Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In latest undeclared US war, US taxpayers are being forced to fund both sides of Syrian civil war-The Atlantic, Friedersdorf

Passivity and abdication by Congress has led to global catastrophes such as Libya and Vietnam. Congress in 2015 has no reason to exist. Weapons dealers should move into their old office space.

11/2/15, "The Perils of Obama's Latest Undeclared War," The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf

"The U.S. is ostensibly fighting on two different sides of the Syrian civil war: The Obama administration wants Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to leave power and to defeat ISIS, one of several rebel groups fighting for control of Syria against al-Assad.

Russia and Iran also want to defeat ISIS, but want al-Assad to stay in power....

Without Congressional permission, public debate, or any attempt to rally the American public’s support, President Obama has ordered U.S. ground troops to a war zone, his most flagrantly unconstitutional war-making since he unlawfully helped to overthrow Muammar al-Qaddafi. “The United States is set to deploy troops on the ground in Syria for the first time to advise and assist rebel forces combating ISIS,” CNN reports. “The deployment of U.S. Special Operations forces is the most significant escalation of the American military campaign against ISIS to date.”

This should perturb even proponents of a U.S. war against ISIS.

As Obama put it prior to the 2008 election: “The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Now he is engaging in the very actions that he specifically declared to be illegal. And Congress is abdicating its responsibility to either empower him to wage war or to rein him in. Its passivity is enabling Obama to exceed the limits of his power in a way that has, in the past, led to failed wars as catastrophic as Vietnam and as recent as Libya.

Obama’s course “marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition,” Yale Law’s Bruce Ackerman argued long before any ground troops were deployed. 

And beyond its illegality, it makes U.S. foreign policy less effective.

As law professor Ilya Somin explains in the Washington Post, “One of the main justifications for the Constitution’s requirement that presidents can only initiate a war if they have congressional authorization is to assure that any such war is backed by a large political consensus."...

[Ed. note: The idea of 'large political consensus' may explain in part why so-called Republican congress doesn't object to Obama's actions on anything. Wider discussions on issues means hated Republican voters might try to be heard. The GOP E's #1 purpose is to keep us silent.]  

(continuing): "If we decide to fight a war at all, it should only be in cases where there is widespread agreement that the war is justified and that we will do what is necessary to prevail. At least so far, the president’s war against ISIS has been a lesson in the dangers of launching a military intervention without that kind of political support.”

He acknowledges that the Obama Administration asked Congress to pass a new AUMF earlier this year. “But the draft it submitted to Congress had so many flaws that both Democrats and Republicans voiced strong objections, as did many academic experts,” he wrote. “Most Republicans do in fact support fighting ISIS. This is one of the few issues that Obama and GOP conservatives in Congress largely agree on. It should be possible for the two sides to come up with an AUMF that both can sign on to. Both the administration and Congress deserve blame for the failure to do so.”"

[Ed. note: "Conservatives in Congress?" Who are they? Certainly, the GOP Establishment agrees with Obama on all major issues. But no GOP E are "conservatives."] 
(continuing): "Consider some of the ways that each are to blame.

There is little public debate about this illegal war-makingdespite the fact that we’re in the midst of fiercely contested Republican and Democratic primaries—in part because the White House has been misleading the public about the extent of its actions. Even Friday, addressing special-ops troops sent to operate in Syria, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declared, “These forces do not have a combat mission.”

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has been more forthright.

Testifying last Tuesday about the American troop presence in Syria and Iraq, where a U.S. special forces commando was killed during a raid on ISIS earlier this month, he said that American troops deployed there “won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.” 

Fox News reports that U.S. forces have engaged in combat missions against ISIS in Iraq for the last year; Colonel Steve Warren told a press briefing in Bagdhad last week that we’re in combat,” adding “I thought I made that pretty clear... That is why we all carry guns. That’s why we all get combat patches when we leave here, that’s why we all receive an immediate danger badge. So, of course we’re in combat.”"...

Comment: The US today is the greatest cause of depravity and misery in the world.


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