Transpartisan Coalition of 25 Orgs to Congress: Sunset AUMFs, Debate Future Authorities

Repeal the AUMFs

WASHINGTON — Today, a diverse coalition of 25 organizations spanning the ideological spectrum sent a letter to Congress calling on it to sunset the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, and publicly and carefully debate whether there is a need for replacement authorizations. 

Despite their vast differences in ideological positions, the signers — like the majority of the U.S. public — all agree that the time has come to end our nation’s endless wars. Recognizing that the two AUMFs have been repeatedly abused as dubious justification for almost two decades of war, and that the power of warmaking rightfully belongs in the hands of Congress, the signers call on Congress to reassert its constitutionally-vested powers, sunset the AUMFs, and commit to proper public debate and scrutiny before any potential replacement authorizations.

The full text of the letter is available here.

At the same time, a separate letter was sent to the Biden administration on specific steps it should take to end the forever wars. Representative Barbara Lee has sponsored two bills, H.R. 255 and H.R. 256, which, respectively, sunset the 2001 AUMF within eight months of the bill’s enactment and repeal the 2002 AUMF immediately. 

“Regardless of your political persuasion, it should be clear that the United States should not be able to wage endless war around the globe, largely hidden from the public eye, without democratic debate,” said Win Without War Advocacy Director Erica Fein. “The U.S. public has long agreed that it is time to end our endless wars. With a new Congress and administration, we finally have the chance to do so.”

“Congress must begin to reassert its institutional powers,” said Anthony Marcum, Resident Fellow at the R Street Institute. “Renewed examination of the nearly twenty-year-old 2001 and 2002 AUMFs is a positive — and bipartisan — first step.”

“The war-based approach to counterterrorism of the last two decades has cost $6.4 trillion, resulted in the deaths of over 335,000 civilians, and displaced a further 37 million,” said Heather Brandon-Smith, Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “These devastating and destabilizing costs, coupled with the failure of this approach to protect America from harm, call for a re-evaluation of U.S. national security policy. We commend the Biden administration for recognizing the need to end forever wars. We hope President Biden will work with Congress to repeal existing AUMFs, reorient U.S. foreign policy away from expanding global militarism, and invest in robust, effective non-military tools to properly address threats to U.S. security at home and abroad.”

“One of the primary reasons we find ourselves in ‘forever wars’ is because Congress has abdicated its responsibility in matters of war and peace,” said Nate Anderson Executive Director for Concerned Veterans for America. “With over two-thirds of the American people – including veterans and military families – supporting an end to our endless wars in places like Afghanistan, there is no reason why Congress shouldn’t take the long overdue step of repealing the outdated 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Additionally, if President Biden is serious about his commitment to ending our forever wars, his administration should wholeheartedly support this bipartisan effort to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.”

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Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.