News Release

AUMF: “Another Blank Check for Endless War”

KELLEY VLAHOS, kv at kelleyvlahos.com, @KelleyBVlahos
Vlahos
is a contributing editor at the The American Conservative magazine, which just published the piece “The War Against ISIS and the Absurd AUMF Debate.”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com
Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She said today: “Although the proposed AUMF contains some purported limitations, President Obama is essentially asking Congress to bless endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. The statute would contain no geographical limit and allow military force against the Islamic State and ‘associated forces,’ which is broad and vague. And although it would prohibit ‘enduring offensive operations,’ there is a loophole that allows the limited use of ground troops. By labeling operations ‘defensive,’ Obama or the next president could use increasing numbers of ground troops. Moreover, the 2001 AUMF has been stretched well beyond what Congress intended, and there is no reason to believe the 2015 AUMF will not as well.”

RAED JARRAR, rjarrar at afsc.org, @raedjarrar
Policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, Jarrar said today: “The new AUMF is a blank check for another endless war. The U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria is a part of the problem. Dropping more bombs in Iraq, and arming militias and proxy groups, will not defeat extremism. Iraq and Syria will not be bombed into moderation and stability. Ending extremism and violence in Iraq and Syria is possible, but the new U.S. AUMF will make it even more difficult to achieve.”

SARAH LAZARE, sarah.lazare at gmail.com, @sarahlazare
Lazare just wrote the piece for Commondreams.org: “Obama Seeks Broad Powers to Wage Geographically Limitless War On ISIS.” She also recently wrote the piece “How to Get Serious About Ending the ISIS War,” for Foreign Policy in Focus, which states: “The expanding U.S.-led war on the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, has largely fallen off the radar of U.S. social movements. … We in the U.S. left must take a critical — if painful — look at the harm U.S. policies have done to the Middle East, press for a long-term shift in course, and seek to understand and build links with progressive forces in Iraq and Syria.” The piece interviews people involved in peace movements in the U.S., Iraq and Syria.