Kaine Calls for Senate to Move on 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said on March 16 that the Senate needs to move to address the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Kaine made these comments to The Epoch Times just hours after the Senate voted to move toward a final vote a bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. The first allowed the United States to enter the Gulf War, where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces were driven out of Kuwait. And the second allowed the U.S. military to go into Iraq following reports that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The United States captured him in 2003 and he was executed in Iraq in 2006.

“Here’s what we need to do. Ben Cardin, Chris Murphy, Rand Paul, when we were in the Foreign Relations hearing last week said, ‘Hey, look, as soon as this one’s done, we’ve got to get to 2001,’” Kaine said.

Democratic Sens. Cardin and Murphy are from Maryland and Connecticut, respectively, while Republican Paul is from Kentucky.

Kaine explained that the 2001 AUMF is not subject to the bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs due to varying opinions from lawmakers about the 2001 authorization, which goes after those that attacked the United States on 9/11.

“Some would repeal it. Some would announce you were repealing it in six months and hope [to] put pressure on to revise it; some feel it needs to be revised,” he said.

“But we have been focused on ‘do this first,’ then turn our attention to it,” Kaine continued. “I think virtually everybody agrees at a minimum it should be revised. But there’s different opinions about [it]—from full repeal to significant revision. And we just have to kind of do the hard work [on] hammering out a position.”

When it comes to what would be in a revised 2001 AUMF, he said it “depends on who you ask,” but his position is “a more precise definition of the enemy” in that the initial definition is “vague.”

Kaine noted that the AUMF has been used against forces that weren’t behind 9/11. He said that while those groups may be adversaries of the United States, the AUMF has been used “beyond what was originally intended.”

The 2001 AUMF states “[t]hat the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

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