[act-ma] Understanding and Opposing the New AUMF

Cole Harrison cole at masspeaceaction.org
Wed Feb 25 07:08:09 PST 2015

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     Dear friends,

Last week, President Obama sent a draft for the authorization of military
force (AUMF) against ISIS to Congress.

This new AUMF is a recipe for continuing disaster in the Middle East.  As
it stands, the draft would repeal the 2002 AUMF for the war in Iraq in
particular, but not the 2001 AUMF that has been broadly applied to a
variety of smaller operations in the name of the War on Terror.  Both
AUMF's must be repealed in order to effectively curb the perpetuation of
endless and unbounded war.

Take a moment and write Congress demanding a vote against an ISIS AUMF and
the support of alternative actions rather than war.

A new AUMF could enable the U.S. military to engage anyone and anywhere
they like.  Obama's draft allows for action against "associated forces".
Without an adequately clear definition of what that term means, operations
could quickly extend to any affiliated group regardless of their direct
involvement in the conflict.  Otherwise, this will simply be a repeat of
the failed borderless wars justified through the 2001 AUMF.  Should
Congress unwisely approve a new AUMF, specific geographic restrictions must
be put in place in order to prevent the excessive spread of war beyond the
confines of the present situation with ISIS.


Act now by sending a brief letter to Congress asking to oppose a new AUMF
in favor of long term solutions.

While Obama's draft includes a three year sunset clause for the completion
of military operations, such limitations are easily and often extended once
legislation is in place.  In the unfortunate case that any AUMF draft is
passed through Congress, we advocate that this restriction be further
reduced to one year in order to constrain the resulting actions as much as

Any boots on the ground will surely lead to more destruction, civilian
casualites, and regional tension in the future. Currently, the new AUMF
incorporates language that would supposedly restrict any "enduring
offensive ground operations", but this language is far too vague to hold
any weight.  "Enduring" could simply be replaced with "temporary", and
"offensive" with "defensive".  This new AUMF is filled with holes like this
that will only perpetuate business as usual with U.S. foreign policy in the
Middle East.  War is not a viable solution to these problems and, if deemed
inevitable by Congress, must be tightly contained so that diplomatic
efforts can be fully restored.

Yours for peace and diplomacy,

Shelagh Foreman
Program Director
Massachusetts Peace Action


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Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action - the nation's largest grassroots peace
11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138
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617-466-9274 m
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