Irony, the left, the AUMF and bin Laden
I assume most of you political junkies remember the left and their reaction to the Authorization to use Military Force resolution that was passed by Congress not long after 9/11.
The left wasn’t at all happy with Congress authorizing the use of force and during the presidential debates you had various Democratic candidates called out on it by the Obama campaign and we went through a series of apologies for voting for that. Obama was never clear as to whether or not he’d have voted for it had he been in the Senate at the time, but he certainly left the impression he probably wouldn’t have.
The irony comes in the form of the justification for the raid on and death of Osama bin Laden. Apparently the AUMF is suddenly a pretty handy thing to have around:
To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.
The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.
One year ago, in the midst of a debate about the legality of targeted killing of foreign nationals, Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, said in a speech that the administration’s targeting practices complied "with all applicable law, including the laws of war."
"As recent events have shown," Koh said at the time, al Qaeda has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and so "the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks."
I find it both amusing and interesting (not to mention ironic) that those so heavily engaged in pumping up the Obama profile over the bin Laden killing are mostly unaware of the fact that the hated AUMF was the basis for the strike and, in effect, they’re now defending what they once roundly condemned.
As someone recently quipped, in the area of the war(s), this is like Bush’s third term.