AUMF, Never-Ending War, and America’s ‘Instruments of Tyranny’


“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” -James Madison

As previously discussed in these spaces by Kelley Vlahos, Lucy Steigerwald, and myself, a group of senators are mulling a revision to the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. In Senate testimony today, several Pentagon officials tried to dissuade making any changes to the law, which has been notoriously beneficial to the expansion of the warfare state and terribly detrimental to the rule of law, government transparency, and human liberty in general.

Indeed, “the AUMF opened the doors to the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya; attacks on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Mali; the new drone bases in Niger and Djibouti; and the killing of American citizens, notably Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old noncombatant son,” write Michael Shank and Matt Southworth in the Guardian.

“It is what now emboldens the hawks on the warpath to Syria, Iran and North Korea,” they add.

One of the witnesses today, Assistant Secretary for Special Operations Michael Sheehan, said keeping the 2001 AUMF in place is important to facilitate the ongoing “war on terrorism,” which, he said, will last “at least ten to twenty [more] years.” And thanks to the terse wording of the law, that war has no geographic limit. Any individual or group unilaterally deemed an “associated force” by top officials can be targeted by the U.S. war machine anywhere in the world. And this extraordinary power cannot be rescinded until the overlords in the White House and the Pentagon say so.

It’s ironic that Sheehan made such a dramatic prediction of continuing to fight this “war,” if you can call it that, for another ten to twenty years when top national security officials have been noting publicly al-Qaeda’s growing irrelevance. Danger Room:

It was just two months ago the top U.S. intelligence official testified that al-Qaida had been battered by the U.S. into a state of disarray. A year ago, the current CIA director, John Brennan, said that “For the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al Qaeda core is simply no longer relevant.” Just this week, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel, told a Florida conference that he was looking at missions beyond the counterterrorism manhunt.

So why insist on keeping the blank-check-for-war AUMF intact?

First, the 2001 AUMF was a wet dream for the Masters of War in Washington who yearn for the day when any and all constraints on their actions in the realm of “national security” would evaporate. It carries with it immense, unchecked power that they are wont to preserve.

Second, in order to continue to carry out their Imperial Grand Strategy, they need to perpetuate a bogeyman. Without a monster to destroy, the public is much less apt to grant the state carte blanche to make war at will and keep it secret.

In an interview last year, former Secretary of State Colin Powell lamented, in a moment of candor, the fall of the Soviet Union. He described, admittedly with some irony, how apparently remorseful he and others in the military establishment were that America “lost our best enemy.” He said it was “one of the biggest challenges” he “ever faced” when the Cold War ended. That is, when we became much safer as opposed to when we might have faced a new enemy.

Absent the pretext of the Soviet threat, the thinking goes, how will we justify the expanding military and national security state? Powell says of the trumped up Soviet “threat” in no uncertain terms, “we’ve got a good thing going here.” The system – the “whole structure,” as he calls it, far from aiming to eliminate threats, “depended on there being a Soviet Union that might attack us.”

Al-Qaeda’s unlikely success on 9/11 helped change all that, and ever since, Washington has had a bogeyman to help justify expanding the warfare state.

In the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Micah Zenko and Michael A. Cohen argue that we have a system that fuels unnecessary alarm and paranoia. “Warnings about a dangerous world also benefit powerful bureaucratic interests,” they write. “The specter of looming dangers sustains and justifies the massive budgets of the military and the intelligence agencies, along with the national security infrastructure that exists outside government — defense contractors, lobbying groups, think tanks, and academic departments.”

With any luck, the pleadings of the highest Pentagon officials won’t be heeded and AUMF can, as it should, be repealed. Unfortunately, that is not at all likely.

Source: Blog

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
James Bovard 27
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 385
Pass Blue 330
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 16
John Pilger 423
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3197
FEE 5253
Marine Le Pen 403
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1168
Mohamed Omar 403
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 19
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 137
Vetenskapsradion Historia 187
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 252
Les Crises 3547
Richard Falk 210
Ian Sinclair 129
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 11730
Kafila 594
Gail Malone 43
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 10965
Vanessa Beeley 197
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5970
Paul Craig Roberts 2372
News Junkie Post 66
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 5859
Sir Ken Robinson 25
Stephan Kinsella 114
Liberty Blitzkrieg 879
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 3989
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 101
David D. Friedman 162
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1537
Tom Dispatch 606
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4931
The Barnes Review 582
John Friend 522
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 162
New Eastern Outlook 4741
School Sucks Project 1811
Giza Death Star 2126
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 666
GMWatch 2548
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1134
Le 4ème singe 91
Jacob Cohen 219
Agora Vox 18658
Cercle Des Volontaires 452
Panamza 2517
Fairewinds 119
Project Censored 1222
Spy Culture 613
Conspiracy Archive 84
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 630
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 985
Independent Science News 87
The Anti Media 6877
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 314
The Mind renewed 456
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1094
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 162
Porkins Policy Review 453
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 639
Libyan War Truth 361
DeadLine Live 1916
Kevin Ryan 67
Aaron Franz 265
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 157
Peter B Collins 1744
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 11682
Climate Audit 227
Donna Laframboise 500
Judith Curry 1176
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2660
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 93
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 13263
Laura Wells Solutions 48
Video Rebel's Blog 466
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 22471
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3293
Northerntruthseeker 2692
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4855 Blog 3375 Original Content 7530
Corbett Report 2599
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1279
Webster Tarpley Website 1147

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public