Hillary Clinton on 2001 AUMF #DemDebate

November 14th, 2015

During the November 14 Democratic Debate, Secretary Hillary Clinton was asked whether she would declare war on ISIS. Her answer, which invoked the 2001 AUMF, was muddled:

DICKERSON: A couple of days ago you were asked if you would declare war on ISIS and you said no. What would you say now?

CLINTON: Well, we have an authorization to use military force against terrorists. We passed it after 9/11.

The 2001 AUMF does not cover force against “terrorists.” It covers force against Al Qaeda. Clinton added that she would want to update the 2001 AUMF–not repeal it.

DICKERSON: And you think that covers all of this?

CLINTON: It certainly does cover it. I would like to see it updated.

At least she insists a new AUMF would have to be enacted.

DICKERSON: If you were in the Senate, would you be okay with the commander in chief doing that without it coming back to you?

CLINTON: No, it would have to go through the Congress, and I know the White House has actually been working with members of Congress. Maybe now we can get it moving again so that we can upgrade it so that it does include all the tools and everything in our arsenal that we can use to try to work with our allies and our friends, come up with better intelligence.

You know, it is difficult finding intelligence that is actionable in a lot of these places, but we have to keep trying. And we have to do more to prevent the flood of foreign fighters that have gone to Syria, especially the ones with western passports, that come back. So there’s a lot of work we need to do and I want to be sure what’s called the AUMF, has the authority that is needed going forward.