Tell Representative Cunningham to support reversal of the AUMF, which gives the President the right to wage war without congressional approval
ISSUE: The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force authorizes the president to wage war without the approval of Congress. Presently, there is an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill in the House of Representatives which would withdraw AUMF and return to Congress its Constitutional role to declare war.
BACKGROUND: When the AUMF was approved by Congress in 2001, it came on the heels of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. At that time, al-Qaeda, with the assistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, had the ability to carry out terrorist attacks against the USA as well as numerous allied and friendly countries around the world. US Special Operations forces had initial successes against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan; however, when on the verge of closing the noose and destroying al-Qaeda, US policy shifted to countering what was perceived to be a threat by Iraq to use weapons of mass destruction against Middle Eastern rivals and perhaps elsewhere in the world. These assumptions, now known to be false due to the manipulation of intelligence by Bush administration officials, led to our invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Counterterrorist operations using US forces, mainly Special Operations forces, have broadened and committed our military to involvement in questionable areas. The growth of the US special command known as AFRICOM (US Africa Command), for example, now has significant US troops engaged in both combat operations and training missions in Africa where, while terrorist organizations exist, there is serious debate as to the policy sense and legal basis for the deployment of our troops. The civil war in Yemen is yet another example of where the commitment of US forces makes little sense even under AUMF.
Finally, the endless instability in Afghanistan which has drawn US forces into a so-called war that has no definition, policy objectives or end in sight, continues to drain US treasures – mainly lives – but also billions of dollars. The Trump administration has no strategic plan to end our involvement in Afghanistan other than to let our combat forces bleed for nothing – and then praise them with hollow words for their sacrifices.
The time has clearly come for Congress to act and restore the Constitutional role it alone has to declare war by withdrawing AUMF. If for no other reason, permitting a five-time draft dodger who has no understanding of military operations – let alone national security interests – to continue to use AUMF for all the wrong reasons just because he sits in the Oval Office make no sense for the good of America.
Tell Congressman Cunningham you support withdrawal of the AUMF. Should the amendment pass and go on to the Senate, please tell Senators Graham and Scott that you strongly support withdrawal of AUMF.
Click here to contact Congressman Cunningham.
SIAN Contact: Jim Sporn
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