San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



In the fight against ISIS, the U.S. has conducted airstrikes, deployed forces, supported rebellions, trained nonstate actors, and used military funds in Iraq and Syria. This fight has raised questions regarding the validity of U.S. authority to use force against ISIS. Imperialists, comprising the U.S. president and a few congressmen, seek to fight ISIS and believe that the authority to use force against ISIS comes from the independent presidential executive powers and Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) in 2001 and 2002. Contrary to their legal conviction and justifications, imperialists are seeking a new AUMF from Congress to be able to fight ISIS. On the other hand, congressionalists, comprising the majority of congressmen, do not seek war with ISIS and believe that this fight is unauthorized, as the president has no independent executive powers in non-defensive wars and the scope of AUMFs 2001 and 2002 does not include ISIS. Moreover, congressionalists do not want to pass a new AUMF because the US has not suffered a large armed attack by ISIS, the war on terror has been proved counterproductive, and AUMFs 2001 and 2002 and military funds have been misinterpreted and misused in the past. This Article concludes that the U.S. does not need a new AUMF, because imperialists lack a convincing legal argument for the advocacy of imperial presidential powers or the expansive interpretation of previous AUMFs. Moreover, the fact that a new AUMF has not yet successfully passed, despite numerous calls, reflects the consensus among the majority of congressmen that the U.S. does not need a new AUMF or a new never-ending war.