1. Press Release
  2. Middle East & Iran, U.S. Wars & Militarism

Congress Must Seize This Opportunity to Repeal 2002 Iraq AUMF

By Timothy McHugh, September 10, 2019


Washington, DC – Today, a nationwide group of 62 organizations came together to send an unequivocal message to Congress: Now is the time to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq (2002 AUMF).

In a letter sent to the chairmen and ranking members of the Armed Services Committees in both chambers, the co-signers urged Congress to retain in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) the House-passed provision to repeal the nearly 17-year old law that authorized war against the Saddam Hussein regime. The House adopted the provision by a bipartisan vote of 242-180. As the letter explains:

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“Repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF would reassert Congress’ constitutional duty to determine whether and when the United States chooses war. It would remove an outdated force authorization that is not required for any ongoing operations, while protecting against its abuse by this or any future president to justify unforeseen and unauthorized new wars.”

“The 2002 AUMF is an unnecessary and redundant law. But by keeping it in force, we have left it vulnerable to continued abuse from the executive branch,” explained Heather Brandon-Smith, FCNL’s legislative director for militarism and human rights. “Repealing the 2002 AUMF ensures it cannot be exploited to take the United States into new wars that Congress never intended.”

“Congress did not pass the 2002 AUMF to give future presidential administrations carte blanche to wage war,” said Patricia Stottlemyer, associate attorney at Human Rights First. “The authorization was limited in scope, specific in purpose, and constrained by time and geography. Presidents have abused this authorization for far too long, and it’s time for the legislative branch to step up and take back its warmaking authority. Continued reliance on outdated and unnecessary war authorizations undermines national security, U.S. leadership in the world, and human rights both at home and abroad.”

“Any decision to authorize war must be considered seriously and exercised responsibly,” said Mandy Smithberger, director for the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. “Keeping this outdated authorization on the books is a betrayal of our troops, and a dereliction of duty by Congress to exercise its constitutional duties.”

“By repealing the 2002 AUMF, Congress would be removing any legal cover Trump imagines he has from this law for a new war in the Middle East, particularly against Iran or one of its proxies, and it would be taking back power that it has ceded to the executive for so many years now,” said Erica Fein, Advocacy Director at Win Without War. “It is also the right thing to do. Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, it is well past time to formally end the United States’ legal excuse for a disastrous and destabilizing war that we had no business waging in the first place."

You can view the letter here.

To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.

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Timothy McHugh

  • Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets. He is responsible for providing FCNL staff with opportunities to convey our message – in print and through the airways – to the public and throughout the country. He keeps FCNL issues and staff on the collective radars of reporters and journalists nationwide. Lastly, he runs FCNL several media-focused social media channels.