Quakers have long been guided by a deep motivation for a world free of war. We continue to seek ways to end violent conflicts and create a world where nations cooperate. In the words of Friends Committee on National Legislation, “we make a case for why our government needs to employ peaceful means for peaceful ends, seek solutions that protect the most vulnerable among us, strengthen and advance the rule of law and replace fear-driven militarism with restorative approaches that heal.”
Our fundamental belief in nonviolence has led us to call for the repeal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Our reasoning is straightforward:
1. Passed three days after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, AUMF gives the president sweeping authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against any nation, organization, or person involved in those attacks. Now, 13 years later, the AUMF law has been invoked by Presidents Bush and Obama at least 30 times1 to justify their activities, from overseas wars, to detentions without due process, to warrantless wiretapping at home. The law is so broad and unrestrained by geography that it has been used to carry out military operations in at least ten countries since 2001 according to the Congressional Research Service2.
2. The AUMF distorts the constitutional checks and balances of the American Government. It is unnecessary to concentrate this authority in the presidency since Congress can act quickly if the United States is under threat or attacked. The serious decision to use military force should be deliberated upon and voted on by our representatives in order to uphold democracy and provide prudent oversight of life and death decisions.
Therefore, we believe that the AUMF should be revoked as a step toward developing a more effective and less violent way of containing threats to the shared security of all.
ACTION TAKEN ON THE ABOVE MINUTE
The U.S. Senate and House are expected to vote on the Military Appropriations Bill in August or September. North Pacific Yearly Meeting will distribute the Minute on Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force to U.S. Senators and Representatives from ID, MT, OR and WA. The Yearly Meeting encourages Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups to distribute the minute to their members of Congress and to local media, and to report back to the North Pacific Yearly Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee by October.
Approved by North Pacific Yearly Meeting at its Annual Session, July 27, 2014.
1“The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: Background in Brief,” Memorandum from Congressional Research Service. https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/aumf-071013.pdf. Retrieved March 15, 2014.