John McCain, Carl Levin, Lindsey Graham, Others, Mull Possible ‘Update’ to AUMF

President_George_W._Bush_address_to_the_nation_and_joint_session_of_Congress_Sept._20The September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), ostensibly a vehicle for the U.S. to go after the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC., turns out to have been a whole hell of a lot more than that nearly 12 years on. That simple joint resolution has been stretched very thin during the War on Terror. The original text gives the President permission to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” Fair enough (ish).

But since September, 2001, we’ve had 12 years of war in Afghanistan. The Bush administration also used the AUMF to justify Gitmo and still-unknown levels of NSA spying on Americans. Bush began the drone program cautiously (relatively speaking), and the Obama administration’s drone strikes have continued and dramatically increased the scope and scale of those attacks — branching out into strike in Yemen, Somalia, Mali, and elsewhere. In short, the AUMF has served as a sturdy pillar of support for the potentially endless and apparently geographically limitless War on Terror.

So, knowing that, it’s almost tempting to take talk of an “update” to the resolution as good news. Could it be any worse?

Sure could. Most of the folks wanting to fix AUMF are notoriously hawkish. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham being the most obvious — and alarming — examples of powerful folks who believe the president’s war powers are being forever constrained. Graham seems to miss no opportunity to clamor for more powers for the president. After the Boston Marathon bombing,he repeatedly demanded that surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be treated as an enemy combatant. Sen. Bob Corker is also touting the “update” AUMF line heavily. And has McCain met a warmaking power he doesn’t like, at least in the past 13 years?

Today it was reported that McCain, Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin, along with Graham and Corker, gathered for the initial planning stages of a potential new AUMF. On May 16 there will be a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on this matter.

Noted Politico, optimistically:

A new resolution could call for military action only against al Qaeda or affiliate groups, or organizations designated by Congress as terror backers, according to sources close to the talks. Obama would still be authorized to hold terror detainees, but there would be more congressional oversight of the U.S. struggle against such terror threats, a particularly sensitive issue in light of the recent Boston Marathon bombing.

The problem with messing with the AUMF has been pointed out by various sources in the last few months, including Antiwar’s Kelley B. Vlahos who wrote “Beware of Lawyers Bearing AUMF Fix” in April. Vlahos noted that various Senators, unnamed Obama sources, and the Brookings Institution are all repeating the line that the AUMF is “obsolete” and needs to be updated in order to explicitly authorize new foreign adventures against groups with –at best — tertiary ties to Al-Qaeda.  (Similar agenda, or just terrorists in general, the point is why have broad powers of war stifled by the need for a tie to 9/11?)

In March, Slate reminded us that Congress may be asking for new definitions of Obama’s war-fighting power in order to control it, but they have a laughable track record in that particular area. (See: a large chunk of the 20th century, the start of this one.)

The killing takeaway from the Politico article was also spotted by Empty Wheel, who noted the disturbing overlap between those who crafted the indefinite detainment portion of the 2012 NDAA,and those who think the AUMF isn’t strong enough.

Politico:

Some Democrats, for their part, worry that vocal Obama critics like [Sen. Rand] Paul and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — or dozens of House Republicans — would use such a debate to attack the president’s policy on all military and national security issues, not just terror-related topics.

“Can you imagine what Paul or Cruz would do with this?” said one top Democratic aide. “It could be a disaster. And it would be worse in the House.” [emphasis added]

There you have it. Nobody hankering to rewrite the rules of war should be trusted in this task, especially not these guys. The only thing to do with the AUMF is repeal it.

53 thoughts on “John McCain, Carl Levin, Lindsey Graham, Others, Mull Possible ‘Update’ to AUMF”

  1. It should be noted that Senator McCain, Lindsey Graham are well known opportunists, whom, if i were one of bereaved relative of any terrorist attack on Americans, I would ask not to mention it in their conspiracies for more powers or more points for their AIPAC karma, since they are globally known to be part of the problem, NOT solution to it.

  2. FYI: I attended the "Stand with Rand" Senate Judiciary committee meeting on targeted killing and drone laws. I did not take notes but Graham was against any restrictions on drone use. He even praised Obama for his drone policy. A number of others want the law updated so that they get a blank check to do what they want. This is not good people.

  3. Planet earth — A sports mentality

    Whether one believes in evolution or creation, earth most certainly is undergoing a moral evolution and our Empire from birth to downfall, from our nuke cremations in Japan to terrorize the world, to our drone killing of any freedom fighter who appears to be a leader, surely our society has reached the ultimate conclusion of what happens when a nation kills for no other purpose then the thrill of winning.

  4. As Ms Steigerwald says, the only solution is to repeal the AUMF. It never should have seen the light of day to begin with. If cooler heads had been involved the reasons for not doing this would have been very clear. Foremost was the transfer of power from the Legislative Branch to the Executive.

  5. …and just to think that the AUMF, and the entire war on terror are all based lies and deceptions. On an event (9/11) that was conceived, carried out, and to this day, covered-up by highly placed foreign and domestic enemies and double agents residing within the US government itself. Every scrap of creditable evidence that has ever been revealed about 9/11 and it's aftermath proves the above statement as true beyond any reasonable doubts.

  6. I think that whole crowd have holiday reservations booked for them at GITMO………………………..

  7. The Congress already controls war IAW our Constitution. It is a fact that Congress has not been doing its job for over a decade. Congress had no business what so ever giving Bush the decision making on attacking Iraq or Afghanistan: neither were a threat to this country in any way. Now that over 600, 000 people are dead, Congress is going to create another document that will encourage war. They need to first investigate the 911 attack and find out who was responsible: experts have proven the US story is a fraud. Who is the US supporting in Syria? Who are they? Congress needs to address this matter before it starts another undeclared war.

    1. A lot longer than ten years. The last time Congress declared war was 1941, WWII. The US has been almost perpetually at war since WWII, and not one time has Congress declared it. The US constitution today carries roughly the same weight that the Soviet Constitution carried in 1953.

  8. From a vantage point outside the USA, McCain and Graham appear as the most war mongering and immoral persons that continue to be elected to the US Congress. What does this tell you about the American electorate or the rules of election is this bastion of democracy?

  9. It’s hard to tell with these Internet start ups if they’re really interested in building companies or if they’re just interested in the money. I can tell you, though..this web site

  10. I had no ideal this was an issue. Stories like this help you understand why some process are needed no matter how inconvenient at times….Draftkings

  11. I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definitely enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!

    this web site

  12. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog memoryfoam mattress reviews Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. xarelto bleeding I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article… Xarelto Side Effects

  13. Would you be able to let me know how I can include your site in my news peruser. your help would be useful I truly need to get to your articles. black texting gloves Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article DUI Lawyer Many congratulation all of you its great effort all of you i missed this chance but reading this article really enjoyed best of luck for more success in future. buying traffic I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work ivc filter lawsuit attorney I have added to my favorites. Thank You http://www.tarotpsychicmedium.com/free-tarot-read… I'm certainly very happy to read this blog site posts which carries plenty of helpful data, thanks for providing such information. site I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article http://proteccozumel.com/ You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. ajmer to jaipur cab

  14. I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well… click here

  15. I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation.. buy targeted traffic

  16. Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.Pay Per Click

  17. This is very interesting content! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. You are great.glucosamine sale

  18. ????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??????? ????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ?????? .
    ????? ???
    great articl tnx ^ùm:ù*

  19. As part of an assignment for research I have to find an article with relevant information on this topic and give the teacher our opinion and the article. Your article helped me a lot.remedies for back pain

  20. I got this site from my pal who shared with me about this website and at the moment this time I am browsing this website and reading very informative content here. SDREH

  21. Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. xarelto bleeding

  22. Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. xarelto bleeding

  23. Many congratulation all of you its great effort all of you i missed this chance but reading this article really enjoyed best of luck for more success in future. buying traffic

  24. Many congratulation all of you its great effort all of you i missed this chance but reading this article really enjoyed best of luck for more success in future. buying traffic

  25. I look forward in perusing a greater amount of your post. Likewise, I made a point to bookmark your site so I can return later. I appreciated exceptionally well perusing this post DUI Lawyer

Comments are closed.