War is horror. It devastates lives, destroys futures, costs much too much in blood and treasure. The U. S. Constitution has a mechanism to remind us of that slaughter and mayhem as we as a people and a government decide whether an outcome is worth the price. Presidential emergency authority followed by Congressional decision to continue allows us to weigh the loss of life, economy, and environment. We rely on our elected representatives to review relevant factors and decide.
Since this young century began, we have endured 18 years of endless war in areas of tension and conflict around the globe. Because military service is now voluntary, the cost of war is seldom before the eyes of the public; only occasional news reports bring these tragic actions to our consciousness as a nation. Congress has twice authorized the use of military force, first in 2001 in response to the attack of 9/11, again in 2002 to justify engagement with Iraq, with whom we are no longer at war.
According to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report, the 2001 Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF) has been used by the Executive Branch as authority for 41 operations in 19 countries with another 61 nations hosting sites for military exercises and bases, at a cost of $5.9 trillion, yes, trillion, over the 18 years of this on-going war. I ask you now, as my Representative, to repeal the AUMF of 2001 which was passed to seek and punish terrorists after the attack on the World Trade Center and has no sunset clause and no geographic limitations.
The 2002 AUMF specified Iraq with whom we are no longer at war. Congress currently is reconciling the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Among the differences between the House and Senate versions is an amendment prohibiting extending the 2002 AUMF to Iran, where tensions are currently high. We ask you, Rep. Langevin, to urge support among your colleagues who may be on the Conference Committee to retain the Khanna-Gaetz amendment in the final version of the NDAA.
Let us direct our budgets to productive social programs. Let us stop this endless war.