Congress Must End the Bush-Era AUMF

Natalie Dowzicky
Reuters

Natalie Dowzicky

Security, Americas

It is time to end the never-ending war on terror.

Congress Must End the Bush-Era AUMF

In a weird twist of fate, Senator Bernie Sanders is right about something. After the news hit that tensions with Iran were escalating, Sanders was correct in implying that the limited strike the Trump administration considered conducting following Iran’s aggression ought to be considered an act of war. And it is, but it’s an act of a war Americans absolutely don’t want to start. Thankfully, President Donald Trump did back down, but had he wanted to, he had the power to follow through. It’s precisely the kind of power that shouldn’t be given to one person—Trump or any president at all. Moreover, constitutionally, it’s not.

The authority to wage war is expressly given to Congress in the “War Powers clause” of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, America’s executive branch loves to steal that power for itself, but it’s time for Congress to take back its job. After all, it seems to have a lot more restraint than most contemporary presidents, and it’s safe to assume that including 435 people in the decision-making process would make for decisions with a lot more thought behind them. Since the writing of the Declaration of Independence, Congress has only declared war eleven times. Nevertheless, at presidential behest, American troops have been all over the globe—often in places where they’re both unwanted and unnecessary. That shouldn’t be the case.

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