Joe Biden

Biden Indicates Openness to Replacing War Authorizations with "Narrow and Specific" Framework

This initiative might help restore congressional control over war authorization. But there is reason for skepticism that it will pan out.

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F-15E fighter, similar to the ones used in Biden's recent Syria air strike.

 

A few days ago, I wrote about the Biden Administration's recent air strike in Syria, targeting pro-Iranian militia groups that had earlier attacked US forces. While I argued that this specific air strike did not violate the Constitution, I also emphasized that the broader US military intervention lacks congressionally required authorization, and also violates the 1973 War Powers Act. For reasons outlined in my earlier post and various previous writings, addressing this problem is vital for both legal and pragmatic reasons.

I highly doubt anyone in the White House read my post. But they might have been influenced by similar concerns expressed by others, including several Democratic members of Congress. Regardless, the administration now indicates that the president would like to work with Congress to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs), which successive administrations have stretched in many ways, and "replace [them] with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars." Some members of Congress from both parties have also proposed repealing and replacing the current AUMFs, including in a recent bill introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, led by Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

If these efforts pan out, they could help bring an end to the era of  wars waged by the executive without proper congressional authorization. But the failure of previous efforts along similar lines provides grounds for skepticism that this will work. For example, the Obama administration's 2015 effort to secure an AUMF for the Syria intervention quickly foundered in Congress.

The hard truth is that presidents are rarely willing to accept meaningful constraints on their powers, and (with a few principled exceptions) most members of Congress are all too ready to let them get away with that. The 2015 draft AUMF presented by Obama included few actual limits on presidential power, and failed in Congress, in part for that reason. Donald Trump, too, was unwilling to accept anything in the way of meaningful limitation, and vetoed a congressional effort to do so.

Whether Biden's initiative turns out to be an exception to these trends remains to be seen. His willingness to actually repeal and replace the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, as opposed to merely augmenting them with new authority, seems promising. But the devil in these matters is often in the details. Those will determine whether the AUMF really does provide proper authorization for current efforts in Syria, while also avoiding giving the White House a potential blank check to intervene anywhere it wants. It will be interesting to see what kind of new AUMF the administration proposes (if any) and how it fares in Congress.

 

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  1. People have no problem dropping bombs on peasant weddings. They have no trouble destroying Germany in WWII, and killing 7 million Germans. Hitler represented 20 families, not even himself. Some gave $5000 to his election and got $millions in government contracts. They hanged high Nazi officials, including judges. These families were so powerful, nothing was done after the war, except recruit them to rebuild the German economy.

    Every President of the US has represented some families. Bush, Texas oil, Reagan, Cali real estate, Clinton Tyson chicken, Biden the San Fran tech billionaires. Trump represented people sick of these people and got destroyed by them. Of course, the Bush families hanged the guy of the Takrit oil families, Saddam Hussein.

    The immunity of these people is quite frustrating. Why not drop a bomb on these oligarchic families for a change? Leave millions of German civilians alone. The Jews of Germany should not have killed Hitler, they should have killed these 20 families. To deter.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a chaotic oligarchic family competition theory, with regular people paying a very high price for their antics.

    1. They have no trouble destroying Germany in WWII, and killing 7 million Germans.

      Germany destroyed itself.

      The Jews of Germany should not have killed Hitler, they should have killed these 20 families.

      The Jews of Germany didn’t kill Hitler, and they were in no position to kill 20 families or anyone else.

      1. Bernard. What was the cause of the Holocaust? What is the cause of the many before and since the Shoah? One cause. Weakness. The Jews did very well the few times they fought back. You do not take on the Army or the Gestapo. Suicidal and ineffective. You do not wreck the country you knew and loved, as Einstein tried with that letter about the atom bomb to Roosevelt. You kill the people behind the attack.

        You may say that was the past. Heck no. They attacked the Congress 2 months ago. Those are the mere servants, as Hitler was. You visit the homes of Bezos, Gates, and Soros, after their phones have indicated their location. There you go crazy. To deter. They are the real enemy.

        1. Sorry.

          I should have known better than to respond.

          1. Bernard. You do not want to hear this. Close your ears. The Jews must conceal carry when they go to shul on the Sabbath. They must shoot back.

            They must stop voting for their mortal enemy, the Democrat Party.

            They must start supporting Israel and not the BDS advocates.

  2. The hard truth is that presidents are rarely willing to accept meaningful constraints on their powers, and (with a few principled exceptions) most members of Congress are all too ready to let them get away with that.

    We far too often let members of Congress dodge voting. They like that.

    I think the lack of accountability this engenders weakens our democracy.

  3. after reading Scott Horton’s recent book, Congress should shut down military funding until we leave the middle east lock, stock and barrel. The vast amount of foreign interests (Israeli and KSA and others) draining our people and putting us into massive debt who seem to have way too much control over the executive branch since Bush is a direct assault on our republic. Dismantle the cold war state..hell even Daniel Patrick Moynhan said to shut down the CIA in 1991..we should have listened. I would send the entire CFR, Atlantic Council, FDD and the rest of those fifth column globalists the door..

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