Rep. McCaul Slams House NDAA, Claims It Would ‘Illegalize’ Terror War

Bill would sunset 2001, 2002 AUMFs, intending to replace them

The ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) spent Sunday condemning the $733 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed last week as “dangerous” and “reckless.”

McCaul’s dissatisfaction with amendments that limit overseas warfare was apparent during debate on the NDAA, and on Sunday his particular focus was on two amendments that would sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

The 2002 AUMF covered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Proponents of eliminating this provision note that Saddam is long dead, and Iraq is an ally, which means it is obsolete.

The 2001 AUMF was a bigger issue, as the argument for sun-setting it is that the language has been stretched to cover almost any war. The debate on the amendment made clear this was intended to be replaced by Congress before it expires outright.

Rep. McCaul, however, claims that the cancellation of a bill that can cover myriad US wars would “illegalize” a number of US wars, and effectively the entire global war on terror. That is true, if a new AUMF wasn’t adopted, but there was time provided for a creation of a new one.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of