Category Archives: Uncategorized

70 Years ago today: June 6, 1944 – June 6, 2014

by Travis Normand

Normandy - June 6, 1944

June 6, 2014 – It has been seventy years since June 6, 1944.

No single day of World War II was more important in turning the tide against the Nazis. Unfortunately, this came at great cost to American and Allied troops, as more than 4,400 servicemen died.

[NPR “The National Conversation”] AUMF: Reasserting the Role of Congress

by Jessica Poarch Hernandez 

Debate over the future of the AUMF is surfacing in both public and private arenas. Recently, NPR and The Wilson Center hosted a panel discussion entitled “AUMF: Reasserting the Role of Congress” which featured Senator Bob Corker, Sarah Chayes, and Neal Katyal. The discussion, as the name implies, focused not on the constitutionality of the AUMF but on the balance of power associated with it. In fact, in her opening remarks, Jane Harman, the CEO of The Wilson Center, reminded the crowd that war powers are divided. Questions such as, “Is the AUMF necessary for the President to act,” “Is the AUMF too broad,” and “If the AUMF needs to be revised what needs to be replaced” were taken up.

There was not much of a debate, however. Ms. Chayes described it best when she told the audience that they had come for a heated panel and instead got a chorus. All of the panelist seemed to agree that the war powers, post-AUMF, are not being appropriately balanced between the Executive and Legislative branches and together called for Congress to take more “ownership” of the conflicts we are in. Where there was some disagreement was in the question of whether or not to revise or just completely repeal the AUMF. One suggestion that I found interesting was Senator Corker’s suggestion that the next AUMF be structured on a tier system that would give the President authority to act alone in certain instances but require him to get Congressional approval in others. This seems to directly track Jackson’s conception of Presidential Power in Youngstown which assessed the President’s power based on the actions of Congress. This was not the only solution offered by the panel. In any event, regardless of the chosen solution, the panel’s conclusion remains paramount – Congress must act.

Overall I found this discussion to be a refreshing and practical discourse on a complicated issue.

Listen to the discussion here. 

[Article] The Case for Drones

by Travis Normand


The Case for Drones, by Kenneth Anderson – June 2013 –

How, exactly, did drone warfare and targeted killing become key elements in America’s counterterrorism strategy? And why should we care about them as essential national-security tools for the future?

Read the rest HERE

Invisible Armies: A book and interactive timeline

by Jessica Poarch

NIAC style warfare -armed conflict that is not between two governments with uniformed soldiers – has been around since ancient times. In his new book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, Max Boot attempted to write a “one-stop destination…for the general reading public interested [in the subject of guerrilla warfare]*.” He begins the book by discussing the origins of guerrilla warfare and ends with current conflicts.* 

For more information on the book and an overview of the text visit the Council on Foreign Relation’s website.

Also on the CFR’s website is an interesting interactive timeline/ tracker that shows conflicts from 1775-2012. Here the reader can sort by Region, Country or Outcome to explore conflict through the centuries.

*Page xxi of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present by Max Boot

by Travis Normand

I have posted before that I would share any links that I found to be particularly interesting.  After all, I add so many links to the left hand column of this blog, that I have no doubt many of them go unnoticed.  However, I recently stumbled upon a very interesting and informative site titled  It is a simplistic site, but is full of information and links to sources and scholarly material.  It is worth checking out if you haven’t done so already.

You can find the site by clicking HERE, or going to

Here is the header from the site: is a free, non-profit, critically annotated aid to philosophical studies of warfare. It is owned and maintained by Mark Rigstad, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Oakland University (a “Military Friendly School”) that offers in-state tuition to all U.S. military veterans. It is supported through the sale of JWT-shirts. All profits (if any) go to UNICEF.


Pentagon to Award Medals for Drone Strikes

Distinguished Warfare Medal-17K

This image released by the Department of Defense shows the . . . newly announced Distinguished Warefare Medal. The Pentagon is creating the new medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations but do it from afar. The medal will be awarded to individuals for “extraordinary achievement” related to a military operation. (AP Photo/Department of Defense)Link to source

Click HERE to see enlarged photo of medal.

Continue reading listed on State Bar of Texas’ website

by Travis Normand

I was informed today that the State Bar of Texas has listed the on the Texas law blog page of their website.  It is an honor to be included, and I would like to thank the State Bar of Texas for listing this site among so many other great legal blogs. is one of 140 blogs that are listed on the website.  It can be found under the heading “International Law” and is currently the first, and only, international law blog listed!

You can see the entire list of blogs HERE.

Continue reading

A Quick Discussion on Drone Strikes in Yemen

by Jessica Poarch

With the death of some of its top leadership al-Qaeda’s power based has shifted into Yemen. With this influx of power and presence has come more drone strikes by the U.S. As the bombs fall news articles and blog post spring up to bring to the World’s attention the questions, realities,  tragedies and triumphs surrounding the attacks; I have included a few below as a catalyst for thought or conversation on the issue.

Wired Blogger Noah Shachtman wrote, “29 dead in a little over a week. Nearly 200 gone this year. The White House is stepping up its campaign of drone attacks in Yemen, with four strikes in eight days. And not even the slaying of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States’ secretive, undeclared war.”

What are the effects of the Drone strikes on al-Qaeda? The Washington Post reported in May that the killing of civilians in drone strike bread resentment for the U.S. among Yemenis and strengthened their sympathies for the militant group; what the article calls a “marked radicalization of the local population.” In the same article, the Washington Post states that the strikes “have significantly weakened al-Qaeda’s capabilities.”

Are the strikes pushing the Yemeni population toward al-Qaeda? In the article sited above, the Washington Post says yes. However, this may not mean an increase is recruits to the group. Christopher Swift, after conducting interviews with “tribal leaders, Islamist politicians, Salafist clerics, and other sources” writes that it is economic factors and not the Drone strike that push new recruits toward al-Qaeda. The article states, “Though critical of the U.S. drone campaign, none of the Islamists and Salafists I interviewed believed that drone strikes explain al Qaeda’s burgeoning numbers. ‘The driving issue is development,’ an Islamist parliamentarian from Hadramout province said. ‘Some districts are so poor that joining al Qaeda represents the best of several bad options.’ (Other options include criminality, migration, and even starvation.) A Salafi scholar engaged in hostage negotiations with AQAP agreed. ‘Those who fight do so because of the injustice in this country,” he explained. “A few in the north are driven by ideology, but in the south it is mostly about poverty and corruption.”’

What is clear is that the Yemeni population is highly concerned with civilian casualties. It is the death of civilians that is sited by the Washington Post as string movement in support of the militant group and it is the death of civilians sited time in again in the interviews mentioned above that breads disapproval of the strikes among the interviewees. One interviewee “explained that Yemenis could ‘accept [drones] as long as there are no more civilian casualties.’An Islamist member of the separatist al-Harak movement offered a similar assessment. ‘Ordinary people have become very practical about drones,’ he said. ‘If the United States focuses on the leaders and civilians aren’t killed, then drone strikes will hurt al Qaeda more than they help them.'”

However, The Economist’s recent article seems to suggest broader disapproval of the strikes which are not voiced due to the necessity of U.S. support for the Yemeni government.