This piece originally appeared on The Hill.
For too long, Congress has abdicated its constitutional duties to declare war. The most recent war authorizations — passed in 2001 and 2002 — have both been twisted beyond recognition and have been cited as justification for military operations in 14 different countries at least 37 times. It’s doubtful anyone who voted to hold those responsible for the 9/11 attacks ever imagined that authorization would be applied to justify combat operations in Niger.
A number of members of Congress have fought for years for a new authorization vote to debate our current wars and assess whether those wars are achieving those aims. Recent legislation proposed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) appears to finally be an opportunity for a real and meaningful debate. Unfortunately the bill, as currently written, is totally unacceptable and would only further erode Congress’s constitutional responsibility to declare war.
This effort, like many before it, seeks to increase flexibility to use force. Under the legislation Congress would furher outsource its duties to declare war to the executive and instead only have the ability to weigh in.