2001 September 14

War on Terror: Congress Passes Joint Resolution on Use of Force


Three days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Congress passed the Joint Resolution on Use of Force, authorizing President George W. Bush to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons . . .” President Bush signed the authorization on September 18. Rep. Barbara Lee (D–California) cast the lone “no” vote.

The immediate result of the Resolution was the American invasion of Afghanistan (“Operation Enduring Freedom”), which began on October 7th. The most insidious part of the resolution, however, was that the Bush administration used the resolution to undertake non-military force actions, such as surveillance, in the war on terrorism.

This resolution is not to be confused with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, passed by Congress on October 16, 2002, which was the basis for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Read a short history and analysis of the Joint Resolution: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22357.pdf

Learn more: Susan Herman, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (2011)

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