A sliver of good news: the House Appropriations Committee voted last week to adopt an amendment to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMNF was passed post 9/11 to allow the president to use military force against anyone, anywhere who was part of the attacks on the US.
Despite the messes we made in wars-that-weren’t-technically-wars in Korea, Viet Nam, and the Persian Gulf, plus decades of interventions in Latin and South America, back in only ONE member of Congress (Representative Barbara Lee of California) was able to foresee that this increase in executive power would be another opportunity for a president to abuse power and the members of Congress to abdicate responsibility. Since 9/11, it’s been used to justify war-like actions from Bush, Obama, and Trump—who just last week authorized the shooting down of a Syrian plane, which prompted threats of reprisal from Russia. Lee’s warning back in 2001—that we should be “careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target”—was one that many people now wish Congress had listened to.
The AUMF should have made us shudder all along, but let’s be realistic: no one in power is going to work to share it.
Above, a meme posted on a pro-Trump Facebook group I follow. (See what I do for you, dear readers?) Fans defend Trump’s undignified Twitter battle with Mika Brzinzki and Joe Scarborough like children on a playground—by yelling “She started it!” This is not the way to avoid a nuclear war with North Korea.
So what happened? Could it be that even the Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee are scared of their commander-in-chief’s recklessness, petty vindictiveness, and fragile masculinity? Perhaps a man whose presidency was born in from a bruised ego isn’t the person you be making the unilateral decision to send our troops into battle.