My senator Tammy Duckworth joined 85 other senators to defeat repeal of the 2001 AUMF used to attack Afghanistan in the wake of the 911 attacks. Only 9 decent senators voted “No More” to senseless and endless war without Senate approval as required by the Constitution.
After conquering Afghanistan in weeks, presidents Bush, Obama, Trump, and now Biden have used it in perpetuity to wage senseless attacks, big and small, in at least 20 countries.
The AUMF was kept in place by a compliant Senate that 22 years ago abrogated its war making powers. It’s a perfect blank check for US presidents who don’t want to seek permission from the Senate to bomb imagined bad guys all over the world. And it’s perfect cover for cynical senators, like Duckworth, who don’t want their fingerprints of approval on their president’s latest act of murder and mayhem worldwide. If military action goes wrong these Senators will cry “It’s all on the president.”
But in a cynical move to distract the public from retaining its perpetual war card, the Biden administration has approved the Senate moving forward to repeal the 2002 AUMF authorizing our criminal war to depose Saddam Hussein. Since the war ended a decade ago, repealing the 2002 AUMF is a meaningless fig leaf on out-of-control war making.
Senator Duckworth, who parlayed her Iraq war military service to Congress and a possible presidential run, learned nothing from participating in a monstrous criminal war except that promoting war service is good politics.
Duckworth should heed the words of her colleague Rand Paul. He proposed repeal of the 2001 AUMF with this principled message: “Today, I offered the US Senate a chance to repeal the 9/11 2001 Authorization for War to reclaim our constitutional power and send a message to the world that we are a nation of peace. Today, we should have risen above symbolism and repealed the 9/11 authorization for war and shown our respect for the Constitution, our fealty to the rule of law, and our sincere desire that peace, not perpetual war, be our legacy.”
Senator Duckworth, are you listening?
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.