The president should not have carte blanche under a resolution from 17 years ago
War is a heavy responsibility. But many of America’s foreign conflicts are now started, executed and largely overseen by one man: the president. Congress has ceded its war-making authority to the executive branch. War and peace are no longer an expression of the will of the people.
Syria is a clear example. U.S. military operations against Islamic State rely on an outdated congressional resolution. The September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, also known as an AUMF, gave the president the power to fight al Qaeda and other entities that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the 9/11 attacks. The executive branch has interpreted its congressional mandate to wage war in the broadest way possible, treating ISIS as what it calls “associated forces,” even though al Qaeda disavowed ISIS in 2014. The 2001 AUMF is then used as legal authority for an indefinite global counterterrorism effort.
Congress should be ashamed.