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ACTION ALERT: Don't Give Trump a Blank Check to Wage Worldwide War


April 16, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union & Jon Queally / Common Dreams

If you're concerned about President Trump's reckless threats and unlawful firing of missiles in Syria, just imagine what he would do if Congress hands him a license to go to war wherever he wants and against anyone he thinks is an enemy, anywhere in the world. That's exactly what Senator Bob Corker wants to do. A new Authorization for Use of Military Force would grant Trump an unconstitutional blank check for worldwide war.

https://action.aclu.org/petition/No-Blank-Check-for-War

ACTION ALERT: Don't Give Trump a
Blank Check to Wage Worldwide War

American Civil Liberties Union

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2018) -- If you're concerned about President Trump's reckless threats and unlawful firing of missiles in Syria, just imagine what he would do if Congress hands him a license to go to war wherever he wants and against anyone he thinks is an enemy, anywhere in the world. Basically, a blank check for worldwide war.

Sound terrifying? Well that's exactly what Senator Bob Corker wants to do. He's busily drafting a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that he will introduce in the next few days. We must make clear to Congress that we say no to worldwide war.

The checks and balances system ensures that going to war isn't easy -- that's why Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the fundamental right to declare war, and forbids unilateral use of force except in self-defense in response to an attack on this country. But under Corker's proposed AUMF, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to stopthe president from going to war.

If enacted, the new AUMF would cause fundamental damage to the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights for generations to come. The president should never be able to declare war with a tweet -- and then act on his own whim. But that's exactly what the new AUMF could allow.

In the days after 9/11, Congress enacted an AUMF authorizing the president to use military force in Afghanistan against the perpetrators of the attacks. The following year, another AUMF gave the president the greenlight to invade Iraq. Both laws have been used to justify military action in places and against groups far removed from their original intent -- and that's illegal.

This is urgent: Add your name now to stop Congress from passing Corker's catastrophic AUMF. With terrible violence and instability increasing throughout the world, the stakes are just too high to give Trump a blank check to wage war with the stroke of his pen -- or tweet.

Senator Bob Corker is preparing to introduce a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that would almost irretrievably give Trump the power to declare war around the world. This would be a fundamental abdication of Congress's constitutional responsibilities. It's critical that the president not act without an AUMF from Congress, but writing the president a blank check doesn't cut it.

In the wake of the illegal air strikes Trump launched against Syria, the proposed AUMF is downright dangerous. Bashar al-Assad's actions are an atrocity, but that doesn't excuse illegal strikes in response.

This country's system of checks and balances is set up to ensure that going to war isn't easy. For this reason, Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the fundamental right to declare war, and forbids unilateral use of force except in self-defense in response to an attack on this country.

But under the proposed AUMF, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to stop the president from going to war. It would give this president and all future presidents more power to send US troops to countries where we are not at war and against groups that the president alone decides are enemies.

In the days after 9/11, Congress enacted an AUMF authorizing the president to use military force in Afghanistan against the perpetrators of the attacks. The following year, another AUMF gave the president the greenlight to invade Iraq. Both laws have been used to justify military action in places and against groups far removed from their original intent -- and that's illegal.

We can't let Congress pass an AUMF that's even broader and more dangerous than its predecessors. With terrible violence and instability increasing throughout the world, the stakes are just too high to give Trump a blank check to wage war.

ACTION: Sign this petition telling Congress not to support this disastrous new AUMF.

Thanks for speaking up.



In 'Clear Violation of Domestic and
International Law,' as Trump Bombs Syria

"Strikes against the Syrian regime --
without congressional input or authorization --
shows a contempt for the US Constitution
and is without legal justification."

Jon Queally / Common Dreams

(April 13, 2018) -- Foreign policy experts, human rights groups, and anti-war activists all immediately and forcefully condemned the US bombardment of Syria on Friday night after reports indicated the "illegal" attack on the sovereign Middle East nation had begun and President Donald Trump announced in a national address that he had ordered the strikes alongside French and U.K. forces.

"Trump's decision to strike Syrian forces was impulsive, dangerous and a clear violation of domestic and international law," declared Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, in a statement. "This attack endangers US forces in the region, and invites escalation from Russia, Iran and Syria."

According to the Associated Press:
Loud explosions rocked Syria's capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after US President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Syrian air defenses responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain. Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and the lit-up sky turning orange for the blasts.


Watch Trump's address attempting to explain his decision -- despite receiving neither authorization from the US Congress nor sanction from the United Nations -- to bomb Syria: But the American Civil Liberties Union, without hesitation, joined those who said the attack on Syria was a clearly illegal act.

"This military action is illegal," declared Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, after the US-backed assault on Syria was announced.

"In the face of constitutional law barring hostile use of force without congressional authorization, and international law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense, President Trump has unilaterally launched strikes against a country that has not attacked us -- and without any authorization from Congress," Shamsi said. "Doing so violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force."

"By illegally bombing a sovereign nation,
President Trump has once again denied
the American people and Congress any
oversight or accountability in these endless wars."

-- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)


Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif) decried Trump's decision, saying the "strikes against the Syrian regime -- without congressional input or authorization -- shows a contempt for the U.S Constitution and is without legal justification."

Lee added, "This is not a dictatorship. Congress, not the president, is responsible for debating and authorizing military action. By illegally bombing a sovereign nation, President Trump has once again denied the American people and Congress any oversight or accountability in these endless wars."

At the same time, Reza Marashi, the research director for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), explained how "tremendously dangerous" the situation in Syria remains and warned that Trump risks "throwing fuel on the regional fire" with strikes that could have severe consequences.

"Given that Iranian and Russian forces are closely embedded with Syrian government, there is a significant risk that any strikes will trigger retaliation and a bloodier, wider war with few discernible ways to deescalate the conflict," Marashi said.

As others have repeatedly done, he emphasized that a large reason "Syria is in ruins today is because nearly all actors have pursued military solutions instead of diplomacy aimed at halting the bloodshed. An eye-for-an-eye approach will not bring justice or peace to Syria, and there is no moral high ground for those who respond to abhorrent violence with more violence."

According to Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for Middle East North Africa at Amnesty International USA, the Syrian people "have already endured six years of devastating attacks, including chemical attacks, many of which amount to war crimes."

Anti-war activists further questioned how the bombings ordered by Trump on Friday night would do anything to actually end the conflict in Syria that has been ongoing since 2011:

Stephen Miles ✔ @SPMiles42
Literally not uttered once tonight by POTUS, SecDef or Joint Chiefs Chairman, how any of this will end the war in Syria.

Elizabeth #BlockHaspel @_ElizabethRB
I know we've already said this, but it's worth repeating:
Trump doesn't care about the people of Syria.
If he did, he wouldn't put them in greater risk of harm by escalating the war and bloodshed.
If he did, he wouldn't try to ban them from our shores.

Win Without War ✔ @WinWithoutWar
Tell Congress: Immediately convene to debate and vote on Trump's illegal escalation in #Syria.
https://buff.ly/2GWAp5q

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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