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Tag Archive: Iraq

Bringing the AUMF Debate Back to its Constitutional Roots, and Recent History

A U.S. Army howitzer firing at Islamic State positions in Iraq in 2016.

Last Friday, Rita Siemion published an insightful analysis of the Trump Administration’s first meaningful public statement on its authority for the ISIS war, which came in the form of a letter from the State Department to Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Bob Corker.…   continue »

Letter to the Editor: There Is Much More to a Civilian Casualty Investigation than Eyewitness Accounts


I applaud and agree with Sarah Knuckey’s, Ole Solvang’s, Jonathan Horowitz’s and Radhya Almutawakel’s recent post (“Pentagon Admits Major Investigation Flaw: imeshey Rarely Talk to Air Strike Witnesses or Victims”) to the extent it suggests that more witness interviews would be helpful when investigating incidents involving civilian deaths, but their over-reliance on witness statements illustrates a lack of awareness about the limitations and hazards of what they call their “bedrock” fact-finding technique.…   continue »

Pentagon Admits Major Investigation Flaw: They Rarely Talk to Air Strike Witnesses or Victims


In a transcript of a Pentagon Press Briefing, released this week by Airwars, Central Command’s Deputy Director for Operations made a striking admission about U.S. investigations into civilian casualties in Syria:

Q:  Okay.  So, you didn’t talk to anybody on the ground and nobody visited the site. 

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America’s AUMF Problem: Tomorrow’s Senate Hearing and a New Proposal from Eliot Engel

Events over the last several weeks show that not only is the AUMF issue not going away, but that Congress continues to inch closer to agreement. This Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on “Reviewing Congressional Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.” As readers well know, the executive branch continues to rely on the war authorization Congress passed a week after the 9/11 attacks.…   continue »

Changes to Rules of Engagement Approval Levels and Civilian Casualties

Anyone serious about combating ISIS and minimizing civilian casualties needs to consider the importance of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in Iraq and Syria.  We offer our thoughts on the ROE in the hope of deepening, if not starting, conversation. First, we examine the application of ROE in light of the ISIS tactic of packing civilians into a building and then baiting an attack. …   continue »

ISIS Tactic of “Baiting” US-Coalition to Kill Civilians–and who bears responsibility


Many are searching for an explanation for the recent spike in civilian casualties resulting from coalition operations in Iraq and Syria, including specific incidents which have reportedly involved particularly high numbers. On Thursday, the Department of Defense described to reporters a particularly gruesome tactic on the part of ISIS that may explain some of these tragic outcomes.…   continue »