Rand Paul Continues to Fight for the Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)

Starting on March 8, 2023, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced that he proposed the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). He tweeted, “I proposed repealing the 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF) today.”

Paul continued this fight on March 21, when Paul’s office announced that the Kentucky Senator introduced an amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF.

“As we vote to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, we need to take the additional step of also repealing the Authorization for the war in Afghanistan. The 2001 authorization to bring the 9/11 terrorists to justice was warranted, but like the Iraq war, the Afghan war has long ago ended – yet its authorization remains on the books,” stated Paul. 

“War is sometimes necessary, but going to war should not be the decision of one person. Ending congressional authorization for the Gulf war, Iraq war and Afghanistan war returns the war power to the American people and their representatives.”

Paul’s amendment would formally terminate the authorization for the Afghanistan war, which was nearly 22 years following the passage of the first AUMF. This amendment would sunset the 2001 AUMF after six months. In this time period, Congress can debate exactly where and how to authorize military force in the future. 

Paul introduced the amendment before the Senate voted on bipartisan legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, which formally concluded the two Iraq Wars (1991 and 2003). The Kentucky Senator co-sponsored these bills. 

Paul has been one of the leading voices in Congress calling for the repeal of the AUMFs to prevent future misuse by the executive branch and also prevent the executive branch from bypassing Congress when it comes to signing off on the use of military force. 

On March 29, 2023, the Senate finally passed a resolution by a vote of 66 to 30 to repeal the 1991 and 2021 authorizations for the use of military force used to justify the two invasions of Iraq. 

This is a good first step in reining in the warfare state. Ultimately, the US needs a political class that’s firmly committed to non-interventionism and restraint for peace to become a long-standing reality. Nevertheless, moves to repeal the AUMF are solid reforms to making this vision become a reality. 

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