Senator Rand Paul proposed an amendment on March 22, 2023, to revoke the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was enacted after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. This proposal coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War and is a component of Senator Paul's broader campaign to restore Congress's war authority as defined by the Constitution.
We’ve been at war unconstitutionally for over two decades.
And @RandPaul has been fighting just as long to put an end to it.@jackhunter74 has the receipts:https://t.co/o4MdtPzAq9
— Hannah Cox (@HannahDCox) March 22, 2023
Following the 9/11 attacks, the 2001 AUMF permitted the U.S. to enter Afghanistan, while the 1991 AUMF enabled the Gulf War. The 2002 AUMF was utilized by the U.S. to invade Iraq. Although these missions have concluded, the authorizations remain open-ended, granting presidents of both political parties the authority to launch strikes or conduct military operations in other regions without obtaining Congressional approval.
As we vote to repeal the 1991/2002 AUMFs, we need to take the additional step of also repealing the Authorization for the war in Afghanistan. That's why I again introduced an amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF. https://t.co/A97G6ZSerL
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 21, 2023
Don’t you think Congress should have a debate over the question where and when we go to war? https://t.co/Y4A9VI2YFa
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 17, 2023
Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul forced the US Senate to hold its first vote addressing an AUMF since 2002. Read here: https://t.co/9OjKO9wN6X pic.twitter.com/bJgbvYV5hv
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 13, 2017
Rand Paul's lonely AUMF battle https://t.co/guTMV8udUj
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) September 12, 2017
Rand Paul tried to get Pompeo on record saying the 2001 AUMF doesn't allow the Trump administration to go to war with Iran. Pompeo said he wants to leave that question to lawyers, then added ‘’Iran’s connections to Al Qaeda is very real”
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) April 10, 2019
Here’s Sen. Rand Paul’s proposed amendment to the AUMF repeal resolution moving in the senate this week.
Underlying resolution: repeals 1991 & 2002 AUMFs (Iraq)
Paul amendment: To add a repeal of the 2001 AUMF (Afghanistan just after 9/11) pic.twitter.com/COpoLtXHLV
— K Tully-McManus (@ktullymcmanus) March 21, 2023
Senator Paul has long been an advocate for repealing these open-ended authorizations and unconstitutional excuses for presidents to unilaterally wage wars. He believes that only Congress has the power to declare war, and that it is dangerous for one person to have the ability to start a war at any time. In a statement on Tuesday, he said, “The 2001 permission to bring the 9/11 terrorists to justice was necessary, however like the War in iraq, the Afghan war has been over for a long time, but its authorization is still on the books. War can sometimes be necessary, but it shouldn't be up to one person to decide to go to war. Stopping Congress from giving permission for the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War gives the power to go to war back to the public and their representatives."
In February, Paul collaborated on a bill that proposed a sunset provision for both the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. Since his appointment to the Senate in 2011, he has been pushing against presidents from both political parties who believe they can bypass Congress and initiate war on their own. At that time, President Obama had argued that he could use the War Powers Resolution to bomb Libya, despite it not posing an "actual or imminent threat" to the U.S. Paul opposed this by using Obama's own words from 2007, where he stated that "the President lacks the constitutional authority to unilaterally authorize a military assault in the absence of a genuine or impending threat to the national security." Unfortunately, Paul's proposal was defeated in a 90-10 vote, and U.S. involvement in Libya resulted in further destabilization of the region, with many believing it contributed to the formation of the terrorist group, the Islamic State.
In 2016, Paul endeavored once again to abolish the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, highlighting how President Obama had grossly misused them during his final term. He remarked that "these authorizations to use military force are being improperly invoked to legitimize American military engagements in seven different nations. Allowing both AUMFs to sunset will compel us to discuss whether we should continue with the Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria wars, and other interventions." However, his attempts were thwarted once again.
Senator Rand Paul continues to fight for Congress’s war powers as outlined in the Constitution. He believes that it is important for Congress to have control over when wars are declared and fought, as there are often unintended consequences to war that can be avoided if it is not left up to one person. It is clear that Senator Paul will never give up on this cause, and will continue to fight for what he believes is right.