The Afghanistan War Powers Resolution – March 10 2010
On March 10, 2010, Congressman Dennis Kucinich brought to the floor of the House of Representatives a Resolution, “to direct the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan.”
The war had dragged on for eight years, and yet Congress had scarcely debated their role or responsibilities in the conflict beyond facilitating it – “supporting the troops,” granting and legislating expansions of executive power, and writing blank checks to pay for defense operations.
Particularly under President Bush, and also under President Obama, whenever questions have been raised about how to resolve or end hostilities, the discussion has tended to turn toward the Pentagon and the intelligence community – i.e. war-fighters – who would “win” the wars. Until the day of this debate, Members of Congress had scarcely stood to ask tough questions about the goals, strategies, and operations that were underway, or to tell truth to power when necessary – a responsibility and integrity for which Rep. Kucinich is well-respected.
As a consequence of Congress underestimating the power of the olive branch it possesses in the form of oversight and co-equality, the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force has remained the cornerstone of the body’s deference to those who guide arrows clutched by the eagle’s talon.
Hence it has primarily been through defense and supplemental appropriations bills that Members have offered their input on the overall direction and momentum of American war policies. Until the Afghanistan War Powers Resolution, there had been no legislative debates over military escalation, over American geopolitical strategy and transparent long-term interests in the region, over the efficacy and non-empire-like nature of General Petreaus’s Counterinsurgency Strategy, or over the overall moral and financial cost of our post-9/11 ever-expanding global military enterprise.
Though it will most likely be passed over by many as another legislative argument and folded into the pages of the history of this conflict, the Afghanistan War Powers Resolution’s call for unilateral military withdrawal succeeded in marking a rare event by bringing Members of Congress to the floor of “The People’s House” to debate the role of Congress itself in guiding and facilitating the war in Afghanistan.
Below are video excerpts from that floor debate. They are informative and insightful and are worthy of being bookmarked in the history of legislative efforts to promote peace and end endless wars.
On Agreeing to the Resolution: H CON RES 248 Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan,
the final vote count was:
Ayes: 65 (Democrat: 60; Republican: 5)
Nays: 356 (Democrat: 189; Republican: 167)
Abstained: 9 (Democrat: 3; Republican: 6)
An A/V Note: These videos can be sensitive to over-clicking and running simultaneously. Please be gentle.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich Introducing H. CON. RES. 248:
Rep. Howard Berman:
Rep. Walter Jones:
Rep. Poe and Filner:
Rep. Kucinich, Kirk, Berman, and Serrano:
Rep John Lewis:
Rep. Ackerman, Kucinich, Duncan: (a/v note: sync in this video corrects itself)
Rep. Kucinich 2:
Rep. Kucinich 3:
Rep. Kucinich 4:
Rep. Kucinich 5:
Rep. Kucinich 6: (closing remarks)