Letter: No more blank checks for military actions

Published: 12/13/2018 12:01:02 AM

As community members, we are very concerned about expanding U.S. military actions around the world.

We are opposed to all war and believe diplomacy should be used in its place. But even those who are not opposed to all war can agree that the Constitution states Congress has the authority to decide when our country goes to war. But after 9/11, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), handing over to the president the power to use “necessary and appropriate force” against those involved in the 9/11 attacks.

As a first step toward reasserting constitutional authority over decisions of war and peace, and to restore accountability and confidence in our government, we urge Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Rep. Annie Kuster to make repeal of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force a priority in the first part of 2019.

According to the Congressional Research Service, that 2001 legislation has been used by three presidents to justify at least 41 military engagements in no fewer than 19 countries. We believe it is time to end this blank-check policy and return to the constitutional authority of Congress. The serious and life-endangering decision to go to war needs to be debated openly by all our elected representatives and not decided by just our president and his military advisers.

We hope Rep. Kuster and Sens. Shaheen and Hassan will commit to working for repeal of this legislation early in 2019.

(The letter was co-signed by the following members of the Concord Advocacy Team from Friends Committee on National Legislation: Julia Freeman Woolpert, Mark Barker, Faith Sillars, Bevan Tulk, Jonah Sutton-Morse, Kate Porter, Maja Hauck Smith, Barbara Jo Kingsley, Richard Kleinschmidt and Leann DeHart.)

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