USA: proposal to give Trump new use of military force powers condemned

Donald Trump has already been bellicose about US military attacks and expressed little concern over civilian casualties of US air strikes © Alex Wong/Getty Images

‘The last thing President Trump needs is a renewed open-ended authorisation that gives him a blank cheque to perpetuate endless war’ - Daphne Eviatar

In response to moves to introduce legislation that would give the US president Donald Trump new open-ended powers to authorise the use of military force (AUMF) around the world, Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Director, said:

“The last thing President Trump needs is a renewed open-ended authorisation that gives him a blank cheque to perpetuate endless war, which is exactly what this proposed bill represents.  

“Since 2001, the US has been operating as if the world is a permanent battlefield, at the costs of thousands of lives, including large numbers of civilians. 

“Despite this, President Trump has reportedly expanded authority for air strikes outside of war zones, and expressed shockingly callous disregard for civilian casualties. 

“Not only should this bill move no farther, the original AUMFs must also be repealed. 

“Their seemingly limitless interpretation has led to a widespread violation of human rights, from indefinite detention and torture to unlawful drone strikes.

“If Congress does not get this right, it will repeat the mistakes of the original authorisation and bear responsibility for further abuses.”

New use of force legislation is being championed by the Republican senator Bob Corker, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He recently announced that he plans to introduce new legislation that would authorise the US government to wage war against al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and various “associated forces”. The legislation is designed to replace earlier “war on terror” authorisations from 2001 and 2002. 
 

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