WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Daesh that Congress is preparing will give President Barack Obama unlimited powers to declare war contrary to the US Constitution, US historians told Sputnik.
"The proposed AUMF, with its intent to give virtually unlimited powers to the President, is a direct assault upon the Constitutional order of the United States, a virtual coup d’etat," ex-US Army Major and former Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyer Todd Pierce told Sputnik on Friday.
According to the US Constitution, sole power to declare war rests with the Congress. However, the AUMF, which enjoys strong bi-partisan support, will give the US president the legal authority to unleash war operations in any country where he determines Daesh may be a threat.
"The United States looks at ‘potential military options’ for every location in the world… Unlike mere contingency planning, however, we have seen for 15 years now that ‘potential military options’ are planned steps for future military expansion," Pierce, a historian of US presidential power said.
The sweeping scope of the powers offered to Obama in the AUMF reflected the confusion in Congress over conditions in Libya, where Daesh was a serious menace, and how to fight it, former US Foreign Service Officer and historian William Blum told Sputnik.
Far from destroying the Islamic State in countries where it operates, US military actions actually helped the terror group grow rapidly by inflicting civilian casualties and wrecking organized societies in those nations, Pierce maintained.
"Apart from enriching our own military industrial complex, US military operations are self-evidently only serving the interests of groups such as the Islamic State, which owes its existence to the Iraq War, besides increasing the threat and numbers of terrorists," Pierce pointed out.
The AUMF would also mark a giant step toward the consolidation of full military powers in the presidency, without Congress retaining any counter-balancing procedures, he warned.
"By centralizing war decision-making in the so-called commander-in-chief, the same office assumed by the German president in the 1930’s, we have recreated the same type of ‘command authority’ exercised in Germany in the 1940’s," Pierce argued.
The AUMF is the latest step in a process of creating a more militaristic commander-in-chief, but such a centralization of power would lead to worse war-making decisions, not better ones, he predicted.
There will be "an increased likelihood of the sort of national security decision-making which led the Wehrmacht to Stalingrad," he said.
On Thursday, former Republican Congressman Ron Paul said that if Congress approves the AUMF, the US Constitution will become a dead letter.