Biden Officials Open to Tightening Law Authorizing War on Terrorist Groups
The White House Biden has not signaled any dissatisfaction with the Pentagon’s use of this “self-defense” exception to justify a practice of essentially providing close air support to partner forces that depart on missions and then retreat. find themselves in difficulty, even if no American is present. and at risk.
The national legal basis for the air strikes in Somalia and Afghanistan is the 2001 War Act, known as the Use of Military Force Authorization, or AUMF. in 2016, Al Shabab added to the war as a force associated with Al Qaeda.
Opening Tuesday’s hearing, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, noted that he voted for the 2001 law after the September 11 attacks and said: ” We could never have imagined that it would be used as a justification. for air strikes in Somalia or against groups that did not even exist at the time.
The 2001 War Law is formulated in general terms and does not contain any geographic limitations. But congressional efforts to update it have failed for years amid deep disagreements over how to replace it. Some lawmakers were unwilling to vote for anything that would reduce the government’s authority to fight Islamist groups, while others were unwilling to vote for anything that could be interpreted as consolidating the “Eternal war” or which could serve as another blank check.
In this context, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, expressed his skepticism about the passage by Congress of a new law on the war on terrorism. And several Republican senators have expressed skepticism about even repealing the Iraq War Act of 2002, suggesting it could signal weakness in the Middle East, including for Iran.
While the 1991 War Act has long been considered obsolete, the executive branch has cited the 2002 War Act in recent years as a purported standing authorization from Congress to undertake very different Middle East combat operations. of those of fighting Hussein: the Obama administration cited it in 2014 when it started bombing the Islamic State, and the Trump administration cited it in 2020 when it killed the most important general in ‘Iran, Major General Qassim Suleimani.
Both claims were contested. But Caroline Krass, the Pentagon’s general counsel, noted that in both cases the executive branch described the 2002 law as simply providing additional national legal authorization – rather than necessary – for these military operations.
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