In 2001, Congress passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), launching over 13 years of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and starting a worldwide, endless war. The AUMF is an overly broad, deeply concerning law that gives any President the authority to wage war at any time, in any place, for nearly any purpose. It has been used as the legal justification for 13 years of war in Afghanistan, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, an expanding drone war, invasive spying on the American public, and the creation of a massive national security state.
Fortunately, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced the bipartisan War Authorization Review and Determination (WARD) Act that would end the blank check for endless war. As Rep. Lee declared, “The law allows for a state of perpetual war, which we cannot and must not sustain. Our troops, our nation, and our reputation around the world depend on it.” Rep. Lee was the sole courageous voice to warn against the dangers of the AUMF when she cast the only vote against it in 2001, and now she’s leading the fight to finally turn the last page on George W. Bush’s War on Terror.
In the past, war authorizations were sometimes left un-repealed once a war had ended, as Presidents could be trusted to come back to Congress if they thought new war authorities were needed. Unfortunately, the past 13 years have demonstrated that times have changed. From the drone war to mass surveillance of Americans, the danger of relying on the good faith of our leaders is self-evident. Congress can do the right thing, but they need to hear from you!