Yesterday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker released a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The authorization gives the President blanket authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and designated associated forces.”
“Associated forces” means any individual, organization, or force other than a sovereign state that the President determines is helping al-Qaeda or ISIS. So if the President thinks you may be helping al-Qaeda or ISIS because you are working to end U.S. involvement in Syria, you may be targeted under this AUMF (and there are people in DC who think critics of U.S. foreign policy are helping the terrorists). You may also be targeted if you donate to a charity that — unknown to you— has ties to suspected terrorist groups.
Note that the proposed legislation leaves determination as to what is necessarily up to the President, which means this continues the ability of the President to order warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture, and other violations of American liberties simply by declaring it necessary or appropriate to fight the war on terror.
The bill does require Congress to renew, repeal, or modify the authorization every four years, but would require a two-thirds majority to overcome a Presidential veto. This means a pro-war President would be safe from any real Congressional oversight.
The AUMF also allows the President to wage military action against new groups or countries as he wishes without having to first get Congressional permission. All the President needs to do is inform Congress, which then has 60 days to vote on a privileged resolution of disapproval requiring a two-thirds majority to overcome a veto. What President is going to reverse course on military action 60 days after launching it?
Please help Campaign for Liberty stop S.J.Res. 59 by signing your President Not King Petition to your U.S. Senators.
Senator Rand Paul discuss the new authorization here.