News Release

Key Author of War Powers: ISIL AUMF Could be Worse than Vietnam Authorization


PAUL FINDLEY, findley1 at
Available for a limited number of interviews, Findley was a member of Congress from Illinois for 22 years and was a principal author of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. He resides in Jacksonville, Ill. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him. He said today: “If I were still in Congress I would oppose any resolution that authorizes further involvement there. Our forces have been killing Muslims by the tens of thousands for the past decade in the misleading label of anti-terrorism. Bombing kills innocent people whose friends are furious over these killings.

“It has greater potential for trouble than the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964 that I voted for, only after getting Republican Leader Gerald Ford’s assurance that  it was not the equivalent of a declaration of war [on Vietnam].

“Congress should have used its responsibility to call a halt long ago to war measures. Instead of such measures, I believe in enforcing world law through international institutions. The current war over religion in the Middle East could make the Vietnam War look like a SundaySchool picnic.” Findley was recently profiled in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier. His books include They Dare to Speak Out.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at
Boyle, who has worked with Findley for years, is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “Of course Obama is wrong to state that existing statutes give him any authority he needs to wage war against ISIL.

“In the cover letter, Obama would use special forces, which is how the Vietnam War started. Once you have ground troops over there in combat, there is really no way to prevent escalation or to call it off and he knows it. What happens when one of our soldiers is captured and killed by ISIL? What kind of jingoism will that unleash and what escalations will that facilitate?

“He only talks about ‘tailoring’ the 2001 AUMF. It should be repealed, not ‘tailored.’

“This Resolution sets a dangerous precedent. Up until the 2001 AUMF, all War Powers Resolutions had been adopted with respect to a State, not alleged terrorist organizations that can operate anywhere in the world as defined by the President. This Resolution continues in that dangerous path, basically substituting ISIS for al-Qaeda and continuing to wage a global war on terrorism. So if Obama cannot plausibly invoke the 2001 Resolution because there is no connection to 9/11 as required therein, he will simply invoke this Resolution. Between the two resolutions you can have the U.S. government waging war all over the world.

“The Resolution states: ‘The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the USAF in enduring offensive ground combat operations.’ In other words, it does indeed authorize the use of USAF in offensive ground combat operations. ‘Enduring’ is in the eye of the beholder. Three years from now could have another 100,000 troops back in Iraq and maybe Syria too.

“Congress cannot lawfully give him authorization to use military force against Syria. That requires the permission of the Syrian government, which they do not have, or else the authorization of the Security Council, which they do not have. As for Iraq, [Iraqi Prime Minister Haider] al-Abadi is a puppet government that Obama installed and therefore has no authority under international law to consent to U.S. military operations in Iraq. It is like in Vietnam when we had our puppets there asking us to conduct military operations there.”