The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that would force Congress to vote again on the Authorisation for Use of Military Force (AUMF) – a bill first passed in 2001 that gives wide-ranging powers to the President to carry out military operations abroad without proper oversight from lawmakers.
The AUMF was originally passed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and over the years it has been used as the basis for abduction, rendition, torture and detention in places like Guantanamo Bay as well as drone strikes in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.
Commenting, Director of international rights group Reprieve, Maya Foa said:
“After sixteen years in which the world has got no safer, it is right that Congress looks again at this almost unlimited power given to the President in the wake of the tragedy of September 11. The checks and balances have been circumvented for too long. President Trump has dramatically increased assassinations by drone strike in Yemen, authorized raids that killed civilians, and threatened to send more innocent men to torture camps like Guantanamo Bay. The world will be watching to see if lawmakers can work across party divides to bring accountability back to the use of American military force.”