Championing Responsible National Security Policy

19 Years After 9/11: Still At War with an Outdated Authorization

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

This op-ed first appeared in DefenseNews.

We are on the cusp of the 18th commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks. Those of us who lived through that chilling day will doubtlessly have thoughts about where we were, who we were with and what we did. I was a 23-year-old television reporter, six weeks into a new job at the ABC station in Columbia, Missouri, covering the local response. Six years later, I commemorated the anniversary of the attacks from Iraq, where I was then serving as a Marine tank platoon commander after putting my journalism career on hold.

It goes without saying that we should remember that tragic day and continue to honor those who were lost. We should also remember the young men and women we continue to send overseas to fight in response to the atrocities perpetrated against us that day.

American troops, an increasing number of whom have no memories of that day, are deployed throughout Central Asia and the Middle East based on the two authorizations for the use of military force passed by the 107th Congress in 2001 and 2002. These laws have been interpreted by three presidents to justify sending the military to at least 18 countries since their passage. In that time, 7,052 American troops have been killed, with another 53,244 wounded. Coalition forces and contractor employees have sustained high casualties as well.

Read the rest of the op-ed at DefenseNews.