Put the Power to Declare War Back into the Hands of Congress and the People

This Memorial Day weekend is a reminder, again, of the brutality and severity of war. Civilians and military service members both know the terrible cost of war regardless of which side claims victory. Casualties and war-caused suffering, including loss of life, disability, and lingering emotional and physical trauma, are an enormous price to pay. This price is paid not only by those serving in the military, but by family and loved ones of those who have served.

The decision to declare war should be taken only under due consideration and serious regard. It should never be in the hands of a single person. In our Constitution the power to declare war was put under the control of Congress, NOT of the President or any single individual in our government.

Since 2001 the President has had the power to use military action - to wage war - against any country he deems appropriate in the name of anti-terrorism. This power was granted by Congress through the AUMF, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th attack on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon. The AUMF specifies that the President can use military force against those who planned the attacks of September 11th. The AUMF has been a dangerous authorization; it has been used in at least fourteen different countries over the past 18 years to wage war against terrorism without due congressional oversight.

It’s time for this to stop. It is too dangerous to allow one person, the President of the United States, to use military force without being duly accountable to Congress and to the American people.

The House Appropriations Committee has taken steps to repeal the AUMF. An amendment to the 2020 Defense Appropriations bill will repeal the 2001 AUMF, with an eight-month period in which to resolve issues of use of military force against terrorism.

In honor of those who have served our country, and in recognition of the importance of their service and of the impact of war on them and on their families and loved ones, we’re asking you to contact lawmakers and demand that the power to determine a military action be taken back from the President, and reinstated where it belongs, in the Congress and in the hands of the American people.

ACTION: Ask MOCs to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Using email contacts below, send your message of support on this important issue. If emailing, feel free to adapt your message to include your personal thoughts on war and its damaging effects. It is also fine to call MOC offices and leave voicemail instead, if desired; in your message mention your name and city/zip so that staff can identify you when they log the call.

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal: DC - 202-225-3106 Seattle - 206-674-0040; email link: https://jayapal.house.gov/contact/email/

  • Rep. Adam Smith: DC - 202-225-8901 Renton - 425-793-5180; email link: https://adamsmith.house.gov/contact

  • Senator Patty Murray: DC - 202-224-2621 Seattle - 206-553-5545; email link: https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/mobile/contactme

  • Senator Maria Cantwell: DC - 202-224-3441 Seattle - 206-220-6400; email link: https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form

SCRIPT/SUGGESTED THOUGHTS:

“Hello, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. It’s time to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Congress needs to take back congressional oversight over waging war by our country.

[IF HOUSE MOC] Please support the amendment to the 2020 Defense Appropriations Bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee that would sunset the 2001 AUMF.”

[IF SENATE MOC] Please review the House amendment to the 2020 Defense Appropriations Bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee that would sunset the 2001 AUMF, and take steps to do similar action in the Senate.

Thank you.“

Background:

“House panel approves language revoking 2001 authority as Iran tensions spike” - https://thehill.com/policy/defense/444834-house-panel-approves-language-revoking-2001-war-authority-as-iran-tensions

“17 Years, 41 Military Operations, 19 Countries. It’s time to repeal the 2001 AUMF” - https://rightsanddissent.org/news/repeal-2001-aumf/

UPCOMING EVENTS

SPECIAL EVENT: MOC Office Hours — Q&A with Congressman Adam Smith staff

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM PDT

Beacon Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library, 2821 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Please join us for a question and answer session with Congressman Adam Smith’s office. Sarah Servin, Congressman Smith’s district director, will join us to discuss issues important to YOU. While Seattle Indivisible meetings with Congressional staff typically occur during the day, Congressman Smith’s office wanted to make themselves more available to those unable to attend during normal work hours. Rep. Smith's staff is holding a special evening office hour for us this week.

https://www.facebook.com/events/383362022391680/

Fully Accessible Location: https://www.spl.org/hours-and-locations/beacon-hill-branch

SEATTLE INDIVISIBLE MEETING

Tuesday, June 4, 7:00 pm – Seattle Indivisible Meeting (1st & 3rd Tuesdays):

At the Washington State Labor Council in the Central District, 321 16th Avenue. This meeting venue is wheelchair-accessible, and can be reached by King County Metro buses 7, 14, 27, and 106, and the First Hill Streetcar.