The Law that Gives the US President “License to Kill”


All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.



On September 18, 2001, a week after September 11, the United States Congress unanimously approved Public Law 107-40 which stated: “The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons that he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The Law, which gave Republican President George W. Bush full war powers, was drafted by Democratic Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Commission.

President Bush was thus authorized by Congress, in the name of the “war on terror”, to use military force not only against organizations or people but entire nations, whose guilt was decreed by the President himself, who passed the sentence without trial nor the possibility of appeal and ordered immediate execution by means of war. The only ones who have long called for the cancellation of this law are two senators, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Christopher Young, but their attempt has so far been unsuccessful.

The Law of September 18, 2001, still in force, was used after Republican President Bush by the Democrat Barack Obama, the Republican Donald Trump and the Democrat Biden (former Vice-president in the Obama Administration). It is estimated that it has been used by presidential order to “legitimize” in the last twenty years military operations carried out by the US armed forces in 19 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Cameroon, Niger.

Three weeks after the passing of the law, President Bush ordered to attack and invade Afghanistan, officially to hunt down Bin Laden protected by the Taliban; three months later, he ordered the opening of the Guantanamo prison camp, where alleged terrorists from various parts of the world were secretly deported and tortured; a year and a half later – prompted by a bipartisan resolution of 77 senators, promoted by Joe Biden – President Bush ordered to attack and invade Iraq with the accusation (later proved false) that it possessed weapons of mass destruction. The order was to use the knuckle duster to crush the resistance: this was confirmed by the images of the tortures in Abu Ghraib prison, which came to light in 2004.

Always on the basis of the 2001 law which authorized him to “use all necessary and appropriate force”, President Obama, ten years later, authorized the CIA to carry out covert operations in Libya in preparation for the NATO war that would demolish the Libyan State. According to the same “legal” procedure – the New York Times documented on May 29, 2012 – during the Obama administration the “kill list” was established, updated weekly, including people from all over the world secretly sentenced to death with the accusation of terrorism, who were eliminated for the most part with drone-killers after the President’s approval. The same procedure was followed in January 2020 by President Trump, who ordered the elimination of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed by a US drone at Baghdad airport. Similar attacks by US drones have been “legally” authorized in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Based on the authorization of President Biden, the most recent drone-killer attack was the one that hit a car suspected of carrying an ISIS bomb on August 29 in Kabul. An investigation by the New York Times (September 10) found that the car (followed for a long time by the drone pilot sitting thousands of kilometers away) was not carrying explosives but water tanks. A “Hellfire” missile was fired at this car in a densely populated neighborhood, killing ten civilians including seven children.


Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram, @crg_globalresearch. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Manlio Dinucci, award winning author, geopolitical analyst and geographer, Pisa, Italy. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image: Vice President Joe Biden, Austin, and Command Sergeant Major Earl Rice, at an event marking the award of the Iraq Commitment Medal in December 2011

Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page

Become a Member of Global Research

Articles by: Manlio Dinucci

About the author:

Manlio Dinucci est géographe et journaliste. Il a une chronique hebdomadaire “L’art de la guerre” au quotidien italien il manifesto. Parmi ses derniers livres: Geocommunity (en trois tomes) Ed. Zanichelli 2013; Geolaboratorio, Ed. Zanichelli 2014;Se dici guerra…, Ed. Kappa Vu 2014.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected] contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]