Members of Congress are seeking to enact legislation that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used to unconstitutionally mire the United States in several foreign military conflicts.
S. 1872, the “End Endless Wars Act,” is sponsored by U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and cosponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.). If enacted, this bill would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), enacted by Congress one week after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
S. 1872 is important because under Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress, not the president, possesses the power to declare war. By adopting the 2001 AUMF, Congress unconstitutionally abdicated this power.
In a press release announcing the legislation, Senator Paul stated, “If there exists any desire to reclaim our Constitutional power and send a message to the world that we are nation of peace, Congress should pass this bill and repeal the 2001 Authorization for war. After all, the 2001 AUMF never intended to authorize worldwide war, all the time, everywhere, forever.”
Furthermore, as Senator Paul noted in his press release, the 2001 AUMF was used to unconstitutionally drag the United States into multiple wars over two decades:
The 2001 AUMF was passed days after the attacks of 9/11 to bring the terrorists responsible to justice. The wording of the 2001 AUMF was precisely worded to authorize the President to make war on those who attacked us on 9/11 or anyone who harbored them. Not a word about making war on “associated forces.” Not a word on making war on their descendants. Not a word on making worldwide war on religious extremism. But that’s exactly what the 9/11/2001 AUMF has become — a catchall for permanent war.
Since its passage, presidential administrations of both parties have used the 2001 AUMF to justify wars in over 20 countries, from Afghanistan to Libya, to Somalia, to Yemen. By not repealing the 2001 AUMF any President alone has the ability to decide where and when to engage in hostilities without congressional approval. The result has been thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent in endless conflicts across the globe.
By ignoring the Constitution and abdicating its powers, Congress has cost the United States trillions of dollars and many lives unnecessarily lost. Rather than continuing to engage in useless foreign wars, the United States should heed the wisdom of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. For example, in his farewell address, President George Washington said, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”
Congress would be wise to follow the Constitution by reclaiming its delegated powers, and to end all interventionism abroad. Enacting S. 1872 would be a strong start.
To urge your U.S. representative and senators to support the “End Endless Wars Act” (S. 1872), visit The John Birch Society’s legislative alert here.