FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No Time for Cowboy Politics

Congress has approved resolutions giving the President 40 billion dollars and open-ended authority to use military force. The Senate and House have authorized him to attack any nation, organization or person involved in or that aided the September 11 terrorist attacks. The resolutions name no county or group as targets and contain no time limit. The only positive aspect of these resolutions is the fact that President Bush sought and received the approval of Congress, as the Constitution requires. However the use of unlimited military force that the resolutions allow is dangerous, irresponsible policy.

A massive military response against a country, presumably Afghanistan, appears unwarranted and could potentially kill thousands of civilians. The initial steps should be to identify, extradite, try and punish the perpetrators of these acts in a court of law. Only if this fails should force be used for effectuating arrests. The focus should be on the perpetrators and organizations; it should not be on wars with other nations.

Employing military force out of anger, for purposes of retaliation or to satisfy domestic outrage is unlawful and does nothing to end terrorism. Massive bombing continues the cycle of violence that invariable creates sympathizers who become the new terrorist. War will make us more vulnerable. In the wake of the embassy bombing in East Africa the U.S. used military tactics striking Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan killing innocent people. This did not stop or even slow terrorism. Arguably, those actions may have sown the seeds of September 11.

Dangerously this congressional resolution contains no time limit, no congressional oversight and no requirements that the President ever come back to Congress for additional authority. This, unlike prior authorizations of force e.g. authorization to use force in Lebanon, gives the President unlimited power without the checks and balances of the Constitution. It eviscerates congressional control over the use of force and puts the power of war into the hands of one man, leading us quickly from democracy to one-man rule.

The resolution permits the use of military force against nations that “aid[ed]” the September 11 attack “Aid” is a vague, broad concept that may permit attacks on nations with only a tenuous relationship to the terrorist acts. This determination will be made with no congressional check and without any requirement of congressional approval.

The President should obtain the authority of the U.N. Security Council to use military force. This is what his father did in going to war against Iraq. Multilateral action through the U.N. will be more effective in fighting terrorism than going it alone, obtaining such consent is both responsible law and policy.

Finally, we share in the hope that those responsible for these heinous acts will be caught and punished. But we fear that the course our country is currently embarked upon is fraught with danger for us all. CP

Michael Ratner is director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail