A Democratic congressman on Wednesday offered an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would end the legal cornerstone of the “war on terror.”
Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) amendment would prohibit the use of funds pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) effective on December 31, 2014.
“The 2001 AUMF was never intended to authorize a war without end and it now poorly defines those who pose a threat to our country,” Schiff said. “That authority and the funding that goes with it should expire concurrent with the end of our combat role in Afghanistan.”
Congress approved the AUMF just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, giving the President of the United States authority to wage war “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was the only member of Congress to vote against the law.
The Bush and Obama administrations have used the AUMF as a legal justification for vast electronic surveillance and targeted drone strikes against suspected terrorists. The AUMF has also been used to deploy troops to various countries — including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Georgia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen — and justify indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay.
Schiff noted that President Barack Obama had called on Congress to revise and ultimately repeal the AUMF. Doing otherwise, the president said, would lead to a state of perpetual war.
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