My colleague Hina Shamsi has posted an excellent blog laying out why it's critical that congress vote on President Obama's ever expansive plans for war in Iraq and Syria. It's not just an academic issue, Shamsi contends:
Holding an up or down vote on the president's proposed military operation would be more than an abstract practice of good governance. It would be an essential rejection of sweeping executive war authority claimed by the Obama administration. As of today, Obama administration officials have claimed that the president has authority to use the military against ISIS, under trumped-up claims of both inherent constitutional authority and statutory authority from the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
The Obama administration is wrong when it says the president has the executive authority to declare war against ISIS. Officials are also wrong to argue that war against ISIS could fall under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
These are serious issues not just for world peace and stability, but also for civil liberties at home. Permanent war requires a permanent state of exception. Further militarization of US society by way of protracted, possibly endless conflict abroad guarantees a further contraction of rights at home—as well as yet more military weapons passed down to our state and local police.
Stop hitting yourself, America.