The Eternal War
Andrew Bacevich writes:
Twelve and a half years after Congress didn’t declare war on an organization of hundreds or, at most, thousands of jihadis scattered mainly across the backlands of the planet, and instead let President George W. Bush and his cohort loose to do whatever they wanted; twelve and a half years after the president, his top officials, his neocon supporters, assembled pundits, and others swore we were nonetheless “at war” and the country in “wartime,” after our media beat the drums for “war” and assured us that “war” was our fate, after followers of the president insisted we were entering a monumental, multigenerational struggle, or even World War IV; twelve and a half years after the war that hadn’t been declared was launched and the bombing of Afghanistan began, after the CIA and Washington targeted up to 80 countries in a “worldwide attack matrix” — later given the leave-no-location-out name the Global War on Terror — and after top Washington officials swore we would soon “drain the [global] swamp,” another president has now assured us that someday, in a distant future, in a way that we might not even notice (“Our victory against terrorism won’t be measured in a surrender ceremony at a battleship…”), we might possibly find ourselves approaching the sort-of-end of what will have been a 20- or 30-year conflict.
See also Obama renews his anti-terrorism strategy.
And this Congressional testimony from the Pentagon:
And don’t expect that to change. On Thursday, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan went before Congress and insisted that the Defense Department couldn’t be more “comfortable” with AUMF, as it was written, and that not a word should be altered or amended for changed circumstances. The Pentagon was so comfortable, in fact, that its officials foresee using that resolution to continue its drone-powered “dirty wars” in the Greater Middle East and Africa for years to come. “In my judgment,” Sheehan said, “this is going to go on for quite a while, yes, beyond the second term of the president… I think it’s at least 10 to 20 years.”
Ah, 9/11. A criminal activity only requiring good policing work.
Time for the draft and a reshowing of: A Taste of Armageddon
“Death, destruction, disease, horror. That’s what war is all about, Anan. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided.”
How do you stop a virtual reality scenario in a day and age of policy based on conclusions drawn from the virtual reality scenario? I don’t know the answer. I do know that Cheney’s 1% doctrine is the virtual reality we live in.
Pakistan’s New Prime Minister: US Drone Attacks ‘Must End’ – In a speech before the Pakistan parliament on Wednesday, newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received overwhelming applause when he declared that forcing the US government to end its drone bombing campaign in the nation’s tribal areas would be one of his top priorities.
The deadly US drone strikes in the tribal areas have been a source of consistent and widespread outrage in Pakistan, but the US government under President Obama has continued the practice despite popular popular and government warnings saying that they undermine stability in the country and generate more anti-Americanism throughout the region.
we did declare war; it was the 911 AUMF. that was kind of a big deal, so I’m surprised the commenter forgot about it.
I believe the article refers to war on terror., worldwide
WWII was the last time Congress issued a formal declaration of war. The AUMF was Congress vesting in the executive the War Powers Clause. This, for numerous reasons, ran afoul of separation of powers by vesting in the Executive what was Constitutionally reserved for the Congress, the ability to wage war into perpetuity.
“IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons 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 international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
House of Representatives vote: 420 Ayes, 1 Nay and 10 Not Voting.
Senate vote: 98 Ayes, 0 Nays, 2 Present/Not Voting
Yeah, but it’s clear from the vote that both houses of Congress authorized exactly what is going on. One can get caught up in the technicalities of what constitutes a declaration of war, but to what purpose? Anything one could have drafted that would have satisfied a critic’s definition of “declaration of war” would have passed that Congress and, of course, technically, this Congress could rescind, void, or repeal the AUMF if it wished to do so.
The distinction is important vis-a-vis delegation of Constitutional powers from one branch to the other. It sets a bad precedent. But let’s be clear about a couple of things. The problem with this delegation of powers–particularly as it pertains to war/military operations–is not a nascent phenomena born from the AUMF. The AUMF is shocking because of how broad and open-ended it is. There is nothing, I mean literally nothing, in that legislation that even hints at an end date/event.
However, on the more macro level, the concern I have is that Congress has loosened its grip on the War Powers Clause over the past several decades, all to the gain of the Executive. We saw this with the Nixon Administration where, during Vietnam, Congress repealed the Tonkin Resolution in 1970, yet the Vietnam War/Conflict lasted for another 5 years or so. So, as to your comment about Congress rescinding the AUMF, yes, they could, but would it have an effect?
The Nixon years also brought about the War Powers Resolution, which was an attempt by Congress to rein in Executive power vis-a-vis conducting war/military operations. It hasn’t worked. Clinton continued the bombing campaign in Kosovo going past deadlines set out in the WPR, as did Obama in Libya.
Labels are not important, so I can understand your question about declaration of war vs military operations. What is important is the source of such declarations or authorizations–which, regarding declaration of war, usually imply the Congress. That is what is paramount in my concern; control of our foreign policy and the use of our military has shifted from Congress to the Executive. Yes, the President is Constitutionally provided the authority to speak for the nation on international matters, but that is not without restraint, and does not include the unquestioned use of our military in pursuit of those matters, or else the Framers would not have so explicitly delineated between the two powers (War Powers and the authority to direct foreign policy).
All true but it is also true that if Congress wished to change our course, it could. It could refuse to fund further combat operations. It could repeal the Patriot Act. It won’t do either of those things or anything else that would change our course. That inaction, in the present circumstances, constitutes approval of the administration’s behavior.
well, just to put what we are doing back in context
American was once the Beacon of Liberty.
Now it is Death From an Empty Sky.
We are making enemies who will hate us forever. All on the insane precept that we can “kill enough mosquitoes” to make ourselves safe.
Sorry for those offended by “mosquitoes.” I dont think of people that way. But the fact is that there are hundreds of millions of “potential terrorists” and we are not going to kill them all one at a time, or even by carpet bombing or nuclear bombing as some suggest.
we have… or had … a chance to let the bombers make themselves so hated in their own country that people would turn away from them in disgust.
instead we have made them heroes and martyrs.
not to make america safer, as it turns out, but to entrench the power of our own internal enemies (we call them congressmen) and the fantasies of a series of idiot presidents… who regard people as less than mosquitoes, but more like little “icons” they can wipe out on a video game.
When do you think America was a beacon of Liberty? During the French and Indian wars; the whiskey rebellion, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, or anything other than WWII? Even that war included the fire bombing of Dresden and other cities and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Really, when exactly?
Slightly OT but since I’ve been hearing so much about a ‘red line’ being crossed and increased supply of [heavier] weapons to the so-called rebels, it seems that we may want to know who crossed that ‘line’.
May 10, 2013
GENEVA — U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.
Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general who also served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, gave no details as to when or where sarin may have been used.
Convoluted Geopolitics but U.S. vs EU [might even think of inter-imperialist rivalry through mediation of N Africa, the Horn and more strictly ME].
Oh well, a notion………………