The Atlantic

How Can Congress Authorize War When It Can’t Decide What War Is?

There’s bipartisan agreement that the law governing America’s wars needs an update. There’s also bipartisan agreement that it won’t happen anytime soon.
Source: Jim Young / Reuters

In the past few years alone, the U.S. has launched military strikes in Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq—all in the name of fighting al-Qaeda and its later offshoot, the Islamic State. For the most part, Congress has accepted this. But as Trump-administration officials talk ever tougher about Iran, many Capitol Hill Democrats, and some Republicans, fear that the confrontation could spin out of control into a devastating conflict. And now they’re trying to claw back some of the power that the president—whom they view as dangerous and reckless—has to declare war.

Administration officials such as Mike Pompeo have made the rounds to argue for the connection between Iran and al-Qaeda. The president declares he wants

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