License to Kill: Lawyering in the War on Terror
License to Kill: Lawyering in the War on Terror
Podcast / United States 1 minutes

License to Kill: Lawyering in the War on Terror

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Stephen Pomper, Crisis Group’s Interim Chief of Policy, about the legal basis for the “war on terror” and how successive American administrations have used sweeping 2001 legislation for an ever-expanding war against jihadist militants. 

Only days after the 9/11 attacks, Congress ushered in extraordinarily broad legislation that authorised President Bush to use military force in order to eliminate terrorist threats to the U.S. In this episode of Hold Your Fire! – the second in a podcast series looking at the legacy of the 9/11 attacks – Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh are joined by Stephen Pomper, Crisis Group's Interim Chief of Policy, to discuss the lasting legacy of this Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). They discuss the forthcoming Crisis Group report on the topic, “Overkill: Reforming the Legal Basis for the War on Terror”, reflecting on how the AUMF became the legal basis for increasingly wide-ranging military actions embraced by successive administrations, from Bush to Biden, as the fighting against Islamist militants expanded in scope. They also discuss the role of law and lawyers in establishing the boundaries of presidential authority and the consequences of diminished congressional oversight.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our United States page. This episode also features as part of our series The Legacy of 9/11 and the "War on Terror”


Executive Vice President
Naz Modirzadeh
Board Member and Harvard Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts
Chief of Policy

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