Open thread for night owls. Is Trump regime flying trial balloon on using 2001 AUMF to attack Iran?
Steve Vladeck and Tess Bridgeman at Just Security write—About that Trial Balloon on Using the 9/11 AUMF to Authorize U.S. Strikes on Iran:
Monday’s Washington Times included a breathless “Exclusive” report titled “Iran-al Qaeda Alliance May Provide Legal Rationale for U.S. Military Strikes.” In the piece, the Times strings together a series of paraphrased comments from unidentified “Trump administration officials” and “congressional and legal sources” to suggest that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force—the AUMF—“may now provide a legal rationale for striking Iranian territory or proxies.” Pause on that for a moment; the Times piece basically suggests that, if President Trump wanted to, he could invoke the AUMF to start a war with Iran—and he could do it tomorrow.
The main claim behind the Times story, it seems, is that Iran is increasingly “harboring” al Qaeda by providing sanctuary to certain al Qaeda officials in Iran and through indirect financial support. As the Times writes, “Behind the scenes in Washington, there is increasing speculation that the White House could make a case for military strikes [against Iran] using the existing AUMF, which authorizes the president to use all ‘appropriate force’ to target those who ‘planned, authorized, committed or aided’ the 9/11 attacks on America.” (The AUMF also authorized force against those who “harbored” the “organizations or persons” that committed the 9/11 attacks, long understood to refer to the Taliban government in Afghanistan before 9/11.) [...]
Although the Times piece asserts that “legal analysts say the administration likely would have a strong argument,” it only quotes one such individual (retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charlie Dunlap), who said only that the AUMF might apply “if the facts show Iran or any other nation is harboring al Qaeda” (emphasis added). As Tess’s piece points out, it’s not remotely clear as a matter of facts or as a matter of law that such a claim holds water. Insofar as the Dunlap quote was answering a hypothetical, it seems deeply irresponsible for the Times to assert that the “administration likely would have a strong argument.” [...]
First, it seems crystal clear that the story is nothing more than a trial balloon—something that someone in the Trump administration is publicly planting to see what reaction, if any, it provokes. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with government officials floating trial balloons. But it seems to us that the media has an obligation, when presented with such an obvious plant, to do more than simply repackage it as an exclusive news story—and in particular to be clearer about the nature of the factual and legal claims that are offered to it without attribution or sourcing. If the Times story is intended to plant a seed that there could potentially be a set of facts under which the 2001 AUMF could arguably be extended to encompass Iran on a “harboring” theory, nothing in the piece comes within a country mile of convincing us that those facts exist—or might soon. Nor does it come close to grappling with the obvious legal questions raised by its hugely consequential premise.
Second, and at a more basic level, the fact that we’re even having this conversation is yet further proof, alongside years of previous examples, of the desperate need for Congress to revisit the 2001 AUMF—a statute that is now older than some of the soldiers we’re sending into harm’s way under its open-ended but not limitless terms. [...]
Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups
TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES
“In every treaty, insert a clause which can easily be violated, so that the entire agreement can be broken in the case the interests of the state make it expedient to do so.”
~~Louis XIV, Mémoires et instructions de Louis XIV pour le Dauphin (1661-1665)
TWEET OF THE DAY
xThings the GOP says we canÃ¢ÂÂt afford:-Medicare-for-All-A Green New Deal-A living wage for workers-Universal childcareThings the GOP has deemed affordable:-Giving the big banks another massive tax break https://t.co/jCR765JsOW— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) February 22, 2019
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2016—Vulnerable Senate Republicans decide blocking Obama's nominee is safest bet:
Endangered Senate Republicans have received their marching orders: block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee no matter what. Even at the expense of their own re-election. Confusion over whether to do the job they were elected—and bound by the constitution—to do or to keep the base happy still reins, and some of them are trying to have it both ways, couching their obstruction as somehow doing their duty. [...]
So much for that 2014 pledge by Republicans that they'd show they are capable of governing. The only thing Republicans are proving they're good at is doing the bidding of extremists.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: The big story of the day was Trump Labor Sec. Acosta letting Trump buddy Epstein off the hook for his child sex trafficking. The minute we were done, Trump buddy Kraft got busted in a sex trafficking ring in the very same jurisdiction. Gee whiz!
RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE