U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani. @Adobe Stock Images.

Seventeen years ago the US went to war on the strength of a single sentence: 60 words that were written, debated, and voted upon before the US even knew for certain who was behind the 9/11 attacks. In those panic-stricken early days, action mattered more than knowledge. And on September 14, 2001, three days after the attacks and with the rubble in New York and Washington still smoking, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, by an overwhelming margin: 98–0 in the Senate, and 420–1 in the House.

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