Friday, May 06, 2016

Comedy Devolving Into Farce

An Army captain is suing President Obama because he says that Obama does not have the authority under the War Powers Act to be fighting a war against the Islamic State. He is, apparently serving in a military intelligence function somewhere in Kuwait.

Of course, using “military” and “intelligence” in the same sentence is something of an oxymoron, but that’s a different topic. As for a junior officer filing a lawsuit against the commander in chief; well, I suspect that dude is going to be a civilian a lot sooner than he presently thinks he is.

The president is not fighting the Islamic State under the authority of the War Powers Act, however. Like several presidents before him, he thinks it's unconstitutional because it interferes with the war-making power of the commander in chief. I think it’s unconstitutional because it delegates Congressional war-making power to the executive for sixty days.

But all of that is irrelevant because Obama is fighting the Islamic State under the authority of an act called the AUMF passed in 2001, the full name of which is Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists.

A whole host of politicians and military officials have told us that the AUMF authorizes the use of military force against "Al-Qaeda and associated forces" or "Al-Qaeda affiliated forces," but nothing even similar to those phrases occurs in the act. What the AUMF authorizes is the use of military force, “against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

Note that it does not authorize the use of military force against anyone launching any future attacks, let alone anyone merely planning such attacks, and it certainly does not authorize the use of military force where no attack is imminent.

Not to mention that it’s hard to claim that the Islamic State is an "Al-Qaeda affiliated force," when the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are fighting against each other in Syria and, just to complete the farce, we are actually backing Al-Qaeda in that particular fight.

The enemy of my enemy is who’s on first?

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