Follow us on social


Rep. Massie: sell off the U.S. embassy compound, get out of Iraq

Republican lawmaker wants a repeal of the 'blank check' 2002 AUMF, calling the president’s war powers “disturbingly broad.”

Middle East

A Republican congressman called for Congress to repeal the Iraq War authorization and close the massive U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Both the war authorization and the embassy compound played a role in the near war between the United States and Iran last year.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) called the president’s war powers “disturbingly broad” in a Wednesday morning floor speech as he urged members to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force.

That law, also known as the AUMF, was originally passed to authorize the war to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but gives the president general permission to deal with “the continuing threat posed by Iraq.” 

“Saddam Hussein's regime was defeated in 2003. 2003, that’s eighteen years ago. (Former President Barack) Obama declared the Iraq War ended in 2011, but the AUMF was never repealed,” Massie said. “It gives a blank check to any current or subsequent administration to keep American soldiers in Iraq indefinitely, and puts us at risk of getting into another war.”

The 2002 AUMF has been used to justify two military operations in recent years. Obama used the law as part of his justification for re-entering Iraq to fight the Islamic State in 2014, and former President Donald Trump cited it last year after ordering the assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani, who was in Baghdad at the time.

Massie joins a growing chorus of conservative and Republican voices calling for the the 2002 AUMF to be repealed. But the congressman went even further by urging the U.S. State Department to sell its embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Built at a cost of $750 million during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the embassy is the largest diplomatic post in the world.

“It’s time to scale down the embassy, put what’s there for sale, and bring our troops and our diplomats home,” Massie said. “We may get only pennies on the dollar for that embassy, but that’s better than sacrificing lives.”

The embassy was at the center of the near U.S.-Iranian war last gear. Amidst escalating clashes between Iraqi militants and U.S. forces in December 2019, a pro-Iranian militia ransacked the U.S. Embassy on New Years’ Eve.

Trump promised to make Iran pay “a very BIG PRICE,” and U.S. forces killed Soleimani two days later. Iran responded by firing dozens of missiles at a U.S. air base in western Iraq, injuring dozens of U.S. troops.

“It’s time for us to leave. We owe it to our soldiers,” Massie said. “They signed up to protect our country. They didn’t sign up to be the world’s policemen.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky) on June 16, 2021 (CSPAN/Screenshot)
Middle East
Diplomacy Watch: A peace summit without Russia
Diplomacy Watch: Laying the groundwork for a peace deal in Ukraine

Diplomacy Watch: Domestic politics continue to challenge Ukraine’s allies


Last week’s edition of Diplomacy Watch focused on how politics in Poland and Slovakia were threatening Western unity over Ukraine. A spat between Warsaw and Kyiv over grain imports led Polish President Andrzej Duda to compare Ukraine to a “drowning person … capable of pulling you down to the depths ,” while upcoming elections in Slovakia could bring to power a new leader who has pledged to halt weapons sales to Ukraine.

As Connor Echols wrote last week, “the West will soon face far greater challenges in maintaining unity on Ukraine than at any time since the war began.”

keep readingShow less
What the GOP candidates said about Ukraine in 4:39 minutes

What the GOP candidates said about Ukraine in 4:39 minutes


The second Republican debate last night hosted by Fox news was marked by a lot of acrimony, interruptions, personal insults and jokes that didn't quite land, like Chris Christie calling an (absent) Donald Trump, "Donald Duck," and Mike Pence saying he's "slept with a teacher for 30 years" (his wife).

What it did not feature was an informed exchange on the land war in Europe that the United States is heavily invested in, to the tune of $113 billon dollars and counting, not to mention precious weapons, trainers, intelligence and political capital. Out of the tortuous two hours of the debate — which included of course, minutes-long commercials and a "game" at the end that they all refused to play — Ukraine was afforded all but 4 minutes and 39 seconds. This, before the rancor moved on — not to China, though that country took a beating throughout the evening — but to militarizing the border and sending special forces into Mexico to take out cartel-terrorists who are working with the Chinese.

keep readingShow less
Gaetz speaking at a Donald Trump event in June 2020 (Source: Gage Skidmore)
Gaetz speaking at a Donald Trump event in June 2020 (Source: Gage Skidmore)

Bipartisan effort to ban transfer of cluster munitions fails


UPDATE: 9/28 11 p.m. EST: A similar amendment to the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, introduced by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Jim McGovern (R-Mass.) was defeated on the floor on Thursday night. The amendment received more votes than original effort, with 178 members voting in favor. Ninety Republicans and 88 Democrats supported Thursday's measure.

keep readingShow less

Ukraine War Crisis