The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this Wednesday on the proposed 2018 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), co-sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), was in many ways a model of how democracy should work. The witnesses were expert and prepared, the Senators’ questions were thoughtful and informed, and everyone who participated was sober and respectful. Would that we approached more of our national decision-making this way. At the same time, it became apparent that senators’ views about whether this bill would be more or less effective than the existing 2001 AUMF in constraining presidential power to use force are based on misapprehensions about where we are under current law. (Recall the current AUMF, passed just after the attacks of 9/11, has since been invoked as the law authorizing everything from the invasion of Afghanistan and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay; to drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria; to the military detention of U.S. citizens (including one currently held in U.S. military custody in Iraq) accused of membership in one of the terrorist groups the law covers.) Herewith, some assertions (several of them from both sides of the aisle) made Wednesday that could use some important qualifications, constitutional qualifications included. Balkinization This creates more problems than it solves. Like the 2001 AUMF, the Corker-Kaine bill contains no geographic restrictions, limits on duration, or on the amount or kind of force to be used (from drone strikes to ground invasion). I am more than concerned about the direction this is going.