When 19 al-Qaeda terrorists (15 of which were from Saudi Arabia) attacked the United States of America on September 11th, 2001 and took thousands of American lives, we Americans were filled with sorrow and anger. Days later, the U.S. Congress passed their first Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) instead of a formal Declaration of War by Congress, as had always been done in the past and is required in Article 1 of the Constitution. In the passing of the 2001 AUMF, the Legislative Branch handed their Constitutional duty of declaring war over to the Executive Branch to deploy the U.S. military against those responsible for the 9–11 attacks and any “associated forces”.
The nebulous nature of the 2001 AUMF, and the following AUMF against Iraq in 2002, gave the Executive Branch the authority to wage war against whomever it wishes, and for however long. Eighteen years later, U.S. forces operating under these AUMFs are still in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and 73 other countries around the world. The United States has poured $6 trillion of its dollars and thousands of American lives into wars in the Middle East, wars that Congress has never declared. Past wars that America has fought have had a definite conclusion, an endgame — the defeat of an opposing military. Against the Global War on Terrorism, there is no path to victory — there is no opposing army to defeat. There is only a pervasive ideology that spreads from individual to individual, ignoring national origin, skin color, or uniform.