On Friday night, the United States, United Kingdom, and France launched a coordinated attack in Syria, reportedly aimed at sites related to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. on "Using Force: Strategic, Political, and Legal Considerations." The committee will hear testimony from the following witnesses:
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?
A White House’s responsibility to explain the legal basis for military actions such as the Syria missile strikes is dangerously undefined. This is not a problem unique to the Trump Administration. Nor do the differences between administrations in the choice, the structure, or timing of transparency fall out exclusively among party lines. What has emerged is a transparency regime shaped largely by broad discretion and perceived political necessity.
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
Last week, U.S. Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith sued the U.S. Government in federal court, seeking a declaration that Obama’s war against ISIS is illegal. Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman have put forward competing views over whether this lawsuit is a big deal.
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?
As most readers will know by now, Russia's military intervention in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime looks like it will not be limited to operations against ISIL or al Nusra.
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.