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The US Congress
The US Congress has introduced a resolution that would give the US president wide latitude of powers to wage war on other countries as part of the "war on terror."

The fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization bill, sponsored by Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee will expand the legal basis for the war on terror and is moving through Congress amid harsh criticism from civil liberties groups, The Washington Times reported on Wednesday.

The proposed legislation clearly states that "the president has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the authorization for use of military force."

The resolution, known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, comes less than two weeks after the US Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in his compound in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan.

It is expected to replace legislation endorsed by the US Congress on Sept. 14, 2001 that authorized war on the people and groups that planned and carried out the September 11 attacks on the twin World Trade Center buildings in New York.

The provision was basically used by US lawmakers as a legal basis for expansion of the US administration's powers to detain suspected terrorists without a fair trial and to authorize non-UN-sanctioned drone attacks as well as other clandestine military operations in countries where the US is not formally at war, the report says.

Meanwhile, many civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have seethed at the bill, saying the move will give any American president the unprecedented power to take US to wars wherever, whenever and however he or she wishes.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the proposed bill is problematic as it does not specify an end date to the so-called war on terror, adding that the legislation is widely viewed as a frantic attempt to find the end to the escalating conflicts and abuses of power in the name of fighting terrorism.