In 2001 and 2002, the U.S. Congress passed the AUMF: the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. For nearly two decades, the AUMFs have effectively become a blank check for any president, at any time, to wage endless global war without oversight or meaningful national public debate. U.S. counterterrorism operations from post-9/11 wars as a whole have expanded to at least 80 countries around the world, costing an estimated $5.9 trillion. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, injured, surveilled, and displaced, with Black, brown, and Muslim communities disproportionately impacted.
Decrying the United States‚ „forever wars“ and their deadly consequences, a group of over 110 advocacy groups from around the world on Wednesday published an open letter imploring President Joe Biden to end airstrikes „outside any recognized battlefield“ and „abandon this war-based approach and chart a new path forward that promotes and respects our collective human security.“
„It’s been such a long time coming,“ Lee said ahead of Thursday’s vote. „It’s Congress‘ responsibility to authorize the use of force, and that authorization cannot be blank checks that stay as authorizations for any administration to use the way they see fit.“
Lee’s legislation has drawn growing bipartisan support. Her repeal of the 2002 authority, which was issued Oct. 16 of that year, has more than 130 cosponsors now.
Introduced in House (01/11/2021)
Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force
This bill repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force signed into law September 18, 2001.
In a letter Thursday to Biden, five House Democrats called on the new president to quickly work with Congress to kill the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War and hone the 2001 powers for the war on terrorism. The letter — signed by chairs of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Rules committees — says any replacement authority must name mission objectives, adversaries and targeted countries, as well as include a sunset clause to ensure Congress regularly revisits the war powers debate.
“Congress has been missing in action, and President Joe Biden knows that,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is spearheading the effort, in an interview.
„Though our amendment didn’t pass, progressive power is stronger than ever. We will keep fighting for pro-peace, pro-people budgets until it becomes a reality,“ said Rep. Mark Pocan.
But the votes might be largely symbolic. The Republican-led Senate isn’t expected to take up the measures, and the White House has signaled that President Trump would veto them.
The House has approved a bill to block funding for military action against Iran.
In a largely party-line vote of 228-175, the House on Thursday passed the No War Against Iran Act offered by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
“The reality is that Congress needs to exercise the power of the purse,” Khanna told reporters ahead of the vote. “We need to make it very clear that Congress is not going to authorize a dime for an offensive war in Iran.”
The vote on the measure sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) came shortly after the House approved a bill from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) that would block funding for military action against Iran.
„One important thing to highlight: The Trump administration was briefing the Republican conference today, and several people told me that the administration made it clear that if Senator Sanders’s and my amendment passed, then it would have prevented the Suleimani strike. Well, Senator Sanders’s and my amendment had passed two months ago and was part of the national defense authorization, until it was stripped. And the lesson is that we should have fought harder to make sure it wasn’t stripped. It would have literally prevented this entire crisis.“
“Make no mistake – this is not a peace plan; it’s a one-sided annexation plan that harms the goal of a two-state solution. If we truly want to achieve peace in the Middle East, we must actively engage both Israelis and Palestinian leaders, something the Trump Administration has consistently failed to do.
“Trump’s destructive annexation plan does not represent the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States, and I will continue to work to reverse the damage this administration has done to lasting peace in the Middle East.
The 22-year House veteran is renowned across the Capitol for her resolute approach to holding to account all occupants of the White House: Clinton’s bombing in Yugoslavia, Bush’s surge in Iraq, Obama’s airstrikes in Syria and, most recently, Trump’s drone targeting of an Iranian leader.
And for that dogged persistence — even in the face of death threats that once required her to have a 24-hour security detail — Lee was celebrated by her caucus this week.
The legislation introduced by Rep. Lee, H.R. 2456, would sunset the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, originally intended to enable operations against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen years after his removal from power, this AUMF has continued to be used by administrations to justify the use of American military force in Iraq. Rep. Khanna’s bill, H.R. 5543, prohibits the use of Federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless Congress specifically authorizes it or declares war or such actions are undertaken consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
The first measure from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) would repeal the 2002 authorization of military force for the Iraq War that has been used as justification for military action against Iran. The other, authored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), would prohibit the use of federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless authorized by Congress.
Barbara Lee: Allein für alle. Nun ja – nicht ganz.
Das militärische Ermächtigungsgesetz A.U.M.F. ist bis heute, neben der klassischen Kriegslobby, auch rechtliches Alibi der weltweit wie ein Krebsgeschwür wuchernden Lobby von totaler Spionage, explizit gegen die Bevölkerungen in den kriegführenden Ländern. Mit Händen und Füßen strampelnd wehren sich überall auf der Welt im Windschatten des planetar geführten Krieges u.a. durch geraubte Daten von Milliarden Menschen über das bespitzelte Internet fettgefressene und aufgedunsene Apparate im Polizei-, Spionage- und Militärsektor vor der ganz normalen parlamentarischen Demokratie, die nicht mehr faktischem Kriegszustand und dessen „Interpreten“ von Verfassung und Recht ausgesetzt ist. Dagegen ist den Lügnern in Kriegslobby und Repression wie immer jedes Mittel Recht.
Nach immer neuen Budgets und Einnahmequellen hechelnd und in bald 13 Jahren Krieg nach Millionen von Toten in den Schlachtfeldern, Kerkern und Folterkellern der eroberten Gebiete Afrikas und Asien von Zynismus zerfressen, bemühen sich die Kriegsgewinnler um immer neue, ihre Existenz sichernde Kriege und Spannungsfälle – und damit neue Freiheiten für Ausbeutung und Repression, die stets Seit an Seit gehen (müssen).
… Lee reiterated her call that Congress revoke the president’s broad war powers, the 2001 and 2002 Authorization of the Use of Military Force.
Background: Lee was only member of Congress to vote against authorizing war after 9/11:
The House’s steadiest advocate for peace knows what it takes to stand up for your ideals.
Barbara Lee explains her rationale for voting against the Authorization to Use Military Force in Afghanistan, citing the overly broad nature of the bill.
Recognizing the Flaws & Failures of the 2001 AUMF ( )
Lee, who was the sole NO vote on the 2001 AUMF passed in response to the 9/11 attacks, offered another amendment to express the sense of Congress that the 2001 AUMF has been utilized well beyond the scope that Congress intended, that it has served as a blank check for any President to wage war at any time and any place, and that any new authorization for the use of military force to replace the 2001 AUMF should include a sunset clause, a clear and specific expression of objectives, targets, and geographic scope, and reporting requirements. Eighteen years ago, she feared that the AUMF would be a blank check, and that is exactly what it has been.
The amendment passed 237 to 183. 215 Democrats, 21 Republicans, and Amash voted for it. 167 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against it.
Here are the 16 warmongering Democrats:
The House voted Wednesday to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed in the days after 9/11, and gave President George W. Bush the authority to go to war with al-Qaeda and any related organization. For the past 18 years, presidents of both parties have used this same 2001 congressional war authorization as justification for wars all over the Middle East.
My amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF was included in the passage of HR 2470, which will sunset the 2001 AUMF after eight months, giving Congress and the Executive Branch plenty of time to debate and vote on a new AUMF once signed by the Executive.
“Two years ago, this same amendment was passed out of the Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan basis but was undemocratically stripped out by House Speaker Paul Ryan. The passage of this spending bill with the 2001 AUMF repeal included is a historic and timely step forward in reasserting Congress’ constitutional authority on matters of war and peace.
This month could mark the first time a chamber of the U.S. Congress has moved to repeal the 2001 AUMF, which has been used by three presidents to keep the U.S. in a state of war for nearly 18 years.
In May, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment to the annual defense spending bill from Representative Barbara Lee that would repeal the 2001 law eight months after enactment. The amendment passed through committee on a party-line vote of 30-22. It could pass, should the Democratic majority remain unified, as early as this week when it comes up for consideration.
(14. September 2016)
The congresswoman was the only “no” vote on a sweeping 9/11 war authorization that’s still in use.
Congresswoman Lee was the only member of Congress to oppose the 2001 AUMF. At the time, Congresswoman Lee wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that the authorization “was a blank check to the president.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, the 2001 AUMF has been used to justify US military action at least 41 times in 19 countries.
The full text of the legislation is available here. The bill has 46 original cosponsors.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee threw her support behind the measure and said, “I am pleased with the inclusion of this amendment, which clarifies that the President does not have the authority to go to war with Iran.”
“Just weeks after President Trump shamefully pulled out of the Iran Deal, it is more important than ever to ensure diplomacy with Iran and in the region. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important amendment and will do everything in my power to ensure we do not go to war with Iran,” she noted.
WASHINGTON, DC (April 12, 2018) – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04) released the following statement in advance of demonstrations scheduled to take place on Friday within the territory of Gaza. The Members of Congress are urging Gaza protesters to carry out their right to assembly nonviolently, while also calling on members of Israel Defense Forces to exercise utmost restraint in the use of deadly force and to fully comply with international law.