Both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post report today that the Obama administration is planning to exploit the disorder from the civil war in Yemen by dramatically escalating a CIA-led drone bombing campaign. In one sense, this is nothing new. Contrary to false denials, the U.S., under the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been bombing Yemen for the last two years, including one attack using cluster bombs that killed dozens of civilians. But what's new is that this will be a CIA drone attack program that is a massive escalation over prior bombing campaigns; as the Post put it: "The new tasking for the agency marks a major escalation of the clandestine American war in Yemen, as well as a substantial expansion of the CIA's drone war."
Leaving aside the standard issue -- that continuously slaughtering civilians in the Muslim world is going to exacerbate every problem which ostensibly justifies the bombing, beginning with Terrorism -- Kevin Drum asks the obvious question:
Exactly what theory of military action allows President Obama to do this without congressional approval? In Afghanistan and Nicaragua in the 80s, you could argue that we were merely funding allies, not fighting a war ourselves. In Grenada and Panama, you could argue that we were merely pursuing small-scale police actions.