Local Faith Group Sees Opportunity to Help Stop Endless Wars - Madison

Madison Quakers are taking a  positive step towards ending the U.S.’s “endless wars”.  They are supporting the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and invite their Wisconsin neighbors to join them. (The House voted to repeal (H.R. 256) this week - now on to the Senate) 

  For the first time in decades, both houses of Congress may soon act to reclaim Congress’s Constitutional authority over war-making decisions by repealing this AUMF. 

Many may not be familiar with this AUMF. Congress created it in 2002 to permit the President to defend  U.S. national security against the perceived threat posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Although the threat was not real and the regime is long gone, this AUMF remains active.  It was most recently used in 2020 by President Trump to justify the killing of Iranian general Qassam Soleimani, an act that pushed the US and Iran closer to a nuclear war.  It is not, however, being used as authorization for any current US military actions.

Madison Quaker Meeting urges repeal for multiple reasons.  Removing a potential “blank-check” for war is an important goal.  Member Dave Minden, states, “The intent of this AUMF is no longer relevant, yet it can still be used by future presidents of either party to justify military actions far outside of its original purpose.”  “Congress has the Constitutional responsibility to determine if and when the US goes to war, not the President,” stated another member, Karen Greenler.  When asked whether repealing the AUMF will tie the President’s  hands for emergency defense, Greenler responded, “The President has all the authority needed as Commander-in-Chief to defend the country against attack.”

The group believes that the repeal effort will succeed with sufficient public support. Resolutions in the House (H.R. 256) and Senate (S. J. Res. 10) provide our Representatives and Senators with the mechanism to end the 2002 AUMF this year.  As it nears a vote in the full House, H.R. 256 has 134 bipartisan cosponsors,  with two from Wisconsin, Representatives Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan. Senator Tammy Baldwin is one of 17 bipartisan cosponsors of S.J. Res 10, which is expected to be approved soon by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. President Biden has indicated his support for eliminating outdated AUMFs.

Once the 2002 AUMF is repealed, attention will turn to repealing or replacing an AUMF  from 2001. The 2001 AUMF gave the President authority to use force against those responsible for the September 11 attacks. It has been used by every administration since to justify military actions all over the world (19 countries) and is still in use. 

According to Minden, “Signing on to support the repeal legislation will send a message to our communities and to our representatives and senators that we are against endless war. We want Congress to be a deliberative body that will slow or eliminate poorly thought out, politically-motivated military action.”       June 13, 2021

For information contact: 

Karen Greenler, krgreenler@gmail.com

David Minden, dwminden@gmail.com

Madison Monthly Meeting Minute

Quaker minutes are consensus statements of a Meeting. The Madison Meeting approved the following minute in April, 2021.

Madison Monthly Meeting supports the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, in line with our Quaker belief to ‘take away the occasion for all wars’. We believe the 2002 AUMF is no longer relevant, allows our government to misuse its power and diverts funding that would be better used to help solve social problems.  Repeal will also help reassert Congressional authority to determine if and when the United States goes to war.  We encourage our individual Members to support the repeal and also send messages to their congresspersons that they must end endless wars.