Strikingly, in the face of this absence of oversight, Congress only recently has begun to hold hearings on transparency and accountability. During the recent debate on the military authorization bill, the House had a timely opportunity to debate the AUMF, but failed to do so. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., offered an amendment to the bill (identical to his legislation, HR 2324) to repeal the use of force law, but debate on the amendment was denied.
Obama should use his return from Africa to forcefully call for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF. It is an opportunity to explain to the American public that we will not engage in warfare on the continent without robust consultation with Congress. We owe that to the men and women who put their lives on the line and to the taxpayers who shoulder the burdens of war here at home.
Jim McDermott is a 12th term congressman representing the 7th district of Washington State. He served as a psychiatrist in Long Beach Naval Station, where he treated sailors and soldiers returning from the Vietnam War.
Matt Southworth is an Iraq War veteran and currently serves as Legislative Associate on Foreign Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.