It’s Time to Repeal the AUMF

Even a mainstream media dinosaur like the New York Times will publish something decent and in the public interest from time to time.  In case you aren’t familiar with the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), it was the law enacted three days after 9/11 to provide the President of the United States with the flexibility to fight the now never-ending “war on terror.”  It is very important that we deal with the AUMF and get rid of it once and for all, since it is the key law used by the Obama Administration to justify the NDAA, and very soon may be used to kill “associates of associates” (basically anyone they want) of Al Qaeda without charges or a trial.  This editorial published l over the weekend calls for a repeal of the AUMF and I completely agree.  We can’t trust our current or future leaders to not abuse this authority.  From the New York Times:

Three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It was enacted with good intentions — to give President George W. Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan and go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban rulers who sheltered and aided the terrorists who had attacked the United States.

Mr. Bush used the authorization law as an excuse to kidnap hundreds of people — guilty and blameless people alike — and throw them into secret prisons where many were tortured. He used it as a pretext to open the Guantánamo Bay camp and to eavesdrop on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. He claimed it as justification for the invasion of Iraq, twisting intelligence to fabricate a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks.

Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama does not go as far as to claim that the Constitution gives him the inherent power to do all those things. But he has relied on the 2001 authorization to use drones to kill terrorists far from the Afghan battlefield, and to claim an unconstitutional power to kill American citizens in other countries based only on suspicion that they are or might become terrorist threats, without judicial review.

The concern that many, including this page, expressed about the authorization is coming true: that it could become the basis for a perpetual, ever-expanding war that undermined the traditional constraints on government power. The result is an unintelligible policy without express limits or protective walls.

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Introducing the Latest Orwellian Definition of Terrorists: “Associates of Associates”

Am I the only one that finds it strange that, eleven years after 9/11, the government continues to hype up the never-ending “war on terror” more than ever in order to justify taking away more and more of our civil liberties?  It seems that simply having to prove people are directly connected to Al Qaeda (our allies in Syria by the way), has become too much of a hassle for the hellfire missile happy Obama Administration, and they are now actively looking for easier ways to execute individuals without due process.  The latest idea centers around the frightening concept of “associates of associates.”  From the Washington Post:

A new generation of al-Qaeda offshoots is forcing the Obama administration to examine whether the legal basis for its targeted killing program can be extended to militant groups with little or no connection to the organization responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials said.

How convenient.  When will Ron Paul supporters, OWS activists and hackers officially be classified as enemy combatants?

The Authorization for Use of Military Force, a joint resolution passed by Congress three days after the strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has served as the legal foundation for U.S. counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda over the past decade, including ongoing drone campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen that have killed thousands of people.

But U.S. officials said administration lawyers are increasingly concerned that the law is being stretched to its legal breaking point, just as new threats are emerging in countries including Syria, Libya and Mali.

“The farther we get away from 9/11 and what this legislation was initially focused upon,” a senior Obama administration official said, “we can see from both a theoretical but also a practical standpoint that groups that have arisen or morphed become more difficult to fit in.”

The authorization law has already been expanded by federal courts beyond its original scope to apply to “associated forces” of al-Qaeda. But officials said legal advisers at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are now weighing whether the law can be stretched to cover what one former official called “associates of associates.”

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The Section Preventing Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial Removed from Final NDAA Bill

While the Feinstein-Lee Amendment wasn’t perfect, it was a small step forward as I outlined in my piece:  My Thoughts on the Feinstein-Lee Amendment to the NDAA.  Amazingly, this small victory has been stripped out of the final bill by our “representatives.”  If this doesn’t prove without a shadow of a doubt that this government is criminal and wants the power to lock up citizens without trial I don’t know what will.  From the Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Congress stripped a provision Tuesday from a defense bill that aimed to shield Americans from the possibility of being imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the military. The provision was replaced with a passage that appears to give citizens little protection from indefinite detention.

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