On Sept. 14, 2001, in the days following the largest ever terror attack on American soil, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), granting the president the authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the attacks of Sept. 11 “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

Since 2001, the AUMF has been used as the legal basis for military action against a broad range of groups extending far beyond those implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the Congressional Research Service, the 2001 AUMF has been used in at least 14 different countries to justify military intervention. For 18 years, the executive branch has used this overly broad and outdated authorization to wage unending war against terrorism with little or no appropriate congressional oversight.

To end the president’s ability to use the 2001 AUMF, members of both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would repeal the authorization. In the House, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, has introduced H.R. 2456, while Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, has introduced S.J. Res. 13 in the Senate. Thought the details of the legislation are different, both bills achieve the same significant step towards reinstating congressional oversight for military intervention and ending the executive branch’s overly broad power to wage war.

It is time to end this overly broad and outdated authorization and reintroduce appropriate congressional oversight to fight terrorism and wage war.


Carroll Payne


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.