War

President Obama Just Made it Easier For Donald Trump to Wage War

Obama's legacy of expanding executive branch power now includes "limitless targeting" anywhere in the world.

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What, me need Congressional approval to wage war?
Ron Sachs/SIPA/Newscom

President Obama's term in office began, oddly, with winning a Nobel Peace Prize and will end with him handing over to Donald Trump the reins of an executive branch whose powers to make war he has dramatically expanded.

Strangely, unlike in 2012 when Obama thought he might lose to Mitt Romney and thus created a "drone rule book" to discourage future presidents from abusing the power to wage clandestine war, the president has recently expanded the power and scope of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to conduct combat operations outside of the fields of battle in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

The Washington Post reports that JSOC's newly created "Counter-External Operations Task Force" can "can sidestep regional commanders…for the sake of speed," instead reporting directly to the Pentagon.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko explained that this change elevates JSOC "to a truly global combatant command, with the resources and authority to strike targets seemingly anywhere, rather than only after being placed under the authority of a regional combatant command." Zenko adds:

Obama administration lawyers and officials have always contended that there are no geographic limits to where U.S. forces may conduct operations against terrorism, with the battlefield being anywhere "from Boston to the FATA [Federally Adminstered Tribal Areas of Pakistan]" Now, it appears that it has set up an organizational command structure to support such limitless targeting.

Though the Obama administration has repeatedly tried to play up its role in ending the Iraq War, the fact is, we are still at war in Iraq, even if the name of the enemy continues to change. What's more, the Obama administration has expanded combat operations in Somalia to fight the Al Qaeda-offshoot Shabab, including "self-defense" airstrikes to assist foreign allies even when American troops face no risk.

Zenko notes that with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) forces deployed to 147 countries, the U.S. could invoke "self-defense" with an airstrike pretty much anywhere in the world.

While Obama's "kill list" hasn't led to any sustained mainstream concern (lawyers who work for the president can make just about anything "legal"), even when drones meant for "terrorists" kill civilians, the fact that these powers to make war will soon be in Donald Trump's hands is beginning to make people take notice that the executive branch has assumed far too much power.

Unfortunately, Obama will leave office much as he entered it, by expanding and consolidating executive authority even further than George W. Bush had, and thereby making it far easier for Trump to do the same.

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  1. I guess we’re lucky that Trump took such a strong position against stupid foreign intervention and also vowed to bomb the shit out of ISIS.

    1. Stupid foreign intervention is right out, but idiotic foreign intervention is still on the table.

      1. What about retarded foreign intervention? Don’t tell me he won’t consider that option.

        1. He’ll go full retard, but draws the line at full idiot and full stupid.

        2. Semioticians may debate whether retarded foreign intervention falls under the category of stupid foreign intervention or idiotic foreign intervention, or is its own concept entirely. In the meantime, as with Winston’s mom, there is plenty of wiggle room.

  2. Yes, but the Blue Wall will prevent this sort of power from falling into the wrong hands.

    What do you mean, “Trump won”? Mississippi and Alabama and that’s it, right?

    1. i heard hillary almost had texas!

  3. THANKS, OBAMA.

    1. Don’t forget to thank BOOOOOOOSH too. And our spineless congress. And our rubberstamping legislative branch.

      1. Damn it, judicial. not legislative.

        1. judicial. not legislative.

          Freudian slip.

        2. As if there is a difference.

  4. …will end with him handing over to Donald Trump the reigns of an executive branch whose powers to make war he has dramatically expanded.

    Oh, Fisher. I suppose technically you can make that work.

    And anyway, I heard Trump was going to go nuclear on Day One. Or should I say, Day Won.

    1. He was referring to Roman Reigns. Not a typo!

  5. Can you hear us now, Democrats?

    1. Obvious telecom joke aside, I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into four years of BUT OBAAAAMAAAAA.

      1. What are the odds of THAT happening?

        1. Not very high from Fisher, Welch, Gillespie, et al. As for the rest of us deplorables, well, that’s why God invented sarcasm.

          Hold the line or we will get shirty, people.

      2. There will be plenty of actual policy to criticize Trump for, but that’s not what you’re going to be hearing.

        1. Since Trump is basically a centrist Democrat, why would Democrats oppose his actual policies?

          1. The progressive Democrats who currently control the party are not too fond of the centrist Democrats (it seems most of the criticism of the Clintons from Democrats have been that they were too centrist). There’s a reason that this election’s centrist Democrat ran on the Republican ticket.

          2. Because todays Democrats loathe the Democrats of 20 years ago. Seriously. I’m not making this up.

      3. Democrats never learn. Government is a force for good, except when the other guy is in power. Then it’s a force for evil. So what we need is to lock the other guy out forever and it can always be a force for good and can keep getting bigger and more powerful. The other guy won’t get power, will he?

        Executive power is like a penis pump. You can inflate the size of your dick with every squeeze of the lever, just don’t forget that this pump comes with a catch. In 4-8 years someone else’s dick might be in it. There have been a lot of dicks in the pump to get us where we are at today. Too bad people won’t stop improving the pump.

        1. How’s the penis pump rental business going, anyway?

          1. +1 patriarchy industrial complex

        2. That is a terrible example. Unlike presidential power, the pumped penis returns back its original state.

          1. There have been a lot of dicks in the pump to get us where we are at today.

            UNHYGIENIC.

            1. Which is more hygenic a used penis pump or one with 18 million vagina-induced cracks in it?

          2. The pump doesn’t.

            Who is still paying attention to the last few dicks that got pumped by the oval office?

            1. You should have used jelqing as the mechanism to increase the size of the penis.

              1. Is that like that jenkem thing that the media tried to convince me that all the kids were trying in order to get high?

                1. No, it is the only known scientific way to increase the size of a penis.

                  1. Not according to these emails i got.

          3. Says you.

  6. …handing over to Donald Trump the reins of an executive branch whose powers to make war he has dramatically expanded.

    Bush’s fault. Obstructionist Republicans. Nothing Obama could do. This makes Trump worse than Nixon.

    1. Hey, at least after January 19th everything will stop being Dubya’s fault.

  7. Carve another notch on that Nobel Peace Prize!

  8. Like moving more and more Pentagon development into Black programs to avoid Congressional and GAO accounting.

    Step 1: Set up arcane rules so failure is inevitable.

    Step 2: Micromanage it further.

    Step 3: Repeat without rinsing until it’s such an ungodly mess that you throw up your hands in disgust and hide it.

    Step 4: Repeat with other projects until there are no mainstream projects to hide.

    Step 5: Invent new projects to set up arcane rules for.

    1. Step 3 is also known as “going on a date with Crusty.”

      1. LOL – look at you.

        1. Eventually, the source of the smell became apparent. Behind a pile of wooden pallets, in a sort of cocoon it had made from used Hefty bags, banana peels, and the flayed skins of Cabbage Patch Kids, a troll giggled and burbled to itself. Upon discovery it shrieked dramatically, in a terror obviously feigned. Lurching shakily to its feet, it turned around, bent over, and pulled apart its flabby buttocks. “Lol,” it cried. “Lol. Lol. Look at you!” A thin brownish paste leaked from its prolapsed anus.

          1. Well, just look atcha.

  9. But the antiwar Democrats will come out en masse and give Obama what for, right?

  10. “Unfortunately, Obama will leave office much as he entered it, by expanding and consolidating executive authority even further than George W. Bush had, and thereby making it far easier for Trump to do the same.”

    See? The proggies were right all along; he’s better than Bush.

  11. We have to fight them over there so don’t come here. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And over there…

    1. I would prefer if we only fought them here. I am armed and am responsible for my own safety in the event of a jihadI attack. If only everyone else took responsibility for their own safety and defense, this would greatly reduce the jihadI’s ability to make terror on Americans.

      1. Talk about letting a crisis go to waste! Won’t someone think of the do-something politicians?!?

        1. LOL – look at you.

        2. If politicians want to do something, they can start by repealing every law ever written that infringes on one’s ability to defend one’s self. That’s a while lot of do something that ought to keep them occupied for awhile.

    2. We should come up with a nice name for that policy. I’m going with “Pax Romana.”

  12. Thank you Obama for not reluctantly droning me today…..

  13. this is what im taking about!

    as noted above, we really could get some milage out of a sarcastic “but OBAMMAAA!”
    same with the upcoming obstruction/fillibuster hilarity.

  14. I thought it was weird that our little friend Artan didn’t mention Somalia in his screed. He must have known about it, he wasn’t an idiot even if he was crazy. The irony is – I’m probably more angry about it than he was.

    Jill Stein approves this message.

  15. I honestly thought Obama would have wound down the drone program by the end of his term. I predicted it, in fact. I am soooo disappointed in him. You can’t kill people into kicking their drug or child-bride habit.

    I read that complaining about foreign policy is a sign of self-radicalization. I was told that microagressions can push you over the edge….

    1. I predicted it, in fact.

      Rather than a flippant acknowledgement unaccompanied by any sense of shame, why don’t you just STFU and GTFO?

  16. “limitless targeting” anywhere in the world

    Droning every bar and restaurant playing FOX news?

    1. npr audiences everywhere approve.

      1. +1 probably listening without donating anyway.

        1. Well, duh, that’s something the Basket of Deplorables should be doing!

  17. If the executive branch has assumed to much power, as some claim to be the case, who is to blame. That question has a single word answer. CONGRESS

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