From [HERE] Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC News last weekend that he had “no idea” that there were 1,000 US troops in Niger. But it didn’t bother him at all. He promised that the US military – which already has troops in 53 of the 54 countries in Africa – will soon be far more involved in fighting on the continent. We don’t want the next 9/11 to come from Niger, he warned. Should Congress at least show an interest in this new, expanded war?
The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that followed 9/11 has been broadly interpreted by presidents since then as allowing them to launch limitless wars, and for some time there’s been interest among some in Congress toward challenging this, ending the old AUMF and replacing it with real, specific authorizations for specific wars.
The October 4 ambush in Niger, which led to the deaths of four US special forces, has added to that push in a big way, because not only was this operation obviously not ever authorized by Congress, but in this case Congress wasn’t even told it was happening.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and others are very vocal about not liking just how out of the loop Congress has become on wars like the one in Niger. President Trump has suggested his generals authorized the Niger war by themselves, and it doesn’t appear he knew about it either.
Even more ominous is that the 1,000 troops in Niger are just a fraction of the over 20,000 US troops deployed overseas in unidentified places, meaning that there are countless other operations ongoing that are just as unauthorized. [MORE]
The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces". The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.
The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001. As of December 2016, the Office of the President published a brief interpreting the AUMF as providing Congressional authorization for the use of force against al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups.
The only representative to vote against the Authorization in 2001 was Barbara Lee, who has consistently criticised it since for being a blank check giving the government unlimited powers to wage war without debate. Lee has initiated several attempts to repeal the authorization since. On June 29, 2017, a group of libertarian Republicans and Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee approved Lee’s amendment to end the 2001 authorization within 240 days, which would have forced debate on a replacement authorization. This amendment was removed from the bill by the Rules Committee so the AUMF remains in effect. Business Insider has reported that the AUMF has been used to allow military action in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia [MORE].
The text of AUMF is below.
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.
Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens; and
Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad; and
Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence; and
Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Section 1 – Short Title
This joint resolution may be cited as the 'Authorization for Use of Military Force'.
Section 2 – Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-
(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.