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How 60 Ambiguous Words Gave The United States President Unprecedented War Powers

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 act of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Written in haste and passed by the U.S. Congress in the days after September 11, 2001, the ambiguously worded Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) greatly expanded the war powers of the executive branch, granting U.S. presidents the choice to bomb, raid, detain and monitor nation-states and organizations around the world as they see fit.

Centered around an interview with Representative Barbara Lee, the sole member of congress to vote against the AUMF, War Authority examines how the authorization's vague language - invoked at least 18 times by former President George W. Bush and at least 19 times by President Barack Obama - has shaped modern U.S. foreign policy and affected people around the world.


Directed by Matthew Palmer.


Comments welcome.


Posted on December 21, 2016

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