Washington, DC — February 11, 2014 — In response to President Obama this morning sending proposed language for an Authorization of use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS to Congress, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its policy and political director, Paul Kawika Martin:
After six months of Congress ignoring its constitutional duty, finally President Obama sent language to Congress to authorize war for the next three years (an Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF) against ISIS. It’s about time that Congress fully debate the U.S. war being waged in the Middle East. Peace Action agrees with past statements of the president that there is no military solution to ISIS and so we oppose any AUMF.
While we oppose any AUMF because the war is not working, we encourage members of Congress to push for tighter restrictions than what President Obama proposes should an AUMF move forward. Limitations could include: a one-year sunset clause; geographic limitations; definitively no combat troops on the ground; repealing both former AUMFs, not just one; and robust reporting requirements including civilian deaths.
The president’s proposed AUMF does one good thing: it repeals the outdated and ill-advised Iraq AUMF. It fails, however, to repeal the 2001 AUMF which has been used as a blanket “war on terrorism.” Additionally, it uses the legally ambiguous language of no “enduring offensive ground operations” rather than expressly forbidding combat troops.
As it stands, it doesn’t seem that the current military strategy is working against ISIS. Instead the international community should:
*Reduce civilian deaths, casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure that tends to recruit financial support and foreign fighters for ISIS.
*Weaken ISIS by reducing its income (oil, antiquities, sex trade), freezing assets, reducing military resources (weapons, training and foreign fighters).
*Support political solutions to the Syrian civil war and Iraqi ethnic tensions.
*Increase humanitarian aid and refugee support.
*Support actions that will help prevent extremism in the first place: education, religious tolerance, poverty alleviation and justice.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika