Remember, This Is War

The United States constitution is very deliberate about the separation of powers; a perfect example of this is the ability to go to war. Though the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the legislature is charged with funding those forces and declaring war. This separation is what led to the passage of the Authorization for the Use of Force after September 11th, giving the President the authority necessary to go after those who had attacked the country, wherever they hid around the world. Amazingly, that authorization is still being used today as the legal authority for our military actions against the Islamic State.

The extended life of this authorization has prevented true debate and accountability for the continued conflicts we have been engaged in over the past several years.  Of the 100 senators who voted to authorize the use of force, only 26 are still in office. That means that 74 current senators could claim to have little direct responsibility for the military actions being undertaken by our military.

Thankfully, that is about to change. It has been reported that the President is drafting a new Authorization to be taken up for debate by the legislature. This provides an excellent opportunity for us to ensure a new level of accountability and reflection by our nation’s leaders.

Below you will find a sample letter; below that is a list of every senator, which is linked to their contact pages. My hope is that if you agree with the sentiment of the letter you will take the time to send it to your senator. Please change the wording in whatever way you see fit. The goal of this is not necessarily to defeat the Authorization, it is simply to ensure that no senator can claim they were not aware of the consequences of such a vote by having the name of every service member who has been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq read during the debate over the Authorization. After 14 years of war, we now know the consequences of going to war. It is time the government takes responsibility for those consequences.

Dear Senator,

Over the past several years I have grown concerned with the way our military continues to be committed to actions around the world without a complete debate of the implications or real accountability from our national leadership. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed just three days after September 11th 2001, has now been used to engage in conflict for nearly fourteen years in numerous countries around the world. These conflicts have resulted in the deaths of thousands of service members. Our current involvement in Operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State has already led to the deaths of three service members despite assurances that the country is not at war.

Our nation must have the ability to use military force against our enemies. However, in doing so, we must remember the consequences of such actions on the lives of thousands of individuals and families around the country. Daughters lost, fathers sacrificed, husbands gone, lives never to be the same. Beyond the thousands killed in the fighting, there are hundreds of thousands of others for whom the fight has not ended. Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and countless other battlefield wounds will continue to follow those who volunteered to serve for the rest of their lives.

The first and most important honor we can give to those who have sacrificed is to ensure their memory informs our future decisions. A new Authorization for the Use of Force is currently being drafted for our fight against the Islamic State. I ask that in the debate over this authorization on the Senate floor, a delay be taken long enough for the reading of the names of every service member who has died in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. This will not represent all who have sacrificed but it will serve as a reminder of the cost of going to war. However you choose to vote on this Authorization, I ask that you take the time to ensure all members of the Senate, including yourself, are fully aware of the consequences for people you have never met, consequences which will last long after your term in office.

Respectfully,

*Note: Some newly elected senators do not yet have contact pages, their phone numbers are provided.
Alabama

Jeff Sessions

Richard Shelby

Alaska

Lisa Murkowski 

Daniel Sullivan 202-224-3004

 Arizona

Jeff Flake

John McCain

 Arkansas

John Boozman

Tom Cotton

 California

Barbara Boxer 

Dianne Feinstein

Colorado

Michael Bennet

Cory Gardner 202-224-5941

 Connecticut

Richard Blumenthal

Christopher Murphy

Delaware

Thomas Carper

Christopher Coons

 Florida

Bill Nelson

Marco Rubio

Georgia

Johnny Isakson

David Perdue 202-224-3521

Hawaii

Mazie Hirono

Brian Schatz

Idaho

Mike Crapo

James Risch

Illinois

Richard Durbin 

Mark Kirk

Indiana

Danial Coats

Joe Donnelly

Iowa

Joni Ernst 202-224-3254

Chuck Grassley

Kansas

Jerry Moran

Pat Roberts

Kentucky

Mitch McConnell

Rand Paul

Louisiana

Bill Cassidy 202-224-5824

David Vitter

Maine

Susan Collins

Angus King 

Maryland

Benjamin Cardin

Barbara Mikulski

Massachusetts

Edward Markey

Elizabeth Warren 

Michigan

Gary Peters 202-224-6221

Debbie Stabenow 

Minnesota

Al Franken 

Amy Klobuchar

Mississippi

Thad Cochran 

Roger Wicker 

Missouri

Roy Blunt 

Claire McCaskill 

Montana

Steve Daines 202-224-2651

Jon Tester 

Nebraska

Deb Fischer 

Ben Sasse 202-224-4224

Nevada

Dean Heller 

Harry Reid 

New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte 

Jeanne Shaheen 

New Jersey

Cory Booker 

Robert Menendez 

New Mexico

Martin Heinrich 

Tom Udall 

New York

Kirsten Gillibrand 

Charles Schumer 

North Carolina

Richard Burr 

Thom Tillits 202-224-6342

North Dakota

Heidi Heitkamp 

John Hoeven 

Ohio

Sherrod Brown 

Rob Portman 

Oklahoma

James Inhofe 

James Lankford 202-224-5754

Oregon

Jeff Merkley 

Ron Wyden 

Pennsylvania

Robert Casey 

Patrick Toomey 

Rhode Island

Jack Reed 

Sheldon Whitehouse 

South Carolina

Lindsey Graham 

Tim Scott 

South Dakota

Mike Rounds 202-224-5842

John Thune

Tennessee

Lamar Alexander 

Bob Corker 

Texas

John Cornyn 

Ted Cruz 

Utah

Orrin Hatch 

Mike Lee 

Vermont

Patrick Leahy 

Bernard Sanders 

Virginia

Tim Kaine 

Mark Warner 

Washington

Maria Cantwell 

Patty Murray 

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito 202-224-6472

Joe Manchin 

Wisconsin

Tammy Baldwin 

Ron Johnson 

Wyoming

John  Barrasso 

Michael Enzi 

2 thoughts on “Remember, This Is War”

  1. Whomever drafted this document did a tremendous deed for our country
    However I would have made note that whatever Senator or Representative opposes the new way of declaring ‘War’ confirms that they are in favor of our service people dying for those lining their pockets with gold!

    Like

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