Mar 22, 2022
Saturday marked the nineteenth anniversary of the beginning of the second Iraq War—a war Congress never formally declared. Instead, just like with America’s invasion of Afghanistan, Congress passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Together, these AUMFs provide the legal basis for the ongoing war on terror and have been loosely interpreted by every president since 2001 to authorize military action anywhere with little to no Congressional oversight. Though these AUMFs remain on the books today, the past year has seen a push by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to reclaim Congress’s role in matters of war and peace—an issue that extends beyond America’s post 9/11 wars. Questions of Congressional oversight remain pertinent as the United States debates how to respond to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
This week, we’re revisiting our season two conversation with Heather Brandon Smith and Rita Siemion, both experts on AUMFs and advocates for their repeal. They discuss the history of these AUMFs, prospects for reform under the Biden administration, and why repealing them is necessary to end America’s post-9/11 wars.