Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act Would Repeal the 2001 AUMF

In his work opposing United States wars overseas, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), before his death Sunday, put much effort into seeking a repeal of the 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF) that has been used by successive presidents as a basis for intervention and war across the world in the name of fighting terrorism. In the week before Jones’ death, Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act (HR 966), with Jones as the original cosponsor, that would repeal that AUMF and thus eliminate a reason used for presidents to intervene overseas without particular congressional approval.

Garamendi spoke fondly of Jones in Garamendi’s press release announcing the introduction of the bill,:

‘Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war, and we have abdicated that responsibility for far too long,’ Garamendi stated. ‘That is why I am introducing this legislation to repeal the 2001 AUMF within one year of enactment, which would provide ample time to debate this important issue in Congress. I am also grateful to recognize the leadership of my dear friend, Walter Jones, who is currently in hospice care. Walter has championed this cause for years, I have worked with him closely on this issue in Congress. I am grateful for his wisdom, passion, and advocacy.’

In March of 2017, Jones and Garamendi spoke in-depth in a C-SPAN interview about their effort to end funding for the US government’s war in Afghanistan. You can read about and watch that interview here.

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Rep. John Duncan’s Final Comment on the House Floor: ‘Seek Peace and Pursue It’

Come the swearing in of members of the new United States Congress on January 3, Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), who is one of the longest-serving Republican members of the House of Representatives and among the House’s strongest peace advocates, will be beginning his retirement from political office. Duncan spoke on the House floor in a short December 21 speech focused on the importance of ending US military intervention abroad. Quoting the Bible, Duncan concludes his final House floor speech with this advice: “seek peace and pursue it.”

Watch Duncan’s speech here.

Read Duncan’s speech, as printed in the Congressional Record, here:

Mr. Speaker, too many of our leaders today seem to want to be modern-day Winston Churchills and think of themselves as great war leaders. They are far too eager to go to war and far too willing to stay in a war after it has started. But the American people do not want permanent, forever wars, and especially do not need such wars.

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Rep. John Duncan on Becoming an Antiwar Republican

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), who will retire in January after 30 years in the United States House of Representatives, is the subject of a new biographical feature article at the Knoxville News Sentinel. Included with the article is video of an interview with Duncan in which he describes how he developed “into sort of an antiwar Republican” in the process of examining US military actions in Iraq and experiencing pressure from successive presidential administrations to support that intervention and its escalation.

After having voted in the House to authorize the Gulf War in 1991, Duncan explains that watching the ensuing US invasion of Iraq led him to realize that the war had been promoted based on false information. In particular, Duncan mentions being told before the vote about “all these elite troops” in Iraq under the control of Iraq President Saddam Hussein, who was made to “sound like another Hitler.” “And then,” says Duncan, “I saw those same ‘elite troops’ surrendering to CNN camera crews and empty tanks, and I decided then that the threat had been greatly exaggerated.”

Moving forward five or six years, Duncan relates that his questioning of the propriety of US military action in Iraq increased during the years of US bombing that took place between the Gulf War and later Iraq War due to reading reports, including one detailing that “one of our bombs had gone astray and killed I think it was seven little boys who were playing soccer in a field in Iraq, and it described this horrible anguish of this father whose little boy had had his head blown off.”

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Lawrence Wilkerson: ‘Irreconcilable Elements’ Stand in Way of Korean Deal

A peace deal will not be concluded among the United States, North Korea, and South Korea in the next three to five years predicts Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor and the former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a recent interview with host Aaron Maté at The Real News.

Wilkerson points to “irreconcilable elements” as supporting his conclusion. These irreconcilable elements, says Wilkerson, are “China’s interest in not having a unified Korea with US presence still there, the North’s interest in not surrendering all of its nuclear weapons capability, the South’s interest ultimately in – if it is a unified peninsula – having those nuclear weapons itself, and, ultimately, both Koreas – were they to be united – wanting themselves to kick the United States presence off the peninsula.”

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Lawrence Wilkerson on the Neocons Plan: War in Syria, Then Iran

Interviewed Tuesday by host Sharmini Peries at The Real News, Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor and former chief of staff for United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned that “the neoconservative agenda” for an escalated United States war on Syria followed by war on Iran has had a “resurrection” in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Regarding talk about the US taking military action in Syria in response to potential allegations of the use of chemical weapons – false flag or otherwise – in the country, Wilkerson comments that the war advocates are “looking for every excuse, any excuse, all excuses, to reopen US operations, major U.S. operations, against [President Bashar al-Assad] in Syria, always realizing that the ultimate target is Tehran.” Tehran is the capital of Iran.

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More US Marines Coming to Norway, a Strange Way To Seek Friendship with Russia

President Donald Trump says he wants to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and he met in July with Russia President Vladimir Putin largely in a purported effort to move toward this goal. Yet, the Trump administration continues to send more US troops and military equipment to along the Russia border, including in Norway. Around 300 US Marines were deployed to Norway in the final days of the Barack Obama administration. Then, last week, Reuters reported that the Trump administration will soon more than double to 700 the number of Marines in Norway and that some Marines will be stationed closer than before to Norway’s border with Russia.

The plans, the Reuters article notes, “triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, which called the plans ‘clearly unfriendly’.” No doubt. As peace advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has often commented, Americans would be quite perturbed if Russia, China, or some other nation started massing military forces across the border in Mexico or in the Gulf of Mexico. Why should Russians not be perturbed by the massing of US forces nearby in Europe – along with the successive introduction of European nations near Russia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?

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