Rand Paul: New AUMF Gives President ‘Unlimited War Powers’

by Rand Paul, 21st Century Wire

In the near future, Congress will debate a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I use the word “debate” lightly. So far, no hearings have been scheduled, and no testimony is likely to be heard unless something changes. That’s a shame, because this is a serious matter, and this is a deeply flawed AUMF.

For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so.

So Congress—in a very Congress way of doing things—has a “solution.” Instead of reclaiming its constitutional authority, it instead intends to codify the unacceptable, unconstitutional status quo.

It is clear upon reading the AUMF, put forward by Senators Tim Kaine and Bob Corker, that it gives nearly unlimited power to this or any other president to be at war whenever he or she wants, with minimal justification and no prior specific authority.

That isn’t an AUMF. That isn’t Congress reclaiming its constitutional duties. That’s a complete rewriting of the role of the executive and of the constitutional separation of powers.

The new Kaine/Corker AUMF declares war on at least the following places and people: the Taliban, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS anywhere, al-Shabaab in Somalia and elsewhere, al-Qaeda in Syria, al-Nusra in Syria, the Haqqani network in Pakistan and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, in Niger, Algeria, Libya, and Nigeria, and associated forces (as defined by the president) around the globe.

That is simply breathtaking. Previous AUMFs have never included “associated forces,” and with good reason. Yet the Kaine/Corker AUMF not only codifies military action against those associated forces, but by conservative estimates authorizes war in over 20 nations…

[read more here]

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