George W Bush

Senators Seek to Replace Authorization for War on Terror

June 2, 2017

English, Notizie Brevi, Politica

U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) have introduced a bill to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The new AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) would replace the authorizations currently used to justify military action in the context of the War on Terror, that hail back to 2001 and 2002; the first to pursue those responsible for 9-11, and the second for the war in Iraq.

In presenting his proposal Flake stated: “When I voted in 2001 to authorize military force against the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, I had no idea I would be authorizing armed conflict for more than fifteen years, and counting. It is past time for Congress to voice its support for the war against ISIS, something many military officers and diplomats working to defeat ISIS have advocated for, and for Congress to reassert some of the authority it has abdicated over the years.”

The crucial point is that in practice, the power to launch war now lies almost exclusively with the executive branch, in clear defiance of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress sole authority to declare war. The 2001 AUMF is interpreted in a very elastic manner, considered as authorizing interention wherever there are terrorists who threaten U.S. interests, regardless of whether they have links to the September 11 attacks.

In the past 15 years Presidents have willingly exploited this power, but fault lies mostly with Congress itself, that has shown neither the will nor the courage to reassert its constitutional prerogatives. Politicans are well aware of the political consequences suffered by those who voted for the Iraq war in 2002, and thus most prefer to leave the decisions to the White House and avoid assuming any responsibility. It is clear that the numerous wars of recent years would be much more difficult to carry out if Congressmen and Senators had to periodically vote expressly in favor of military action.

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