Kill the AUMFs? Yes!!

Comment: The US should have declared war in the case of each and every one of the AUMFs. There are three on the books. Iraq, Afghanistan and the on that authorizes the use of the armed forces against anything that can be called “terrorism.” To declare WAR would have been the correct and constitutional thing to do. If a state of war existed between the US and whatever entity it was that threatened us so much, it should have been acknowledged as requiring WAR , not an open ended authorization for WAR that abdicated the responsibility of Congress in situations that were not really emergencies at all. As things are now, the president is free to make WAR whenever and wherever he/she pleases.

This is one initiative in which I side with the Democrats.

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27 Responses to Kill the AUMFs? Yes!!

  1. Leith says:

    About time. But apparently only two repeals have been passed by the House. I would hope that Senator Paul would help to push for repealing those two in the Senate, plus the third one – the 2001 authorization originally meant to be directed at those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. That one has metastasized into going after every shirttail jihadi group that jumped on the AQ bandwagon after 9/11. They are throughout the ME, Africa, the Caucasus, the Indian Subcontinent, the Malay Archipelago, the Balkans, the various Central Asian X-stans, and Xinjiang.

    The weasel wording in the AUMF such as ‘al Qaeda and their affiliates’ is what brought that on. We should stop all ops against these bozos. Focus on al-Zawahiri instead. I would guess there is a way to do that without the AUMF, isn’t there?

  2. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Yes, please. The abrogation of duty by the Congress in executing its Constitutional charge of being the responsible party in declaring war is corrosive to the health of the Republic.

    The President and his administration are not, nor should they be, a king and his privy council making decisions of such seriousness and profound historical effects absent the consent of the citizenry.

    Warmongers and war profiteers may find it advantageous to make an end run around the citizenry’s voice, but that way lies the corruption and degradation of the Constitutional order.

    Next up, a reconsideration of the so called PATRIOT Act, and other statutes similarly dangerous to liberty…

    • Deap says:

      Just re-watched Red Tide (Gene Hackman- Denzel Washington) – at brink of war with Russia using nuclear weaponized submarines – will Russia strike first, or will the US strike first pre-emptively. Conflicts over chain of command decision to launch, and failed onboard communication system introduced the dramatic elements.

      At that time of the movie, launch was ultimately up to a final decision between the submarine captain and the XO who must be in agreement. And these two (Hackman and Washington), shall we say, had a very frenetic difference of opinion about the matter.

      At the end of the movie after a very close call, the movie stated this final decision for nuclear launch now rests only with the POTUS, and no one else. This was supposed to be comforting news … until the election of 2020 – now only one person pushes that button and that one person is Biden? Yeegods.

  3. blue peacock says:

    AUMF – the gift that keeps giving.

    $816 billion spent in Afghanistan. Borrowed from future generations. Unfortunately 2,312 soldiers paid the ultimate price and their families have to live with the pain forever. Not to mention the countless Afghan families.

    What’s the price in blood & treasure in Iraq, Syria and Libya? Will there be any lessons learned?

    It has cost the US military 2,312 lives and $816bn, according to the Department of Defense.

    • Deap says:

      Small change, now that prominent US blacks are demanding reparations in the multiple trillions of dollars. It never ends, does it?

  4. Fred says:

    Didn’t Obama promise to get rid of that when he ran the first time?

  5. Yeah, Right says:

    Declarations of War are illegal under any plain-text reading of Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

    After all, a Declaration of War is a statement by the United States of America that it has elected to use force to settle some dispute it has with someone else.

    It is not just the USA that has not declared war since 1945. Neither has the UK. Nor France. Nor Russia. Nor China.

    Nor (afaik) has any other nation – big or small – done so after gaining membership to the UN.

    FIGHT wars, sure. Plenty.

    Happens all the time, and in the case of the USA it is “at war” far, far more often than it is “in peacetime”.

    But DECLARE war, no.

    Note: AUMF are a requirement of US domestic law insofar as they amount to the Congress delegating its war-making authority to the President e.g. “if you want to go the biff with those guys then we are cool with it”, but is not a declaratory statement that the President *has* made the decision to take those guys around the back and give them a thumping.

    So a AUMF doesn’t violate the UN Charter, but a Declaration of War does.

    I know that many – if not most – commentators here don’t care about such legal niceties, and so will read all this with scorn.

    But if so then you have probably puzzled for a while by the absence of Declarations of War, and can’t for the life of you understand why Congress DOESN’T hand them around like lolly-pops.

    Well, gang, the reason why: the very “rules-based international order” that the USA so loudly insists upon precludes any such declaration.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Yeah, Right
      I don’t care what the UN Charter says about this. The open ended nature of AUMFs is unacceptable unless one wants to live in a perpetual state of war.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        Colonel, those are two different things.

        I completely agree with what you say about the AUMFs. Completely.

        I think they are monumentally unwise, and because of both their vagueness and their open ended nature are a permanent threat to the separation of powers in the USA and to the security of its citizens.

        But you also pointed out your preference for AUMFs to be replaced by Declarations of War, and I’m trying to point out why *that* proposition can’t be adopted.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Yeah, Right

          We cannot live with that provision in the UN Charter. Australia can but we cannot unless we wish to abandon the rest of the world.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I don’t understand why the USA would have irrevocable differences with an Article that says that you can not acquire territory by war and can not act as an East End Gangster and stand-over merchant.

            After all, those were the very reasons that the Allies fought a second world war.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Yeah, Right
            What territory have we “acquired” by war or any other way since WW2? If China invades Australian territory should we stand by and watch? Is the ANZU treaty in itself a violation of that provision of the UN Charter?

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I hear everything you have written, Colonel, and I agree totally with what you say.

            But nothing in Article 2(3) of the UN Charter prevents the USA from defending itself, nor does it prevent the USA from coming to the defense of an ally that is under attack.

            Those rights are enshrined in the charter itself.

            UN Charter, Article 51: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

            The USA can defend itself.
            The USA can come to the defense of an ally.

            But what the USA can’t do is threaten someone, or attack anyone, merely because the USA makes the decision that using force – or threatening to use force – is the quickest way to resolve a dispute it is having with another country.

            That’s what Article 2(3) says, and I fail to see how anyone can object to that.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Yeah, Right
            OK, what about a case in which a country NOT an ally of the US is attacked by a 3rd party? Would Article 2(3) allow the US to come to its defense? What about the case of an armed internal threat to that country?

          • Yeah, Right says:

            A good question, one that we already have the answer for: South Korea, 1950.

            The UN endorsed the collective-defense of South Korea in 1950, even though South Korea was not even a member state of the United Nations at that time.

            According to Article 51 coming to the collective aid of a country that is under attack is an “inherent right”, which means that right existed before the UN Charter was written, and continues to exist after the UN Charter was written.

            “What about the case of an armed internal threat to that country?”

            The internal affairs of member states lies outside the authority of the United Nations.

            As in: the United Nations has no authority to intervene or to interfere with an insurrection, and if a state (let’s say, “Syria”) appeals to another state for help (let’s call them “Russia”) then the United Nations has no authority to step in and say that isn’t on.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Yeah, Right

            In Korea the UN adopted the defense of the ROK as specifically a UN project. It still is that. They did that taking advantage of a Soviet walk out of the Security Council. If this had not been, the Soviets would have vetoed the resolution and the ROK would have been absorbed into commie land. That would have been ok with you so long as the letter of the charter was observed?

          • Yeah, Right says:

            “If this had not been, the Soviets would have vetoed the resolution and the ROK would have been absorbed into commie land.”

            Truman had already decided to commit US forces to the defense of South Korea. The UNSC resolution was a (very welcome) bonus for him and he certainly wasn’t going to throw that away.

            But if the Soviets had been there to veto the resolution then that would not – because it could not – stay Truman’s hands.

            US (and allied) forces would have then committed to the defense of South Korea under exactly the same aegis as US (and allied) forces were later committed to the defense of South Vietnam i.e. the government appealed for help, and the USA answered that call.

            All the Charter does is acknowledge the pre-existence of the right to collective defense and stress that nothing in the Charter diminishes that right.

            “That would have been ok with you so long as the letter of the charter was observed?”

            If Truman had decided that the Korean War was of no interest to the USA then I would have been fine with that, since it was his job to make such decisions.

            But he did decide that and, again, I’m fine with that because that was his job.

            But having chosen the latter, he was free to act with a UN Resolution in his pocket, or without a UN Resolution in his pocket.

            The former is, politically, much the better option. But it was never a game-breaker.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Yeah, Right
            Are you retired or do you do this for a living? How do you know that Truman was going to fight in Korea no matter what? Just curious. I vaguely remember that.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Very near to retirement, Colonel, but not quite there yet.

            But I am also in a city that is in lockdown, so I currently have time on my hands.

            Do I do this for a living? No, I manage a computer network for a living. This is a hobby, nothing more.

            How do I know that Truman had already decided to intervene? Because everything in the Truman Presidential Library is accessible on the Internet, even from here.

  6. Pat Lang says:

    Yeah, Right

    BTW, don’t talk down to me a—–le, or you won’t appear on these pages.

  7. Artemesia says:

    Maybe I’m simple-minded:

    An AUMF does NOT fulfill the Congress’s responsibility to declare war, it ping-pongs the responsibility to the president.

    Where am I wrong?

    • Deap says:

      It redefines “war”.

      How many past wars were actually dependent upon stealth and hidden troop movements , before the first strike?

      In today’s world of minute global surveillance of land, air and sea, how many past wars could have been stopped in their tracks before the first volley was fired across sovereign borders …….if we had known by the surveillance capacities we have today?

      Consequently, if “wars” today are conduced more by sabotage of vital structures, than outright actions of military might indeed what should the grant of “war powers” without a formal declaration of war by the US Senate look like today.

      WSJ reports today Putin claimed the “era of US hegemony has come to an end”. Did his recent F2F meeting with Herr Leader Biden last month lead to that conclusion – without even firing a shot? I guess Putin looked in Biden’s glazed eyes in Switzerland and simply did not see a killer? In fact, he saw no one was even at home.

      • Pat Lang says:


        Oh, bullshit. Sophistic nonsense. You like what the japs did at Pearl Harbor. Don’t outthink yourself.

        • Deap says:

          Would modern surveillance have detected Pearl Harbor before the first Japanese planes left their aircraft carriers. Or even worse, would it have detected our own undetected fleets moving into the Battle of Midway counter engagement?

          Recognizing that knowing and doing are still two very different things. Just a curiosity about the fates of prior acts of war that did led to declared wars and international engagements. Would they or could they have occurred had they been exposed, known and confirmed? Yes, indeed one for only philosophers speculation at this time.

          • Pat Lang says:

            The incoming Japanese strike was detected by a radar station on the north shore of Oahu but not reported because the person in charge thought they were US aircraft being ferried from the US. There was such a flight scheduled for that morning. The US Navy knew where the Japs were and what their intentions were because the navy had successfully cryptanalyzed the Japanese naval cypher. Nimitz took full advantage of that. We were caught with our pants down at Pearl Harbor because our expectation was that the Japs would attack the Philippines rather than the Fleet at anchor on a peacetime Sunday morning. The transition from peace to war is a profound and wrenching thing and it involves HUMANS, not machines.
            Intelligence is really not a matter of gadgetry. It is a matter of judgment. Being prepared is about thinking. Gadgets are tools. Brains are what are key in the process. War can be declared during or after the initial action. That does not prevent defensive action. What we are talking about concerning the AUMFs is LAW, not actual warfare.

    • Yeah, Right says:

      “An AUMF does NOT fulfill the Congress’s responsibility to declare war,”

      Apparently it is close enough, and as far as Congress and the President is concerned that is good enough.

      “it ping-pongs the responsibility to the president.”


      • JerseyJeffersonian says:

        Geez, that is exactly the point that Senator Paul’s initiative to do away with current AUMFs is trying to establish; that such open-ended decisions to commit US military forces to ongoing actions solely on the sayso of the Executive branch – despite whatever hand-flapping by the Legislative branch – is blatantly unconstitutional.

        Certainly the Executive, acting in his capacity as Commander in Chief, has the authority to respond on an emergency basis to “deliberate, unprovoked assaults” as President Franklin Roosevelt did subsequent to the attack upon Pearl Harbor and Hickham Field, but he acted Contitutionally by requesting a formal declaration of war from the Congress to empower his command of the armed forces for full war footing for the longer term.

        The consent of the governed is a rather big deal in our governmental tradition, and is not exemplified through such half-assery as an AUMF. As a grave matter of national concern, the consent of the citizenry was understood by the Founding Fathers as mandatory for the ongoing application of military force, excepting of course the temporary uses occasioned by active emergencies. This principle has been eroded over time, not least by the degradation of division of powers in the Constitution, and to the point that through their sedulous craveness our representatives in Congress have ceded their power – and worse, their responsibilities as our representatives – to an increasingly autocratic Executive. The roll-back of the autocracy, and the waxing attitudes of impunity toward the rights of the citizens that have become increasingly evident, has to have a start through a confrontation with these illegalities that are enabled by our so called representatives’ lassitude. This is a good place to begin.

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