Niger attack fuels new push for war vote

Some lawmakers, citing the deaths of four U.S. soldiers ambushed by terrorists in Niger, called on Congress on Friday to reconsider the broad war authority it granted in 2001 — as the Pentagon telegraphed that more such missions in more places are likely in the offing.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced it will hear testimony next week from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the 16-year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force that is now being used to justify military operations in numerous countries.

Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in a statement that current threats make it “perhaps more important than ever that we have a sober national conversation about Congress’ constitutional role in authorizing the use of military force.”

For some on Capitol Hill, the attack in Niger highlights the need for updated legislation that takes into account the myriad operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups on several continents.

“The many questions surrounding the death of American service members in Niger show the urgent need to have a public discussion about the current extent of our military operations around the world,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), another panel member.

Such far-flung counter-terrorism missions are what critics like Kaine contend were never conceived of when Congress voted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to invade Afghanistan, where the Al Qaeda plot was conceived.

“The 2001 AUMF is not a blank check giving…

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