To the editor:
The Afghan government has collapsed and the Taliban has taken over. Americans are mourning the immense, seemingly futile, sacrifices of our military families and the suffering of Afghans as chaos and panic ensue. How could we have invested so much blood and treasure after we’d quickly accomplished our original goal?
On September 18, 2001, Congress hastily voted to “authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the US.” The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) lacked an expiration date or terms for conclusion. Congress thus shirked its constitutional responsibility of overseeing military conflicts, handing unlimited power to the President. This deprived the American people of a voice as we learned that democracy can’t be imposed on Afghanistan by force and that the 2001 AUMF was being used by subsequent administrations to justify new military operations without our consent.
Senator Schumer is to be commended for his commitment to bring a vote on repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF to the Senate floor. Congress must also repeal the 2001 AUMF and do the heavy lifting of delineating a more effective road to democracy for these ill-treated countries. This would necessarily include appropriating greater diplomatic resources through the State Department.