“I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.
The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al-Qaida is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al-Qaida will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.
So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine and ultimately repeal the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. It’s what our democracy demands.” President Barack Obama yesterday
Naturally this groundbreaking news was overshadowed by that yahoo from Code Pink who thinks the best way to convey a message is to shout it like a mental patient at the president.
Nevertheless, this is still a major and historic turning point in ending the war on terror, and it’s precisely what I’ve been calling for in my column over the last several months (here, here and here for instance).
The administration clearly regards the war on terrorism as an actual full-on war, and therefore is able to justify its actions as war-time measures authorized by the 2001 AUMF. Take away the AUMF, you take away the extraconstitutional war-powers of the presidency and the war ends. He gets it, and he’s clearly going to be working toward that goal. After all, as I’ve written before, he’s in a unique position to make it so: he’s annihilated much of al-Qaeda’s leadership and Bin Laden, and he doesn’t need to worry about re-election. Let’s just hope he can do it.