Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Repeal, Don't Replace, Trump's War Powers

Repeal, Don't Replace, Trump's War Powers

Ever since US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the US was going to be firing off missiles against Syria as a response to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, critics have questioned whether POTUS had a right to do so without congressional approval. Democrats have sought limits to a new AUMF, while Republicans don't want any caveats to tie the USA military's hands in future operations. But the Constitution also names the president the commander-in-chief of the military - something numerous administrations have for years used, in part, to justify sending troops into conflicts around the world.

"To be frank", she said, "I think many people were happy to duck the issue for a long time because these are very hard decisions to make - whether to authorize the use of military force". Many in Congress supported the strikes, and others, such as Tennessee Republican Sen.

Corker said he expected the Foreign Relations Committee to debate and possibly vote on the new AUMF as soon as next week. And then the second issue, which is a little fairer to Congress, I would say, is drafting a war authorization against non-state terrorist groups can be a little bit hard.

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Asked if the president had the authority to bomb London if he decided it was in the national interest, King said the president could ― and there were plenty of lawmakers who implicitly agreed.

Some Democratic members of Congress expressed concern about the strikes in the context of the need for a broader US strategy in Syria, while Kaine said, "President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress' approval is illegal".

And so far, the administration - including Defense Secretary James Mattis - has operated under the assumption that the existing 2001 authorization for use of military force passed after the September 11 attacks gives legal cover for military operations in Syria and elsewhere. "I believe that a limited authorization to do that would have passed Congress in one day", if it had been written in a concise, limited way, said Garamendi.

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Certainly, there still are lawmakers who are uncomfortable with the president using the military any way he sees fit ― such as Massie and a small group of Constitutional conservatives. "What we do is we basically say this is an authorization against the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaida, and groups that are closely associated with them, engaging in hostilities against the United States". "That's my concern. I'm not as much concerned about this particular strike as I am about the implications of him doing it without Congress in the context of Iran or North Korea".

At Harvard's Lawfare blog, law professors Jack Goldsmith and Oona A. Hathaway both summed up all of the Trump administration's possible arguments for the legality of the Syria strikes in an article named "Bad Legal Arguments for the Syria Airstrikes". It also says the president needs to notify Congress if he wants to expand existing operations beyond Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.

"There are many different things a unified Congress could do", Carroll said. "Congress clearly has abdicated one of its most crucial functions, and that is the power to take the USA into a war".

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