Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 30 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/7/17

De-Authorize the Use of Military Force

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   3 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message David Swanson
Become a Fan
  (141 fans)

knotted pistol
knotted pistol
(Image by garycycles8)
  Details   DMCA

Last Thursday the U.S. House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed an amendment that would -- if passed by the full Congress -- repeal, after an 8-month delay, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress just after September 11, 2001, and used as a justification for wars ever since.

Also last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed three resolutions strongly urging Congress to move funding from militarism to human needs, rather than -- as President Trump's budget proposal would do -- moving money in the opposite direction. One of these resolutions, introduced by the Mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., closely resembled an initial draft that I had produced, and which people had successfully passed some variation of in several cities.

Some of the points made in the "whereas" clauses of the resolution are rarely acknowledged. This was one:

"WHEREAS, fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college, end hunger and starvation on earth, convert the U.S. to clean energy, provide clean drinking water everywhere it's needed on the planet, build fast trains between all major U.S. cities, and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it."

I'll paraphrase some others:

Trump's budget would raise the military portion of federal discretionary spending from 54% of the total to 59%, not counting 7% for veterans' care.

The U.S. public favors a $41 billion reduction in military spending, not Trump's $54 billion increase.

Economists have documented that military spending produces fewer jobs than other spending and even than never taxing those dollars.

President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer. Similarly, U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn argued that wars generate terrorism, also known as blowback, rather than reducing it.

Blurting out that key point seems to have hurt neither Trump nor Corbyn with voters. Meanwhile three Democratic candidates for Congress in special elections thus far this year have barely acknowledged the existence of foreign policy at all, and all three have lost.

The reasons to de-authorize the AUMF overlap with the reasons to shift our funding priorities. But there are some additional reasons. The AUMF violated the intention of the authors of the U.S. Constitution, which was to require that Congress vote before any war could begin, as well as that Congress raise and fund an army for no more than a two-year period without voting to appropriate more funding.

The AUMF also conflicts with Article VI of the Constitution which makes treaties the "supreme law of the land." The United Nations Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact are treaties the United States is party to. The former makes most wars, including all current U.S. wars, illegal. The latter makes all wars illegal. Congress has no power to legalize war by properly declaring or authorizing it.

If you accept the general consensus that laws against war should be brushed aside, and that the AUMF was initially acceptable, it's still hard to make a case that the AUMF hasn't become outdated. This did not purport to be an authorization of any and all force, but specifically force "against those nations, organizations, or persons [who] planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

If such entities haven't been found yet, it's time to stop killing people in Afghanistan and start providing jobs to a few private investigators. More bombs will not help.

One of the reasons that suicide has become the leading cause of death in the U.S. military is almost certainly that we members of the public have less ability than do Congress members to imagine that tweaking an endless war year after year after year will somehow, finally, given just one more year, result in an undefined event called "victory."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 2   Supported 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

David Swanson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Obama's Open Forum Opens Possibilities

Public Forum Planned on Vermont Proposal to Arrest Bush and Cheney

Feith Dares Obama to Enforce the Law

Did Bush Sr. Kill Kennedy and Frame Nixon?

Can You Hold These 12 Guns? Don't Shoot Any Palestinians. Wink. Wink.

Eleven Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend