Summary of 60 Words and a War Without End

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60 Words and a War Without End summary

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Award-winning journalist Greg Johnsen explains how a law Congress hastily passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks has given rise to a new set of presidential powers that the country’s founding fathers never wanted a US president to have. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening piece to the general reader interested in the historical and legal background of America’s seemingly unending war on terrorism. 

About the Author

Greg Johnsen is a writer at large for BuzzFeed News and is based in Istanbul. 


Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez’s team drafted a resolution authorizing the US president to go after the perpetrators of the attack. After a short back-and-forth between members of Congress and White House lawyers, the two parties settled on a resolution that gave the president the power to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against the 9/11 perpetrators “to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.” The resolution, known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), was only 60 words long and specified no end date. Still in...

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