Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When does war end?

Mary L. Dudziak

David Levine begins a review of War Time by reflecting on the murky boundaries of war during his deployment in Iraq.  He writes in the Michigan Law Review that
while there was a reasonably clear beginning point for the exercise of these [war] powers—found in an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (“AUMF”) rather than a formal declaration of war—from the vantage point of June 2006, it was unclear whether or when this authority would cease. There was no enemy that could surrender or sign a peace treaty, or give some other sign that “war” had ended; the forces that the United States was fighting—variously, Sunni tribesmen, Shia militias, and foreign extremists—had changed significantly since the 2003 invasion and would even change during my yearlong deployment. Although, as an officer in the U.S. military, it was very clear for me when I was at war and when I was not, the temporal bounds of this “wartime” were actually quite murky for the U.S. government. That murkiness increased significantly when considering not only the war in Iraq but also the “Global War on Terror” writ large.
Levine takes up the implications for executive power, focusing on detention powers and the use of force in Libya.

Kenneth Anderson’s review has also just appeared in the Texas Law Review.

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