After Ten Years of the “War on Terror,” It’s Time to Scrap the Authorization for Use of Military Force

Many Americans probably think that the “War on Terror” began on September 11, 2001, when the terrible terrorist attacks took place, whose 10th anniversary has recently been marked. However, the “War on Terror” actually began on September 14, 2001, when Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

This open-ended document is the bedrock of the occupation of Afghanistan, which began on October 6, 2001, and of the detention of prisoners in Guantánamo, as the Supreme Court confirmed in June 2004, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, ruling explicitly that it authorizes the detention of those held as a result of the President’s activities.

It has also been “cited as an authority for him to engage in electronic surveillance against possible terrorists without obtaining authorization of the special Court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978,” as the Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in a report on the AUMF in 2007.

This fascinating report (PDF) also reveals that the AUMF could have been far worse, in the sense of allowing the President powers to behave as he saw fit, without the possibility that Congress could constrain him. On September 12, 2001, the White House gave a draft joint resolution to the leaders of the Senate and the House, and, as the report states, “This White House draft legislation, if it had been enacted, would have authorized the President (1) to take military action against those involved in some notable way with the September 11 attacks on the US, but it also would have granted him (2) statutory authority ‘to deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.'” Read the rest of this entry »

Back to home page

Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

RSS

Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium

XHTML & CSS

WordPress

Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:

Archives

In Touch

Follow me on Facebook

Become a fan on Facebook

Subscribe to me on YouTubeSubscribe to me on YouTube

The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos

Campaigns

Categories

Tag Cloud

Afghans in Guantanamo Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo