Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Repeal the Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force that gives the President a blank check for waging war

Pacific YM Friends signed a petition calling on Senators to repeal the AUMF
Are you concerned that the President has the power to launch a war anywhere in the Middle East without having to seek Congressional authorization? That's the current state of affairs, thanks to the 2002 Iraq Authorization of the Use of Military Force which has been used by Presidents to justify numerous military actions. Many  of us feel it's time to sunset this law. If you agree, please contact your Senators at

I have just returned from Washington, DC. where along with 400 others, I advocated for the repeal of the 2002 Iraq AUMF. House and Senate negotiators are deciding on the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020.  This provides an important opportunity to repeal the outdated 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (2002 Iraq AUMF), which allowed the U.S. to wage war against the Saddam Hussein regime.

Unlike the 2001 AUMF, passed after the 9/11 attacks, the 2002 Iraq AUMF is not necessary for any current operations. However, keeping it on the books renders the 2002 Iraq AUMF susceptible to abuse from the executive branch to justify new wars that Congress has not authorized.

Repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF has broad bipartisan support. In September, 62 organizations sent a letter to the Armed Services Committees calling for the law's repeal, with signatories from a broad range of ideologies, including faith, civil liberties, and veterans groups. And in an August report titled "Building an NDAA that Strengthens America's Military," the Heritage Foundation stated that "Repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF is good policy as it is no longer necessary ... Congress needs to get back in the business of exercising its constitutional duty of deciding on whether to authorize wars."

Please tell Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe (OK) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (RI) to retain section 1270W of the House-passed NDAA in their final bill.

The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. Repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF is the responsible course of action and would reassert Congress's constitutional powers over matters of war.

Our California Senators are basically supportive of repeal, as is my Congressional Representative Judy Chu, whom I visited last Friday. It's still helpful for them to hear from their constituents that we support them in their efforts to sunset this law, especially when we have a President in office who will do anything to stay in office, including going to war.  But even if we had a President who was wise and fit for office, the Constitution makes it clear that only Congress should have the power to declare war. It's time for Congress to reassert its Constitutional role and reign in the power of what has become an imperial presidency.