Monday June 4, 2018
In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed into law a 60-word sentence that set the stage for perpetual war. This 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) contains no time limits, no geographic constraints, and no exit strategy. It has effectively become a blank check for any president, at any time, to wage war without congressional consent or oversight.That is a portion of the cogent analysis Reps Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) offer in their Wednesday The Hill editorial explaining why they support repealing the AUMF that has facilitated members of the United States Congress abdicating their authority over US wars and three presidents exercising unrestrained use of military force abroad. The editorial came the day after Lee and Amash hosted a joint hearing of the United States House of Representatives Progressive Caucus and Liberty Caucus focused on exploring repealing the AUMF.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the 2001 AUMF has been cited as statutory authority for unclassified military or related actions at least 41 times in 18 countries. Both President George W. Bush and President Obama used it, and now President Trump is following the same path.
The United States House of Representatives approved on Tuesday, by a vote of 412 to three, the INTERDICT Act (HR 2142) that ramps up US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) efforts to interdict fentanyl and other substances related to illegal drugs upon entry to America. While House members are sure to tell their constituents that they did something this week to reduce deaths from drug overdoses, in reality they have voted, as Congress members have for decades in the US government’s war on drugs, for yet another bill that spends millions to abuse individual rights and increase dangers for drug users.
The stated focus of the INTERDICT Act is on providing CBP with additional chemical screening devices to be used to “interdict fentanyl, other synthetic opioids, and other narcotics and psychoactive substances that are illegally imported into the United States, including such substances that are imported through the mail or by an express consignment operator or carrier” and ensuring that there are sufficient CBP employees available to interpret the testing results.