Lexington Herald-Leader Op-Ed: Sen. Paul: “Congress votes to end Iraq war 20 years after it authorized costly mistake”

It is easier to start a war than end one. That argument alone should deter us from war and yet . . .time and time again man’s bellicosity combined often with imbecility entices us to war.

The Iraq war was no exception. Sold as a response to 9/11 with propaganda so irresponsible that it convinced some of our guys to graffiti our missiles with words like: “this is payback for 9/11.” Only it wasn’t. Not only did Saddam Hussein have nothing to do with 9/11, deposing him led to chaos and a breeding ground for more terrorism.

Regime change led to an Iraq more aligned with Iran than the US. Regime change required the lives of roughly 4,000 young men and women and the injuries, often severe, of over 31,000.

On Thursday, Congress finally voted to end the war in Iraq, nearly 20 years after it began. Intermittent combat and even renewed wars were fought using the 2002 Iraq authorization. So, the vote to repeal the 2002 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) has real life implications.

Some from the pro-interventionist side wanted to replace the 2002 AUMF with a new one to continue to authorize war. I say enough war. If you want to send our best and brightest to fight again in Iraq, come to Congress with a specific declaration of why we should return to war. Otherwise, give peace a chance.

Shortly after I was sworn in as a US senator in 2011, I forced a vote on repealing the Iraq AUMF. I lost 30-67. I introduced a repeal again in 2013 and 2016 and in 2017 I got another vote to repeal. I lost again this time 36-61.

But sometimes persistence pays off.

Today peace, or at least finality to another chapter of war begins as the House voted overwhelmingly to repeal the Iraq War authorization.

Next week the Senate will vote likewise to close at least one aspect of the perpetual war debacle.

Hopefully, the public will reward and encourage the next step to less war, a repeal of 2001 Authorization that has been used to justify war in dozens of countries around the world.

Just remember that the rallying cry for those who choose peace needs to be repeal not replace.

You can read the Op-Ed HERE.