Early Sunday evening, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 that had just completed a bombing run targeting US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Raqqa region. The episode raises important questions under the U.N. Charter (see Adil Ahmad Haque’s analysis here). But what about U.S. domestic law?
Latest in War Powers
The President's responsibility to explain the legal basis for military actions such as the Syria missile strikes, and the process used to formulate that legal basis, is dangerously undefined.
With six hours to spare before the 48-hour deadline in section 4 of the War Powers Resolution, the White House has sent the President's report to Congress on Thursday evening's missile attacks on Syria.
The text is here:
THE WHITE HOUSE
These kinds of advocacy lawsuits against the President in the national security arena often have perverse effects on the resulting law. The intent is generally to force constraints onto the executive branch, but the further along this lawsuit gets, the greater the risk it will result in less, rather than more, accountability and constraint on the Executive’s power.
Charlie Savage’s piece on the legal basis for the March 5 U.S. strike against an al Shabaab training camp, which allegedly killed 150 fighters, raises the intriguing question of whether the AUMF has been stretched yet again, this time to justify U.S. operations against al Shabaab as a whole.
Is the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) coming back? Or did it never really end?
Does Article II Authorize the U.S. Military to Defend CIA-Trained Syrian Forces against a Russian Attack?
From a domestic law perspective, could the Obama Administration assert authority to use force to defend such CIA-trained groups from further Russian airstrikes?
The common denominator of nettlesome war powers questions is who should make the difficult and freighted decisions about whether the nation goes to war, how it fights a war, and when it ends a war. Surprisingly, however, scholars and commentators rarely (if ever) discuss how psychological research on decisionmaking impacts the constitutional design and doctrine around war powers issues. In the last four decades, psychologists have demonstrated systematic biases in individual and group decisionmaking processes.