• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Support Our Annual Fund Drive!fund-drive-progress-thermometer

We only shake our readers down two times a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF

Photo by The U.S. Army | CC BY 2.0

As Congress pretends to restrain the already vast powers to wage war acceded to the executive branch we see further dereliction of duty resulting in shameful sorrows of empire and untold suffering abroad. A draft bill touted as reigning in the AUMF (authorization for use of military force) passed shortly after 9/11 in fact gives the executive branch an even greater blank check to wage war. In part, it allows the President to proclaim new enemies against whom any amount of force may be used, requiring two-thirds of Congress to reject that determination.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2018 which was released one week ago in essence “takes Congress’s constitutional power to declare war, in which the president can only act when provided congressional authorization, and inverts it, by giving the president the ability to act unless a supermajority of Congress stops them.”

The proposed bill is bipartisan, sponsored by 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans, showing that the dereliction of constitutional duty is systemic to Congress. The military and executive thus essentially oversee themselves, an obviously perilous dynamic. In 1961, President Eisenhower warned of the growing and unwarranted influence of the military industrial complex. Today, American people should see death on their doorstep, given the global slaughter wrought in their name.

Endless war is the destruction of civil society. Yet, like the 2001 & 2002 AUMF’s, the 2018 proposed bill has no time limit. Thus, America’s longest wars continue and new wars are waged at the behest of war profiteers with apparent ease. Presidents fight wars if they are permitted. In 2016 the Congressional Research Service found that Bush and Obama used AUMF to justify the use of military force 37 times in 14 countries. The decision to go to war is the most consequential decision a government can make. Today, that decision is made in the shadows, with little public scrutiny or debate.

Martin Luther King wrote 50 years ago (in 1968), “We must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”  War today is illegitimate and unjustifiable whether applying the principles of Just War Doctrine or moral philosophy (Kantian, Rawlsian, or utilitarian). The architects of the so-called global war on terror have sought to redefine war and the legal basis for fighting war. It is an obvious sham.  We must do everything possible to resist this sordid agenda.

Christopher Anders of the ACLU predicts that the AUMF of 2018 will “amp up war everywhere.” The war machine fueled by myopic greed and profit is built upon a fear factory of lies. We must ask ourselves: would we be so readily placated if there was a draft/military conscription? What does this reveal? What are we doing to stop senseless wars fought in our name? If we do nothing do we have blood on our hands? What should we be doing? What will we do?

More articles by:

William A. Cohn, professor of jurisprudence at New York University and lecturer on law, ethics and critical thinking at the University of New York in Prague, is the author of Led Astray: Legal and Moral Blowback from the Global War on Terror (Routledge, 2017).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
Richard Moser
The Empire Is Running Out of War Stories. Or is it? Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again?
Roger Harris
Why Trump is Facing Impeachment
Doug Lummis
Everything Going Wrong in Okinawa
Ramzy Baroud
Administrative Torture: Free Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian Citizen in Israeli Prison
Christopher Ketcham
Ode to the Drums of Ginger Baker
W. T. Whitney
Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia’s Socialist Government
Louis Proyect
Building Soldier Resistance Under the Shadows of Fascism
Mark Ashwill
Reflections on General Giap and the End of an Era in Vietnam
Gabriel Leão
Killing the Messengers: Rising Violence Against Journalists and Indigenous Leaders Defending the Amazon
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: All Talk No Action
Arthur Hoyle
The Meaning of Donald Trump
Dean Baker
Those Quaint Corporate Scandals in Japan
Laura Santina
Take Their Feet Off Our Necks
Julian Vigo
The New Workers’ Revolution is Afoot
Robert Koehler
The Rights of Nature
Dan Bacher
New Report Reveals Oil Waste in CA Aquifers
David Swanson
Trump’s Opponents Have Him Beat . . . When It Comes to Incompetence
Ben Debney
Liberals, Class and the Joker Complex
Brian Wakamo
Paying College Athletes: California Takes on the NCAA
Theo Wuest
Don’t Leave Equality to the Supreme Court
Jesse Jackson
To His Wealthy Donors, Trump is the Grifter
Mairead Maguire
Pathways to Peace
George Wuerthner
Logging Wild and Scenic River Corridors in the Name of Reducing Wildfires is a Really Bad Idea
Tracey L. Rogers
We Can’t Hug Away Injustice
Mike Garrity
How the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Stopped Trump From Bulldozing Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk Grizzly Bears into Extinction
Lawrence Wittner
Why Are Americans So Confused About the Meaning of “Democratic Socialism”?
Nicky Reid
Climate Cthulhu: A Post-Modern Horror Story
Seth Sandronsky
A Sacramento King’s Ransom: Local Tax Dollars and the Owner’s Wealth
Susan Block
Cougar 2020?
David Yearsley
Mother Mallard’s Little Boy Grows Up
Elliot Sperber
Taking Out Columbus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail