[…] And so now President Biden has announced a withdrawal date from Afghanistan exactly two decades after 9/11. It’s fitting. Politically determined deadlines invested with great importance by presidents have long been a staple of the war. The question for Americans concerned about “forever wars,” though, is how meaningful this withdrawal will actually be.
After all, over the decades the war in Afghanistan hasn’t just generated endless rationales for its own existence, it’s generated rationales for other wars as well. Soon after 9/11, Congress passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that allowed the president to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks. Though intended for the Taliban and al Qaeda, this language later stretched to justify attacks on al-Shabaab in Somalia, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, the Khorosan Group in Syria, and others. By the Trump administration the precedent was firmly set. If you’d like to occupy Kurdish-controlled Syrian oilfields, or kill an Iranian general, the AUMF was your justification. “Dems should raise the minimum wage using the 2001 AUMF” joked Yale Law professor Scott Shapiro recently on Twitter. And why not? Using an authorization intended to fight the Taliban as an excuse to operate in 17 other countries (Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Niger, and so on) while leaving Afghanistan itself is only slightly less ludicrous. Läs artikel