Opposition to President Barack Obama’s request to authorize another endless war in the Middle East continues to build, with progressives charging that the draft resolution is far too broad and anti-war activists mobilizing to defeat the measure.
As Common Dreams has reported, the proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) gives approval for open-ended and geographically limitless military operations. Its vague wording leaves the door open to use of ground troops, which the administration has previously vowed to avoid, and does nothing to repeal the sweeping 2001 AUMF, which is still being used to justify ongoing military actions in various regions around the world.
“The current war over religion in the Middle East could make the Vietnam War look like a Sunday School picnic.”
—Paul Findley, former member of Congress
“This Resolution sets a dangerous precedent,” said Francis Boyle, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. “Up until the 2001 AUMF, all War Powers Resolutions had been adopted with respect to a State, not alleged terrorist organizations that can operate anywhere in the world as defined by the President.”
But “[t]his Resolution continues in that dangerous path, basically substituting ISIS for al-Qaeda and continuing to wage a global war on terrorism,” Boyle continued. “So if Obama cannot plausibly invoke the 2001 Resolution because there is no connection to 9/11 as required therein, he will simply invoke this Resolution. Between the two resolutions you can have the U.S. government waging war all over the world.”
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), which has repeatedly called for a debate on the use of force against the Islamic State, or ISIS, released a statement detailing their opposition on Friday.
“The devastating and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that when we give military authority to the executive, it should not be a blank check,” said CPC co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and CPC Peace and Security Task Force chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). “Prolonged military action requires robust debate and authorization from Congress, so we are glad that President Obama has presented a proposal. One of Congress’s most important roles is to declare war, and an AUMF is a declaration of war.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one of the only U.S. senators to have offered a firm position on the AUMF.
“I oppose sending U.S. ground troops into combat in another bloody war in the Middle East,” he said Wednesday. “I therefore cannot support the resolution in its current form without clearer limitations on the role of U.S. combat troops.”
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