White House Counterterrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco, speaking today at the Aspen Security Forum, called for a new authorization for counterterrosism efforts from the Congress. Ms. Monaco called the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force “dated” and said it was becoming less useful over time as the Anti-American terrorist effort mutates and metastasizes. The 2001 AUMF is limited to the 9/11 actors, plus an additional one involving Iraq in 2002.
There is some truth in what Ms. Monaco says– just how, exactly, is ISIL related to 9/11?– but I smell politics afoot. It has been a long-term objective of the political left to repeal the AUMF to close down the military option in counterterrorism operations as they apparently are sufficiently disconnected from reality to believe a law enforcement response will be adequate to the task.
The President, speaking at the National Defense University in May of 2013 said the US shouldn’t be “on a perpetual wartime footing” and called for a wind down of the 2001 AUMF as it amounts to a declaration of war.
Groups like [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.
The President further said he hoped to work with Congress to repeal the AUMF and promised not to sign further laws designed to widen the authority.
One is never quite certain what the Obama administration wants exactly– they have raised obfuscation to an art form, when they’re not busy outright lying– but reading between the lines, where I think Ms. Monaco is trying to go is to get the President a blank check to drone anybody anywhere in the world he likes, but to make absolutely certain he does not have the authority to put boots on the ground anywhere outside the US without being able to blame it on Congress.
The lefties loudly cheered the President’s speech I quoted above, and you can anticipate some moans of anguish from this new development, segueing to screams of outrage if it look like it might happen. As far as they’re concerned, it’s bad enough we have to have a military. The idea we might– Gasp!– actually use it for something aside from social experimentation and providing guaranteed government employment to the LGBT troopers is anathema.
Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about any changes in the AUMF. Since the passage of Obamacare the Congress has been so gridlocked they couldn’t agree to an appropriation to upgrade the toilet paper in the Capitol building. In some ways, it’s a pity: the President really could use an updated authorization as the one he has isn’t quite broad enough. But that’s not going to happen; no Democrat will sign on unless it forbids troop deployment, and no Republican will be in if it does. It’s another Obamacare-Related Death.