Waging War Without Declaring War.
The Authorization to Use Military Force Act was passed shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Resolution was passed by both houses of Congress to give President George W. Bush the legal authority to use military actions against the perpetrators of the attacks. However, the language of the bill gives the commander-in-chief broad discretion in determining when and how the U.S. goes to war:
That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
These 60 words have been used by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump to expand the U.S. War on Terror across the globe.
Questions for Reflection:
- Why would Congress delegate its war-making powers to the commander-in-chief rather than declare war?
- Why might it be difficult for Congress to reclaim the power it gave to the executive branch?
- Read this piece from the Council on Foreign Relations. Should the AUMF be repealed? Why or why not?
Photo/Image: George W. Bush, White House Photo