Last Wednesday, Senator Tim Kaine devoted his first Senate speech since the election to the AUMF and the war against ISIL. The occasion for the speech was the death Naval CPO Scott Dayton, a Virginian who was killed on Thanksgiving day while disposing of bombs near Raqqa, Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve (the operation against the Islamic State).
Latest in AUMF
In a post earlier today, I highlighted a variety of recent developments in which the Obama administration has adjusted constraints on using force under color of the AUMF, based in part on the report in the
We have an essay at Time.com that begins:
Tomorrow is the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of the longest armed conflict in American history. But another significant anniversary in the “Forever War” is today, September 10, for two years ago on this date President Obama announced his “comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy” to defeat the Islamic State.
The country’s reaction to the heartbreaking massacre in Orlando has been dispiritingly predictable. When guns—and seemingly no other weapon—are involved in a national tragedy, initial talk of unity rapidly devolves into talking points on both sides. Often the political talk is for naught: Monday, the Senate voted down four measures aimed at curtailing the sale of guns to suspected terrorists.
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.
As I explained in a New York Times op-ed today, Captain Nathan Smith has gone to court for a declaratory judgment on the legality of President Obama’s undeclared war against the Islamic State. While I encourage readers of Lawfare to read the entire Complaint submitted by David H.
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.
President Obama has sent 39 letters to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution requirements. The letters are a fascinating read and provide a 30,000-foot view of the Administration’s use of military force abroad. The complete letters are linked below, but here is a brief analysis:
A Wider Battlefield
The reports reflect what appears to be a much wider battlefield today than in 2009.
There were at least two points of note in President Obama’s call last night for Congress to “vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.” First, the President did not mention his draft AUMF for ISIL, much less ask Congress to approve that draft.
The President addressed the nation tonight in an effort to explain our strategy against ISIL, to specify some steps he would like Congress to take, and to underscore some things he thinks we should not do. The transcript is here.