Beneath the noisy blather about where the president was born and the whole superficial pretense of disagreement and fundamental opposition between elected Republicans and Democrats, top Republicans in the House and Senate are attempting to give President Obama and his successors from whichever party absolute power to make war and absolute power to imprison.
Tom Andrews has blogged on this here.
There is legislation in both houses that would update the Authorization to Use Military Force passed a decade ago and purporting to legalize wars fought against those behind the 9-11 attacks. This new version would allow any president to start any war against “al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces,” as well as “nations, organizations, and persons who are part of or substantially supporting” any of the above.
If this legislation were passed it would formalize the current practice. We would hereby be permanently at war with nations, organizations, and individuals whom the president declares fit the requirements. And the president’s new unconstitutional but legislated war powers would include the power to lock anybody up until “the termination of hostilities.”
Or until the end of the earth, whichever comes first.