Albert Einstein: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” = Insanity
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement after voting against the McKeon Amendment to train and equip elements of the Syrian opposition against the terrorist organization ISIL:
“Today I voted ‘no’ on the McKeon Amendment to arm and train so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels as part of a broad new multi-year military intervention in Iraq and Syria outlined by President Obama last week. I also voted ‘no’ on the continuing resolution in which it was incorporated.
Today’s vote was not, as some have argued, a choice between supporting the President’s plan and simply doing nothing about ISIL. To be clear, I share President Obama’s assessment of ISIL as a brutal terrorist organization, I support the goal of destroying them, and I believe there should be an American role in a broad, multinational response to ISIL.
My ‘no’ vote today is because this plan for a new American-led war in Iraq and Syria is being advanced without a proper congressional authorization as required by the Constitution, and because I believe the strategic assumptions underlying the plan are deeply flawed.
Frankly, we should know better than to provide arms and training to fighters we know very little about — and what we do know is troubling. We should know better than to take the lead in fighting and funding this war without a real multinational coalition where the countries most impacted by the ISIL threat carry their fair share of the risk and cost. And we should know better than to do all of this on the basis of wishful assumptions and rosy assurances that the conflict will not escalate out of control.
Keeping Americans safe and advancing our security interests in the Middle East requires we be smart, not just tough. We must learn from past mistakes.
Because Congress seems to be abdicating its constitutional authority over this war, I expect this will be the last opportunity for me and other members of Congress to go on record in opposition to it. I hope I am wrong. I hope that when Congress reconvenes, there will be a debate and vote on a specific authorization for this war instead of pretending that authorizations from 2001-02 are good enough. But I fear that Congress just missed the last opportunity to reassert its constitutional authority over going to war, and to stop a poorly conceived war plan that is not only likely to fail, but likely to draw our country deeply into a prolonged sectarian conflict in which we are not even clear about what we hope to achieve and who is on our side.”