easy response form below.
On Wednesday night, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment introduced by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley calling on President Obama to speed up U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This was a watershed event towards ending the war. The previous high water mark of Senators calling for expedited withdrawal was 27; the previous high water mark on a vote was 18. The vote is a green light from the Senate to the White House for a faster military withdrawal that would save many American and Afghan lives and (at least) many tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.
Because it was a voice vote, there was no roll call. But, if you want to know who especially to thank, 21 Senators sponsored Merkley's amendment:
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT); Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK); Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND); Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA); Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) ; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
The Senate vote - which saw John McCain standing alone in vocal opposition - is more evidence that on key issues of war and military spending, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Buck McKeon haven't been speaking for Republicans generally.
Earlier today, President Obama announced that all US troops except for about 150 attached to the US embassy will leave Iraq by the previously agreed upon deadline of December 31.
This is welcome news. Until this month, the US was in negotiations with the Iraqi government to leave thousands of US troops in the country indefinitely. The snag in the plan was the non-negotiable (from the US perspective) stipulation that US soldiers who remained be granted legal immunity. Apparently, members of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's own coalition could not stomach the demand.
Now that he has been forced to accept an immediate withdrawal, Obama is spinning this as fulfillment of his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq. But Obama won't be able to claim this particular achievement until he removes all contractors from the country. While the President did not address the issue of contractors in his speech, it is being reported that around 9,500 contractors--including 5,000 security contractors and 4,500 "general life support" contractors--will remain in Iraq after the remaining US troops depart.
So, while the roughly 39,000 US troops left in Iraq are coming home, over 9,000 contractors will remain.