Press-Telegram (Long Beach)
Biden right to back AUMF repeals
President Joe Biden is supportive of congressional efforts to repeal outdated authorizations for use of military force, Politico reported Friday.
Specifically, according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki, President Biden wants to “ensure that the authorizations for the use of military force currently on the books are replaced with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars.”
This editorial board has long supported the termination of outdated AUMFs. It’s an overdue and positive development. That said, it remains to be seen to what extent Biden wishes to narrow the AUMF and whether his efforts will end up bogging down the U.S. in narrow but endless conflicts.
On Wednesday, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, and Todd Young, R-Indiana, among many others, introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the AUMFs from 1991 and 2002 pertaining to conflicts in Iraq. The proposals followed President Biden’s decision to authorize military strikes in Syria in response to rocket attacks in Iraq.
Given the absence of congressional authorization for conflict in Syria and the diminishing justification for continued involvement in Iraq, the time is right to revisit the old AUMFs.
Notably absent from the bipartisan proposal is repeal of the 2001 AUMF which was approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to permit the executive branch to go after those responsible.
In the decades since, the 2001 AUMF has been invoked to justify activities in nations including Djibouti, Libya, the Philippines and Yemen. It has also been used to combat groups which didn’t even exist at the time of the 2001 AUMF, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia and ISIS. Whatever the merits of these interventions, Congress should be the entity to authorize them, not the executive branch.
We continue to support the repeal of the 2001 AUMF as well and encourage California’s Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla to do so.
After two decades of endless wars, it’s time for the United States to reevaluate what is has been doing. It’s also time for Congress to finally do its job and take back its constitutionally-authorized powers.