Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that Congress must re-assert its authority over whether or not the U.S. engages in acts of war in the wake of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying the authority had slowly been usurped over several decades dating back to the Korean War.
Noting that the 2002 authorization for military force in Iraq had been invoked to defend Soleimani’s killing, Paul told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “I don’t think that’s what Congress meant in 2002, nor do I think one generation can bind another generation.”
Paul also said on “Meet the Press” that while he disagreed with President Trump’s failure to brief Congress before the strike, “this is not a new trend, this started very aggressively with [President Harry] Truman in the Korean War,” also citing actions taken by President Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam and President Obama in the targeted killings of figures such as Osama bin Laden.
“I think presidents of both parties have been trying to usurp the authority that our founding fathers wanted to remain in Congress,” Paul said.
“They wanted to make it difficult to go to war and I think we’ve been drifting away from that for a long time, but that’s why I’m willing to stand up, not that I distrust President Trump but I’m willing to stand up even against a president of my party because we need to stand up and take back the power.”
Paul also said he would soon be arranging a hearing on documents published by The Washington Post indicating U.S. military commanders privately acknowledged lack of progress in Afghanistan and little hope for the future.
“It troubles me that in private commanders and generals have been saying for decades that there’s no mission in Afghanistan,” he said.
Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) earlier this month sharply criticized a briefing by administration representatives on the intelligence justifying Soleimani’s killing, with Lee calling the briefing “insulting” and the two saying they will support a resolution that passed the House reining in the president’s war powers.