Last Tuesday, the 13th of June, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked if there was no legal authorization from Congress to target Syrian President Bashar Assad or Iranian proxies, Tillerson answerd, “I would agree with that.”
Secretary of State Tillerson is mistaken. There is plenary and continuing congressional authorization under the 2001 Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the President to attack any country, organization, or person at all responsible for the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. And, there is sufficient and conclusive evidence that Iran aided and abetted some of the 9/11 attackers before and after September 11, 2001.
Therefore, there is full current authorization for President Trump to attack any Iranian-backed militias anywhere in the world, including but not limited to, those in Syria.
Exactly what was passed by the Congress 7 days after the United States was attacked by the Islamic barbarians in 2001?
On Sep 18, 2001, the Congress of the United States of America passed S.J. Res. 23 an Authorization of War under the United States Constitution authorizing the President, from then-President Bush, through Obama, to President Trump to engage in any military action against those who fall under the following conditions::
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
• This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force’.
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
• (a) IN GENERAL– That the President is authorized 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.
Not that there are two sets of critical language, the first is the “aided the terrorists” language, and secondly there is the “harbored such organizations or persons.”
Wikipedia sketches out the elemental facts:
The U.S. indictment of bin Laden filed in 1998 stated that al-Qaeda “forged alliances . . . with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies.”
On May 31, 2001, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “Officials of the Iranian government helped arrange advanced weapons and explosives training for Al-Qaeda personnel in Lebanon where they learned, for example, how to destroy large buildings.”
The 9/11 Commission Report stated that 8 to 10 of the hijackers had previously passed through Iran and their travel was facilitated by Iranian border guards. The report also found “circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of these future muscle hijackers into Iran in November 2000.”
Judge George B. Daniels ruled in a federal district court in Manhattan that Iran bears legal responsibility for providing “material support” to the 9/11 plotters and hijackers in Havlish, et al. v. Osama bin Laden, Iran, et al. Included in Judge Daniels’ findings were claims that Iran “used front companies to obtain a Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulator for training the terrorists”.
Ramzi bin al-Shibh traveled to Iran in January 2001, and an Iranian government memorandum from May 14, 2001 demonstrates Iranian culpability in planning the attacks. Defectors from Iran’s intelligence service testified that Iranian officials had “foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.”
Therefore, there is sufficient open-source information to invoke the 2001 AUMF to include Iran and any force assisted by Iran.
Regarding Iranian post-9/11 activities harboring al Qaeda there is extensive evidence regarding Iranian guilt. For example there was January 16, 2009 US Treasury Memorandum entitled Treasury Targets Al Qaida Operatives in Iran which goes into extensive detail of Iran’s active involvement in harboring and protecting al Qaeda and its operatives.
There is a more than sufficient factual predicate to invoke the 2001 AUMF against Iran, and its affiliates.
President trump has full and plenary US Constitutional authority to wipe out Iran, and its affiliates in Syria or anywhere else for that matter, if he chooses to do so.