Happy 17th Birthday To The Forever War

Code Red News

It's the 17th birthday of the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave President George W. Bush and every president since a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists.


Passed on Sep. 14, 2001, and signed into law on Sep. 18, the AUMF authorized the President to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Although some members of Congress believed at the time the law may be considered overly broad, most believed it would only apply to members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or nations and groups with a direct connection to the 9/11 attack. Only one member of Congress voted against it, California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee.

The AUMF was used as intended to deploy troops to Afghanistan days after Bush's signature. A year later, it was being used to justify deploy troops to the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — and it hasn't slowed down since.

Related: Thousands Of Troops Are Deployed To Combat Zones, But We Haven’t Declared War In Decades »

The seemingly-narrow group of folks one would think were involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to AUMF deployments, has also led to deployments to Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and the Horn of Africa — not to mention Iraq. President Barack Obama even deployed troops to fight against ISIS, which didn't exist at the time of the attacks, under the auspices of the AUMF.

So happy birthday, AUMF. Despite some members of Congress attempting to replace you with something more specific — or, perhaps, do their constitutional duty of oversight of the nation's wars — you have stayed the course and have allowed them to not have to take part in tough votes that could hurt their reelection chances.

Cpl. Reece Lodder/US Marine Corps
Photo: Lance Cpl. Taylor Cooper

The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.

Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.

"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.

When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.

The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.

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Photo: U.S. Army

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Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.

On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.

Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.

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That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.

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