Sunday, July 09, 2017

27.1 - Good News: House Appropriations Committee votes to repeal AUMF

Good News: House Appropriations Committee votes to repeal AUMF

Here's some Good News to start the week. In a surprise move, the House Appropriations Committee has inserted into the 2018 military spending bill a provision that would repeal the AUMF, the Authorization to Use Military Force, the provision passed during the political panic in the immediate wake of 9/11 and that has been used to justify every US military adventure since.

The AUMF authorized the president to take whatever action he - and it did say "he" - deems necessary against any nation, organization, or even individual he finds responsible in any way, direct or indirect, for 9/11. It specified no target and set no time limit.

Rep. Barbara Lee, who introduced the amendment to repeal the AUMF, was the only person in Congress to vote against it in 2001. She said as she did so that it was an unacceptable blank check for all future presidents.

Rep. Barbara Lee
Considering that the Congressional Research Service has found that the AUMF has been used more than 37 times in 14 countries to justify US military action there, including even having been used by the Amazing Mr. O to justify his war against ISIS and related incursions into Syria even though ISIS didn't even exist on 9/11, it's clear that Lee's concern has been more than justified.

The amendment would end the AUMF 240 days after enactment of the 2018 military budget of which it's part, allowing plenty of time for Congress to come up with a new one, if it wants to - which Lee says is part of the idea: making Congress actually debate, actually take some responsibility for, our wide-ranging wars.

The amendment's chances of surviving in the Senate are slim; even getting through the House is questionable what with the Foreign Affairs Committee already whining about committee jurisdiction. But it truly doesn't matter: What matters for now is that not only did this pass on a bipartisan voice vote with just one objection, but some lawmakers on both sides actually applauded when it was passed, clearly indicating growing frustration with our unending wars. And while that level of frustration is still well short of where we should be, it is still Good News.

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