AUMF Repeal: Obama Once Again Stands Up For Democracy

Yesterday, during a speech at the National Defense University, President Obama took an unexpected step towards the first real peace-time that America has seen since 2001 by advocating for a repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF.

“Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states,” stated Obama. “So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF's mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end.”

The AUMF was passed in 2001 as a response to the 9/11 attacks. Then-President George W. Bush pushed for Congress to allow him to take any “necessary and appropriate force” against all international terrorism, but Congress, recognizing the boundless power that that would entail, limited the mandate to only actions that targeted those who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.

Even with this caveat, the AUMF provided the executive branch with unprecedented powers that were easily abused. To name just a few of those abuses, the AUMF has been cited as justification for controversial drone attacks, holding prisoners indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, and warrantless surveillance of the American people by the National Security Agency.

Regardless, Congress is not only considering keeping the AUMF, but expanding it. Recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearings have seen many push to allow the executive to maintain this secretive use of force against all groups that potentially threaten the U.S., even if entirely unrelated to 9/11. What Congress found reprehensible and unconstitutional in 2001, it is now supporting in 2013.

Thankfully, President Obama is not the kind of politician to jump on the bandwagon. In his aforementioned speech, Obama defied Congress and even members of his own party, simply by stating the facts: Al-Qaeda has mostly been disassembled and is no longer a real threat to the U.S. The U.S. is withdrawing from Afghanistan. We are entering a peacetime state. With the lack of a real, concrete enemy, there is absolutely no need to drag this dwindling conflict into a perpetual and never-ending state of war. And in this vein, Obama is not only openly calling for a repeal of the AUMF, but is also successfully pushing Congress to begin drafting a bill to “sunset” the mandate.

More transparent military proceedings? Giving the American people back their constitutional rights? Ensuring that other countries aren’t too scared to share intelligence with us? And a president who isn’t afraid to limit his own powers to further democracy? Yes please.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Medha Chandorkar

As a junior at Georgetown University in Washington DC, I'm studying Government, Women's and Gender Studies, and Justice and Peace Studies. I'm interested in social justice issues, particularly women's rights in the developing world, and politics. Outside of school, I love dancing and reading, and I'm a huge TV / movie buff. In the future, I hope to become a lawyer but right now, I'm just focused on the moment.

MORE FROM

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.