I’m going to go out on a limb and claim that, if a hawk like John McCain says that the Pentagon’s assertion of its own authority to wage war is “disturbing,” then something might be extremely wrong.

According to Defense News:

“The Obama administration’s armed drone program, which reaches from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia, has prompted many Republican, Democratic and Independent senators to question whether the post-9/11 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) resolution is outdated.”

The Senators think it is time to pass a new authorization. They are looking at the 2001 authorization as a legally binding agreement, for understandable reasons. But they may be confused. Because it now seems as if that authorization was not so much a law as much as it was something like the lightning that first animated Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. The Pentagon is off the table and ready to go where it wants and provide itself with anything else it needs. What it doesn’t want, is to give back any authority to Congress.

One senator wanted to know how the Pentagon could possibly be waging drone war on the Yemen on the basis of the 2001 document. Michael Sheehan, assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, would not consent:

“Sheehan coolly replied that al-Qaida already had a foothold in Yemen in September 2001, saying that means the existing resolution covers any U.S. military or covert mission there.”

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