The War On Terror Has Changed – Now The Rules Should, Too
The law that forms the foundation of the war on terror is almost obsolete, undermining the legal basis of U.S. counterterrorism operations. On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee will take a long-overdue first step to fix this problem, a development we should all applaud.
On September 14, 2001, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), authorizing “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons” behind the 9/11 attacks. Over a decade later, al-Qaida, the group that perpetrated the attacks, is on the ropes. But other armed groups – like the Haqqani Network, al-Shabab, and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb – have become targets of the Obama administration’s worldwide counterterrorism efforts. The statute’s explicit reference to the 9/11 attacks, however, means it can’t authorize military action against groups with only superficial links to al-Qaida.
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