Letter to the editor: Urgent legislation

To the editor:

When airplanes came crashing into the World Trade Center in 2001, Americans were traumatized. In response, Congress granted the executive branch new Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). This resolution enabled President George W. Bush to enter into armed conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, where we are still embroiled today.

Whereas the United States Constitution clearly states that only Congress has the power to declare war, this broad authorization, given at a time of panic and hysteria, is still on the books. It has been used by all subsequent presidents to initiate military action throughout the world, under the banner of fighting terrorism.

In that Sept. 14, 2001, vote of 420-1, Barbara Lee was the lone voice in the House of Representatives to vote against this resolution. In this wrenching decision, facing an atmosphere of rage and revenge, she quoted the Rev. Nathan Baxter’s prayer “that we not become the evil that we deplore.”

While Lee’s vote was perceived as the end of her political career, she is still in the House and has recently proposed new legislation that will finally repeal AUMF (HR 1274 and HR 2456). Now joined by many other legislators in the House and the Senate, this will restore to Congress its constitutional authority and prevent the executive branch from engaging in a war without Congress’ consent.

In light of dangerously escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, the passage of this legislation could not be more urgent.

Muriel Cohan,



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