ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Wednesday sent a letter to members of Congress urging support of a bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Kaine and Young to repeal a pair of obsolete Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The group is joined on the letter by Defense Priorities Initiative, FreedomWorks, and the R Street institute.
In the letter, the groups express support for Senate Joint Resolution 10, which would repeal the outdated 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, calling the authorizations “obsolete.” The authorizations were originally drafted to authorize operations against Saddam Hussein’s government, and since the U.S. now partners with the successor Iraqi government, an active authorization for force against it is no longer required but leaves open a dangerous loophole for future unauthorized wars.
Leaders of the organizations that signed the letter had this to say of the effort:
Nate Anderson, CVA Executive Director:
“These authorizations have been used to justify military actions far removed from their original intents. It’s time for them to go and for Congress to do its constitutional duty in matters of where, when, and why we send American troops to sacrifice in defense of our country. We welcome this measure and hope this will lead to greater scrutiny of existing authorizations and how they are being misused as well.”
Ed King, President, Defense Priorities Initiative:
“As the Constitution makes clear, the legislative branch—the one most directly accountable to the American people—is solely responsible for deciding when the country goes to war. Over the last two decades, Congress has increasingly ceded its authority to the executive branch, which has enthusiastically expanded U.S. military involvement in peripheral conflicts, often violating the War Powers Resolution and stretching ongoing AUMFs beyond their actual intent. Repealing open-ended, outdated war resolutions is a critical step to constrain unconstitutional executive war-making and bring more oversight—and hopefully an end—to U.S. involvement in endless wars.”
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks:
“Dollars aren’t the only things being needlessly spent in our endless foreign wars. They cost real American lives. Irresponsible and inappropriate reliance on outdated and unrelated authorizations for the use of military force to justify continued over-involvement of our troops overseas is unacceptable. We thank members of Congress who are willing to do the hard work required of our nation’s elected officials and push their colleagues toward frequent and fervent debate on our military activities abroad.”
Anthony Marcum, Governance Fellow, R Street Institute:
“No one who was in Congress twenty years ago could have imagined how broadly AUMFs would be used in the years since. The world is a different place today, and there is no better time to reassess the status quo. Fortunately, this recent effort shows that there is bipartisan interest in having Congress perform this critical constitutionally mandated responsibility.”
The letter goes on to say, “Despite no clear reason to keep the 1991 or 2002 AUMFs in place, leaving them in force carries clear risks, including the further erosion of Congressional accountability … Allowing a future president the opportunity to use either AUMF as an authority to take the United States to war without legislative approval would be an egregious dereliction of Congressional duty.”
“Deciding whether to authorize military force is the most important responsibility members of Congress face. By leaving old AUMFs open and without regularly debating and voting on whether to send the United States to war, Congress ignores its solemn duty.”