Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

US lawmaker reignites effort to curb presidential war powers

Posted by M. C. on October 21, 2022

Congresswoman Barbara Lee is pushing to pass a bill to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which gave the White House the power to invade Iraq


Umar A Farooq in 


US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only lawmaker to have voted against the invasion of Afghanistan, is renewing a legislative push to pass a resolution that would limit the White House’s ability to wage war.

In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, Lee, along with anti-war groups and other lawmakers, is mobilising support to repeal the resolution that paved the way for the military intervention, the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

During a webinar on Wednesday evening hosted by anti-war advocacy groups, including Win Without War, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and Afghans For A Better Tomorrow, Lee said that since 2001, more lawmakers have learned “not to give any president the authority to wage war, for whatever reason, in perpetuity”.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to go 20, 21 years in this, this fight to repeal these authorisations that should have never happened,” Lee said.

The AUMF is a resolution passed by Congress that gives the president permission to wage military action, without the need for Congress’ approval, as laid out in the specific terms set in the measure.

There are currently multiple AUMFs active: a 1991 AUMF and a 2002 AUMF that were both for Iraq; and a 2001 AUMF that gives the president the ability to wage war against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

The authorisations have been continually used by the past four administrations to launch military campaigns and strikes across the Middle East. The 2002 AUMF was used by the Donald Trump administration to assassinate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The 2002 AUMF is close to being repealed, with the House in July voting in favour of revoking the authorisation and companion legislation in the Senate gaining bipartisan support.

“We’re close. Now we’re in the Senate with Senator [Tim] Kaine working and we’ve got to find 10 Republicans,” Lee said.

The repeal also has support from the Biden administration, with the White House issuing a policy statement noting that it supports Lee’s bill that would repeal the 2002 AUMF.

“There is strong bipartisan support for repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF in both the House and the Senate. There are 11 Republican cosponsors of a Senate bill to repeal the 2002 AUMF,” Heather Brandon-Smith, a legislative director at FCNL, said during the webinar on Wednesday.

“So that’s enough to overcome a filibuster, and what’s more, the White House has even come out in support of this repeal.”

A difficult path to end 2001 AUMF

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