Eric Posner: "The War on Terror Will Be Ever With Us"

The War on Terror Will Be Ever With Us
Eric Posner
December 11, 2012

In a recent speech that generated some excited chatter in the blogosphere, Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's chief lawyer, hinted that the armed conflict with al-Qaida may be coming to an end:

I do believe that on the present course, there will come a tipping point—a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, such that al-Qaida as we know it, … has been effectively destroyed. At that point, we must be able to say to ourselves that our efforts should no longer be considered an “armed conflict” against al-Qaida.

The rose-colored-glasses perspective on this is as follows. The president obtained authority to wage war against al-Qaida from a statute called the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which Congress enacted shor