Obama's AUMF is Actually a DUMF

Photo by Lawrence Jackson/White House

obama laughing

Right now, everyone in the media, led on by anti-war Democrats and the Obama administration itself, is reporting that Obama has sought an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to fight ISIS. It is being reported as a bold move for the administration and a shift towards a more hawkish approach to foreign policy in general and with respect to ISIS in particular. This impression has been aided by anxious hippies who would oppose war under any circumstances who are condemning Obama’s request – see for instance this editorial at CNN and this series of handwringing statements from Democrats.


The impression that the press is trying to create is that Obama is bucking the extremist anti-war faction in his base and proposing a bold and muscular military posture.

This is, to put it lightly, utter bullcrap.

Recall that Obama has asserted during the course of this entire fight that he has the authority to carry out ground operations against ISIS virtually anywhere under the AUMF passed in 2002 and signed by Bush. Despite some token grumbling among members of his caucus, literally no Democrats have done anything to prevent him from acting wherever and however he wants militarily under this AUMF.

The AUMF proposed by Obama, on the other hand, explicitly repeals the 2002 AUMF and furthermore explicitly states that ground troops cannot be used, as they can be used (and have been used by Obama) under the 2002 AUMF. It furthermore contains an automatic three year expiration, which is not contained in the currently active AUMF.

In other words, this is not even fairly called an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It’s actually a Deauthorization for the Use of Military Force. Republicans in Congress should start referring to it as the DUMF (pronounced DUMB-f)  so that people will be reminded what sort of person would be convinced that Obama takes confronting the threat of ISIS seriously.



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