The U.S. currently has combat troops deployed in 15 countries, and in Iraq and Afghanistan we remain stuck in the longest war in U.S. history. It is past time for Congress to end this state of endless war.
The first week of June, it is expected that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will markup a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) focused on counterterrorism operations against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Although a new or amended AUMF is needed from Congress, a proposal recently introduced by Senator Corker and Senator Kaine is not the way forward.
This dangerous piece of legislation would further cede power to the Executive Branch to declare and continue war, and ultimately undermine Congress’ power under Article I of the Constitution to determine under what circumstances we go to war.
Currently, the legal authority under which U.S. counter-terror operations take place is under the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). These bills, passed after 9/11, gave then President Bush and subsequent Presidents the authority to conduct war against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and later the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. Under each administration, however, Presidential interpretation of this authority has expanded to justify what is now seemingly endless war against any threat to U.S. security.
Although the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs need to be amended or repealed to assert Congressional oversight and constrain Presidential power, the proposed legislation offered by Senators Corker and Kaine does not go far enough. Write to your Senators today to say NO to the Corker/Kaine proposal and call for solutions that will end our state of perpetual war and constrain Executive overreach in the future.
[As we engage the Poor People's Campaign one of the themes we are exploring is "Militarism, War Economy, Veterans, Education and Our National Priorities." Our country's ongoing wars around the globe are one element on which we are called to reflect and engage as people of faith and members of a just peace denomination.]