RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD
UNITED STATES SENATE
WASHINGTON, DC 20510- 4904
March 18, 2002
Bruce A. Eggum
N7993 Huntington Rd
Gresham, WI 54128-8979
Thank you for contacting me regarding proposals to expand the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns. While I believe that the heinous acts perpetrated against the United States on September 11, 2001, justify U.S. and allied military action, I believe that these actions, if they are to be sustained or expanded, must be properly authorized by Congress.
Before President Bush ordered U.S. military troops into Afghanistan, he took a constitutionally-mandated step that his most recent predecessors ignored and asked for the consent of Congress. The result, S. J. Res 23, was adopted by Congress and signed into law (P.L. 107-40) on September 18, 2001. In passing this legislation, we were not responding to a distant threat to international peace and security; we were responding to a direct attack on the United States. This response is a defensive action to protect the lives of Americans here at home. This will likely be a long struggle that will bring hardship and loss, but I believe also it will bring real progress in the war against terrorism.
The joint resolution provides the President with statutory authorization to use all necessary and appropriate force against those responsible for the September 11th attacks, including authority to prevent future attacks by responding with force against any nations, organizations or persons responsible for planning, authorizing, aiding or harboring the terrorists who were respoi~ble for the September 11th attacks. It does not, however, grant the President unlimited military authority.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush cited Iraq, Iran and North Korea as countries that are ‘on notice’ for the next phase in the war against terrorism. The President was absolutely right to remind the American public that these countries present serious threats to our national security, particularly with regard to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Given the global reach of the terrorism threat, our armed forces may indeed need to broaden their operations.
However, under our Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, the President and Congress must first agree on any such expanded military engagements. Unfortunately, the nature of the
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President’s “axis of evil” remarks suggested a one-size-fits-all strategy for addressing diverse threats around the world. I am not sure that we have a viable plan to match the expectations that he created. When the stakes are
this high and the issues this urgent, the U.S. cannot afford to adopt a blunt-instrument approach across the board. This Administration has done a good job consulting Congress, working multilaterally, and avoiding unrealistic
expectations with regard to the threat posed by Afghanistan. They should not abandon these methods now.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will continue to monitor and evaluate events as they unfold. As part of this process, I hope you continue to keep me informed of your thoughts about terrorism or any other matter of concern to you. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator