Barbara Lee: AUMF Was Wrong in 2001, and It's Wrong Now
The authorization allows for a state of perpetual war
June 17, 2013
A renewed debate of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force is long overdue. I was the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization when it came to the House floor in 2001 after the horrific events of September 11th, and I have been pushing for its repeal ever since.
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 reportedly been invoked dozens of times around the world, including to deploy troops in Ethiopia, Yemen and the Philippines.
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.
But the AUMF is about more than war. The AUMF has reportedly been used to justify wiretapping and Gitmo, and the recent revelations about domestic and international surveillance have reignited this conversation. These leaks not only underscore the need to ensure a better balance between our privacy and national security, but also the urgent need for debate on these issues.
This time, we need the kind of full debate we did not have in 2001. We can't just tweak the authorization — we have to fully repeal it. For that reason, I have introduced legislation to repeal the AUMF, but I have also introduced amendments calling for the AUMF to sunset at the end of the war in Afghanistan or by January 1, 2015, whichever comes first. Both of those efforts have the same goal: the end of the AUMF.
For the integrity of our Constitution, we must ensure that we have full accountability and transparency in our nation's war powers.