US senate rejects bid to repeal war authorization act
The Authorization for Use of Military Force has allowed US presidents to justify military interventions in at least 22 countries over the past two decades
By News Desk - March 25 2023

US invasion of Iraq
(Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

The US Senate overwhelmingly voted this week to reject the war authorization act from 2001, which has given US presidents sweeping powers to justify military interventions in at least 22 countries.

The amendment to rescind the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was introduced by Republican Senator Rand Paul on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, but received only nine votes in favor and 86 against during a session on 22 March.

“Today, I offered the US Senate a chance to repeal the 9/11 2001 authorization for war to reclaim our constitutional power and send a message to the world that we are a nation of peace,” Paul said in a statement after the vote.

“We should have risen above symbolism and … shown our respect for the Constitution, our fealty to the rule of law, and our sincere desire that peace, not perpetual war, be our legacy,” he added.

The AUMF was signed into law on 18 September 2001 by former US President George W. Bush in response to the 11 September attacks and provided the president with greater authority to use military force without the approval of Congress.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the law was used to justify more than 40 military interventions overseas in at least 22 countries.

Despite the rejection of the amendment, Senator Paul vowed to continue his efforts to repeal the law and limit the president’s powers as originally stated in the US constitution.

A released last November by the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice revealed how the Pentagon has been using post 9/11 laws to covertly deploy troops and wage secret wars in dozens of countries across the globe.

Known as ‘security cooperation authorities,’ they were passed by the US Congress in the years following the 11 September attacks and are a continuation of the 2001 AUMF.

Among the nations in West Asia affected by these security cooperation authorities are Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen; however, they also include many African and Latin American nations.

Earlier this month, a War Powers Resolution that would have ended the US army’s illegal occupation of Syria was struck down by the House of Representatives in a 103-321 vote.

The bill, introduced late last month by Republican Matt Gaetz, garnered the support of 47 Republicans and 56 Democrats – including several members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

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