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60 Words From September 12th, 2001

This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.

In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law - called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) - has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the "war on terror."

In this collaboration with BuzzFeed, reporter Gregory Johnsen tells us the story of how this has come to be one of the most important, confusing, troubling sentences of the past 12 years. We go into the meetings that took place in the chaotic days just after 9/11, speak with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ron Dellums about the vote on the AUMF. We hear from former White House and State Department lawyers John Bellinger & Harold Koh. We learn how this legal language unleashed Guantanamo, Navy Seal raids and drone strikes. And we speak with journalist Daniel Klaidman, legal expert Benjamin Wittes and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about how these words came to be interpreted, and what they mean for the future of war and peace.

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There are many sands on the beach.

The rains come, the floods come, the winds blow and beat on the house built on those sands; that house will fall—and great will be it's fall.

“Authorization to Use Military Force” Forever? USA, Sept. 2001

Afghanistan & Future Imminent Threats: America’s “Permanent War”; “Authorization to Use Military Force” Forever? Global Research, May 26, 2013.
The operative section of the AUMF says, in its entirety:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The only other operative section gives the President pre-clearance with regard to the requirements of the War Powers Act.

On its face, the AUMF imposes no specific restrictions on the President’s freedom to wage war in any way he chooses, by any means he chooses, on any entity or person he chooses. Arguably, there is an implied limitation on the targets, but there is no definition of “aided” the terrorist attacks, creating a loophole big enough for any decent White House lawyer to waltz through with a herd of elephants.

And that loophole is rendered meaningless by the stated purpose of the law – “to prevent any future acts of international terrorism” – since “preventing future acts” is a concept that has no meaning unless it has no limitation.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

that's one overworked ass

one at a time, please

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

I enjoyed this.

This is well told... Thank you.

Educate yourself

link please

op needs to post a link.


"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon

jrd3820's picture

It's audio. Click play on the orange thing at the bottom.

Or I suppose you can go here, but it will just bring you to what I posted up there.