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Of all the weapons the United States carries in its military arsenal, its most powerful might be the 2001 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The post-9/11 blank check to fight evildoers covers everything: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq-Syria, Syria, the other thing we’re doing in Syria now, and a bunch of stuff in between. Invocations of the AUMF have gotten so out of hand, according to some critics, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing today to determine if Congress should start slapping down the executive’s reliance on it.

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Though die-hard Civil War buffs and history nerds can rattle off a list of famous Union and Confederate military leaders, there are two names that even laymen know: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Though their military careers are storied and well recorded, their personal lives, background, and post-Civil War lives are less known.

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