Today, on the 18th anniversary of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 Iraq AUMF), FCNL and a bipartisan coalition of advocacy groups called for repealing this outdated, unnecessary, and dangerous authorization.
Together, these groups sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, urging them to preserve the House provision to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF in the final defense spending bill. Repealing this authorization would reassert Congress’s constitutional duty to determine whether, when, and where the United States goes to war.
Dear Chairs and Ranking Members:
On this day in 2002, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 Iraq AUMF) (PL 107-243) was signed into law. On this 18th anniversary of the 2002 Iraq AUMF we, a diverse group of organizations from across the ideological spectrum, write to urge that you retain in the final Department of Defense Appropriations bill, the House provision to repeal this authorization (Section 9028 of H.R.7617).
Repealing the outdated and unnecessary 2002 Iraq AUMF would reassert Congress’ constitutional duty to determine when the United States goes to war.
Congress passed the 2002 Iraq AUMF to authorize force against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime, a mission that officially ended on December 11, 2011. The authorization has served its purpose and is not required for any ongoing operations. The Executive Branch relies on a different legislative authority, the 2001 AUMF, to justify operations against al Qaeda, ISIS and other groups. Repealing the outdated and unnecessary 2002 Iraq AUMF would reassert Congress’ constitutional duty to determine when the United States goes to war.
We have seen successive presidents periodically reframe their interpretation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF, stretching its scope to cover unrelated military activities that were not authorized, let alone, contemplated, by Congress 18 years ago. Leaving it in place ensures that the authorization remains susceptible to misuse, providing an opportunity for this or any future president to draw the United States into unforeseen and unauthorized armed conflicts.
For all these reasons, there is growing bipartisan support for repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF. As you are probably aware, the House has twice voted, on a bipartisan basis, to repeal this authorization. The Senate bill to repeal both this and the 1991 Gulf War AUMF from Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) (S.J. Res. 13) has an equal number of cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
Article I of the Constitution vests in Congress—as the branch most accountable to the American people—the responsibility to determine whether, when, and where to go to war. We strongly urge you to exercise this responsibility by retaining in the final Department of Defense Appropriations bill, Section 9028 of H.R. 7617, to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF.
American Civil Liberties Union
Concerned Veterans for America
Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy
Defense Priorities Initiative
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Human Rights First
Project On Government Oversight
Win Without War