Letters to the Editor: Why has America faced 20 years of endless war? A spineless Congress

The Capitol is seen in Washington on Nov. 16, 2020.
(Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

To the editor: I agree with your nuanced editorial calling for repeal of the 2002 Authorization of the Use of Military Force in Iraq (AUMF), and cautioning against replacing it with another AUMF that could be abused to justify endless wars.

Congress and our fellow Americans should be questioning our engagement in endless wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have led to the greatest refugee crisis since WWII. How have our military interventions helped the average American who is struggling to pay rent and put food on the table?

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and others in Congress have called for reducing the military budget and increasing spending for infrastructure, healthcare, education and housing. These are all much better uses of taxpayer funds than endless and futile wars.


Anthony Manousos, Pasadena


To the editor: How were we able to sustain 20 years of war? Multiple troop deployments and a spineless Congress that hid behind the AUMF. Throughout three presidential administrations, Congress has failed in one of its most sacred duties — to protect this country and the lives of our troops.

After I once complained about my son’s sixth deployment, someone thoughtlessly responded: “Well, he wanted to go, didn’t he?” Yes, and the truth is that he and most of his other buddies would agree to redeploy as often as they were asked to, regardless of their physical and mental state. That is what they were trained to do. But the founders never meant for one man, the president, to have complete authority to send these troops to war. They wisely gave Congress the power to authorize and fund war to limit the president’s power.

We don’t need the AUMF to protect us. Just get rid of it.

Pat Alviso, Long Beach


To the editor: Now is the ideal time for a bipartisan effort by Congress to reassert its constitutional authority to declare war. The previous president’s abuse of authority is fresh in the memory of Democrats and concern about the current president is in the minds of Republicans.

While we rightly mourn the deaths of the thousands of American soldiers who have lost their lives in military actions post 9/11, they are a tiny fraction of the total deaths. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are also estimated to have lost their lives. At the same time, millions of people have been displaced, creating refugee crises around the world. This does not make our country or the world safer.

Elizabeth Wall Ralston, Los Angeles


To the editor: It is high time that Congress reassert its constitutional responsibility to declare war by repealing the 2002 AUMF. The founders were deeply concerned about unchecked presidential power. As John Wilson, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, put it so clearly: The “important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large.”


For almost 20 years, the 2002 AUMF has subverted the separation of powers and allowed Congress to avoid accountability by giving three different presidents blank checks to initiate wars, without crucial congressional and public debate.

The 2002 AUMF is unconstitutional, outdated and should be repealed.

Stephen F. Rohde, Los Angeles