February 11, 2015

Can We Finally Get an AUMF Right?

By Richard Fontaine, and Vance Serchuk

On Wednesday the White House sent legislative text to the Senate and House of Representatives that would authorize military force against the self-declared Islamic State, initiating what will undoubtedly be one of the most significant national-security debates of the 114th Congress.

The proposed authorization for the use of military force—an AUMF in wonk speak—comes more than six months after the White House initiated hostilities against the extremist network in Iraq and Syria—two countries from which it had previously championed American withdrawal and non-intervention. Yet now the White House is following firmly in the footsteps of its Republican predecessors—seeking to persuade an opposition-led Congress to sanction war in the heart of the Middle East.

At first glance, the case for a new authorization is straightforward. In its absence, the administration contends that its actions are covered under the 2001 resolution authorizing force against those responsible for 9/11. But it was al Qaeda that carried out the September 11 attacks, and the Islamic State has formally broken with that group.

Read the full op-ed at POLITICO.

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