|President Bush Signs Military Force Resolution |
President Bush Signs Military Force Resolution
President Bush September 18 signed a joint congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Source: Washington File (EUR303), U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., September 19, 2001.
In a statement released after signing Senate Joint Resolution 23, the President said it is "necessary and appropriate" that the United States protect and defend itself, both domestically and abroad.
"Our whole nation is unalterably committed to a direct, forceful, and comprehensive response to these terrorist attacks and the scourge of terrorism directed against the United States and its interests," Bush said.
The president qualified his signing of the measure, entitled "Authorization for Use of Military Force," by specifically noting that he maintains the longstanding executive branch position favoring the constitutional authority of the president to use force, and therefore regarding the War Powers Resolution as unconstitutional. The latter measure, passed in 1973 during U.S. involvement in Vietnam, limits the president's authority to use military force in specific instances, and requires congressional authorization to go further.
Below is the text of Bush's statement: (begin text)
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, September 18, 2001
Statement by the President
Today I am signing Senate Joint Resolution 23, the "Authorization for Use of Military Force."
On September 11, 2001, terrorists committed treacherous and horrific acts of violence against innocent Americans and individuals from other countries. Civilized nations and people around the world have expressed outrage at, and have unequivocally condemned, these attacks. Those who plan, authorize, commit, or aid terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests -- including those who harbor terrorists -- threaten the national security of the United States. It is, therefore, necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to defend itself and protect United States citizens both at home and abroad.
In adopting this resolution in response to the latest terrorist acts committed against the United States and the continuing threat to the United States and its citizens from terrorist activities, both Houses of Congress have acted wisely, decisively, and in the finest traditions of our country. I thank the leadership of both Houses for their role in expeditiously passing this historic joint resolution. I have had the benefit of meaningful consultations with members of the Congress since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and I will continue to consult closely with them as our Nation responds to this threat to our peace and security.
Senate Joint Resolution 23 recognizes the seriousness of the terrorist threat to our Nation and the authority of the President under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States. In signing this resolution, I maintain the longstanding position of the executive branch regarding the President's constitutional authority to use force, including the Armed Forces of the United States and regarding the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution.
Our whole Nation is unalterably committed to a direct, forceful, and comprehensive response to these terrorist attacks and the scourge of terrorism directed against the United States and its interests.
George W. Bush
The White House, September 18, 2001.