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Congress: Repeal the blank check for endless war
Repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force – the flawed blank check that authorizes the president to wage war, anywhere at any time. It’s been fifteen years of endless war. Now is the time for the U.S. Congress to repeal the overly broad 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.
Why is this important?
On September 14, 2001 I was the sole member of either house of Congress to vote against the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). The vote was 420 to one. That misguided resolution is a blank check for war, and it is far past time we repealed it.
I know now, as I knew when the AUMF was first passed, that it could lead to more terrorism, more anger, and more hatred against the United States. Recently I asked the congressional research committee to do a declassified report to Congress to inform us about what the AUMF has been used for. The research committee came up with 37 instances of use, in 14 countries. That is only the declassified activities, we can’t even begin to speculate on uses that are still classified.
It has been used to justify activities, such as warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention and the lethal use of drones, that fly in the face of our constitutional values. It has been used to justify the operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. The AUMF has been used to take action and enter into wars without knowing the cost or consequences, and frankly, it is dangerous. We have engaged in new war without truly debating and determining the costs or consequences of these new wars, and without our troops really knowing and understanding whether or not congress is behind them. We are sending our brave young men and women into harm’s way without congressional authorization.
I am convinced that open-ended military engagement with no end in sight actually undermines our long-term national security. It does not increase peace and security for the United States or on a global level.
Our children and our grandchildren deserve better. Can you imagine going another fifteen years in a state of perpetual war, without Congress and the American people having a voice in the decision? This is not who we Americans think we are or who we want to be.
Please join me in calling on Congress to put an end to our seemingly endless wars by repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.