On September 14, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a “state of emergency,” granting himself nine additional “emergency” powers, mostly centered on increasing the size of the military and mobilizing for war. On September 23 of that year, he granted himself broad additional powers to regulate economic transactions abroad.
The state of emergency was supposed to last a year, and President Bush dutifully, every single year, extended the state for another year. Today, President Obama did the same, securing yet another year in which America is in a state of official “emergency.”
The decision came off without much fanfare, likely because it undermines the official narrative that the global war on terror is either over or coming to an end shortly.
The president’s claims of emergency have long sense lost any semblance of relation to actual, imminent threats against targets inside the US, though at this point the idea that a president can unilaterally grant himself additional powers as he sees fit simply by saying “emergency” must seem like a foolish decision, and it’s hard to imagine Obama, or any future president, willingly relinquishing it.
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