The Slatest

Anti-War Congressmen Upset with Lack of Debate on New Defense Bill

A soldier protects his face from helicopter dust during a joint raid by Iraqi and US forces in Kirkuk on December 24, 2010.

Photo by MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images

Thursday afternoon, the House was set to pass legislation that would authorize two more years of support for the Syrian rebels, as well as continuing to authorize sending troops to Iraq.

The legislation hasn’t drawn much controversy, and that has some anti-war members of the House frustrated. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said he was pushing colleagues to vote against the bill and that he thought there would be a chance to stop it.

“We have been sleepwalking into war now for decades,” he said. “For four consecutive presidencies, we’ve been at war in some form or another in Iraq. And the fact that we’re about to authorize—without any discussion or debate—a two-year commitment there that has no limits or scope is a really sad statement about where we are as a country.”

“There’s no more awesome responsibility that we have than to send our forces in to take the lives of others, and put our lives on the line,” he continued. “And yet there’s no discussion about it. It makes no sense to me.”

Rep. Pete Welch (D-VT) said the fact that the legislation was likely to pass with little controversy reflected poorly on rank-and-file House Democrats.

“Democrats are complacent,” he said. “We’ve got to wake up.”