Obama’s Breathtaking Expansion of a President’s Power to Make War

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Jack Goldsmith, a senior fellow at Hoover, discusses the legal aspects of President Obama’s foreign policy. He demonstrates how Obama has expanded the constitutional powers to use force, particularly for humanitarian causes as he did in Libya in 2011, Syria in 2013, and the current Iraq and Syria crises in 2014.  He next explains how the Obama administration, despite claiming that the controversial War Powers Resolution is legitimate, has gutted the legislation by defining “hostilities” more broadly than ever before.  Finally, Goldsmith outlines the paradox of Obama’s use of the 2001 authorization to use military force in the current fight against ISIS.  Ultimately, Goldsmith argues, these broad and surprising expansions of the president’s power to make war have led to a pattern of stealth wars, ad hoc decision making, a failure of leadership, and an expansion of “forever wars.”