This legislative ask is designed to be shared with your members of Congress and their staff.
Over the twenty years since 9/11, four different U.S. presidents have used the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to justify U.S. military action across the globe, in some cases against groups that didn’t even exist at the time the law was passed. The militarized approach to counterterrorism that the 2001 AUMF enables has so far cost an estimated $8 trillion and resulted in at least 929,000 direct deaths while failing to make people at home or abroad any safer.
Co-sponsor H.R. 255 to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to decide when the United States goes to war. As a Quaker organization, FCNL opposes all war. As a matter of public policy, we believe Congress should debate and vote before U.S. forces engage in hostilities (or, “before any use of non-defensive force”). Congress should also regularly evaluate the various impacts of these military actions.
Make no mistake: two decades of expansive and often secretive militarized counterterrorism has been a failure. Instead of enhancing security, the endless war paradigm has escalated cycles of violence and retribution, eroded human rights, weakened congressional war powers, and caused disproportionate harm to Black and brown people at home and abroad.
Congress must reassert its authority over war and reject the militarized approach to counterterrorism. The 2001 AUMF should be repealed without replacement, and any future AUMF should include the following critical elements:
- Sunset clause: Every AUMF should automatically expire in three years or less.
- Clear military targets: In order to avoid unauthorized expansion of wars, Congress must identify the objective for using force and name each specific group or country that the U.S. is waging war against, along with prohibiting any other unauthorized use of any new AUMF.
- Geographic restrictions: To prevent ever-growing battlefields, Congress must specify the geographic locations in which military operations are authorized.
- Regular and specific reporting requirements: In order to increase transparency, promote democratic accountability, ensure compliance with domestic and international law, and fulfill its oversight responsibilities, Congress must require detailed information on how the administration is using any new AUMF.