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Congress Checks and Balances on Afghanistan -- Will It Do So With Syria?

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Source: The Nation



A Syrian soldier, who has defected to join the Free Syrian Army, holds up his rifle and waves a Syrian independence flag in the Damascus suburb of Saqba January 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

The US House of Representatives took an important step last week toward the restoration of the separation of powers that was established so that Congress would check and balance presidential war-making.

But Congress has not hit its stride.

The House voted overwhelmingly for a measure supporting a full and accelerated end to the war in Afghanistan and expressing the sense of Congress that any post-2014 US military force in Afghanistan requires new and explicit authorization.

After 12 years of failing to check and balance the war-making of successive administrations, the House voted 305-121 for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which ...

"[requires] the President to complete the accelerated transition of combat operations from U.S. Armed Forces to the Government of Afghanistan no later than by the end of 2013; the accelerated transition of military and security operations by the end of 2014, including the redeployment of U.S. troops; and to pursue robust negotiations to address Afghanistan's and the region's security and stability."  

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"Today is the first time in twelve years of war that a majority of the House of Representatives has voted to end the war in Afghanistan," Stephen Miles of the Win Without War coalition said after last Thursday's vote.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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