Yesterday, President Obama opened up a new front in the endless war by launching airstrikes in Libya.
And, like so many times before, he invoked the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force — the law behind the "War on Terror"— to do it. It's the law that's given two presidents a blank check to justify military action around the world. In January 2017, it will give our next president the power to wage war anytime, anywhere.
It's long past time for Congress to take its power back, to debate and vote each and every war the U.S. undertakes, in keeping with the 1973 War Powers Act. But for the past 15 years, Congress has let the president act unchecked.
When Congress has to vote on wars — when their constituents can hold them accountable for war-making — the U.S. is less likely to pursue military action. And we've seen what happens when the president can act alone: special ops in 150 countries, drone strikes with unthinkable civilian deaths, warrantless surveillance of Americans, and indefinite detention in Guantanamo Bay.
I hope you'll act today to ensure that whoever is elected to Congress will take back their constitutionally-mandated power to debate and vote on every U.S. war.