The American people have become weary of the open-ended, blank-check war initiated in response the 9/11 attacks over twelve years ago.
My sense is that people vaguely suspect three things about the conflict:
- The actual perpetrators have either been caught or killed;
- The war has become a self-perpetuating bureaucratic entity that has made itself immune from accountability;
- The national security state has taken power granted in response to the 9/11 attacks and used these powers against the American people or reserves the right to use them against political dissenters, like the Occupy movement.
I propose forming a coalition to end the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed after the 9/11 attacks.
Congress should pass a bill that ends the authorization. I propose the effective date of this bill to be June 30, 2017.
During the 2014 election cycle, the coalition would force candidates for Congress to take a position on ending the AUMF. During the 114th Congress (2015-16) the end date would become law.
The executive branch could respond with a more narrowly defined AUMF in the 114th Congress or the 2016 election cycle could be a debate over whether to continue the war and how to define the parameters of the war.
This plan does not guarantee Congress won’t pass some new AUMF that allows some bad policies to continue. But it would end the endless war. And it would reassert the principle written into the U.S. Constitution that Congress is supposed to define the parameters of war:
- Who is the United States fighting?
- Where is the United States fighting?
- What rules and limits are U.S. forces expect to respect?
- What are the goals, missions and objectives of the conflict?
- What constitutes winning the war?
And this plan engages the American people. It allows us to deliberate with candidates for Congress and to hold members of Congress accountable for their positions.