The House of Representatives today is due to take up the 2012 funding bill for the Department of Defense, and as Heritage’s Cully Stimson writes in today’s Washington Times, it’s bringing with it some controversy:
[The bill] reaffirms that the United States is in a state of armed conflict with “al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces” and that the president has authority to “detain certain belligerents until the termination of hostilities.”Neither statement presents anything new. The first simply reflects the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The second has long been the rule in the law of armed conflict. Both reflect positions taken consistently by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and the Supreme Court.
Yet outfits like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the New York Times and the far-left Moveon.org are up in arms. The ACLU and its allies wrote to Congress calling the detainee language a “Declaration of War.” The Gray Lady slammed the bill in a recent editorial, asserting it would “make the war on terror a permanent and limitless aspect of life on earth” and somehow create a “huge potential for abuse.”
The irony is that the repetitive claims of these critics, namely that the original AUMF did not include the power to detain or even the word “detain,” is one of the driving forces behind this legislation.