From The Guardian
The president-elect keeps news cycles churning with his unhinged tweets, but it's the current administration's expanding military license that should scare us
Trump will have a free hand to use the law meant for the perpetrators of 9/11 to wage war around the world
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In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there's been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election -- the White House is actively expanding them.
One of the most under-covered aspects of Obama's legacy has been how he has waged war, unilaterally expanding the original 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks almost beyond recognition. It's currently being used to legally justify the administration's war on Isis in about a half dozen countries (that we know of), despite Isis not being in existence at the time AUMF was passed. It's also being used to authorize action against a host of other groups, though who they are is classified.
Now, the Obama administration has warped the AUMF even further. As the New York Times reported on Monday, the White House is claiming it can use the 2001 law to go after al-Shabaab in Somalia, another group that didn't exist in 2001, which the Times openly states in its lead paragraph "will strengthen President-elect Donald J Trump's authority" to wage war when he enters office.
Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Micah Zenko didn't mince words in the Times when describing what the Obama administration is doing: "It's crazy," he said of the administration's redefining the law out of existence. "This administration leaves the Trump administration with tremendously expanded capabilities and authorities."
Make no mistake: Trump will have a free hand to use the law meant for the perpetrators of 9/11 to wage war around the world, fashioning it to different enemies at his command, and he will be able to point to precedent set by the Obama administration as he does it.