Who is Barbara Lee? Democrat Lawmaker Pushes to Pass Resolution to Limit White House's Ability to Launch Wars

US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, anti-war groups and other lawmakers are mobilizing support for a resolution that will limit the White House's ability to wage war.

This comes as this week 20-years ago, the Congress voted to authorize the US invasion of Iraq. In a signing ceremony, the then US president George W. Bush had said either the Iraqi regime will give up its "weapons of mass destruction", or, for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a global coalition to disarm that regime.

However, the US-led-coalition that stormed into Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein's government never found the weapons of mass destruction. The invasion went on for nearly a decade and claimed the lives of more than 4,000 US soldiers.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows the US president to attack those in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It has been used to initiate military activity around the globe. In other words, the AUMF gives the president permission to wage military action, without the need for Congress' approval, as laid out in the specific terms set out in the measure.

Iraq War
The U.S. led-coalition stormed into Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein’s government. Pexels

Four administrations have used the AUMF to launch military campaigns and strikes across the Middle East. The Obama administration used it to fight the Islamic State group. The justification provided was that the Islamic State group began as an offshoot brand of al-Qaida that operated out of Iraq. The AUMF was also used by the Donald Trump administration to assassinate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Repeal Pushed by Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee, who is serving as the US representative for California's 13th congressional district, has been pushing for the repeal of the AUMF for quite some time. She is the only member of Congress who voted against both AUMFs. Lee said that since 2001, more lawmakers have learned not to give any president the authority to wage war, for whatever reason, in perpetuity. She believes it's very unfortunate that they have had to go 21-years in the fight to repeal these authorizations that should have never happened. The lawmaker shared that they are now in the Senate with Senator Tim Kaine working, but they have to find 10 Republicans.

Lee noted that 87% of their colleagues have never had a say on the authorization to use military force as their constituents have not had a say either. The politician described Congress' failure to debate and vote, on U.S wars "a betrayal of the American people and our constitutional duty." Lee believes the AUMF no longer serves any operational purpose. She called it outdated and dangerous. The lawmaker said leaving it in place allows any president to use it for military action that Congress never intended to authorize.