Obama Administration Asserts Unlimited War Powers without Congressional Authorization

Thursday, May 22, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Joseph Kishore
Global Research
May 22, 2014

In testimony before the US Congress on Wednesday, top Obama administration officials asserted that the president has unlimited war powers without even the fig-leaf of Congressional authorization.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the administration officials—State Department Deputy Legal Adviser Mary McLeod and Defense Department General Counsel Stephen Preston—declared that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) was not required for any of the drone attacks, troop deployments and other war operations carried out by the Obama administration.

For more than a decade, the AUMF has been a catch-all justification for all the illegal and unconstitutional activities of the Bush and Obama administrations—military invasions, indefinite detention (including at Guantanamo Bay), torture and drone assassination. Congress is currently considering revising or ending the AUMF as part of an effort to shift these operations onto a more permanent foundation.

In the course of questioning from senators on the future of AUMF, McLeod and Preston indicated that, in the administration’s view, there are in fact no additional powers that the executive has as a result of the AUMF that it does not already have from Article II of the US Constitution—an assertion of unlimited executive power.

Preston testified, “I am not aware of any foreign terrorist group that presents a threat against this country that the president lacks authority to defend against simply because they are not covered by the AUMF. If the group presents a threat the president does have authority to take steps against that threat.”

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