AUMF Green Lights Endless War ‘from Boston to the FATA*’ Say Defense Brass

These excerpts from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the AUMF held on May 16 are important.  Left unchecked, the testimony of these Defense officials will have signaled the basis of our foreign misadventures and the unitary executive unless outside forces stop them.  You may have read about their assertions, but watching may cement them in your minds forever; at least I hope so.

On May 2, Reuters had reported that ‘amid new security threats, some in Congress’ were discussing updating the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force).  Reining it in a bit had been mentioned by a few Critters, as was the idea of giving Congress some input into the fact that those 60 words penned mere days after 9/11/2001 were being used to ‘justify U.S. counterterrorism efforts from the war in Afghanistan to warrantless wiretapping and drone strikes, all on orders of the White House’.

Senator Angus Miller’s correct: their contentions are ‘astoundingly disturbing’.  If anyone other than Miller went wild about the fact that so much of what atrocities are being committed around the globe by executive order is unConstitutional, I haven’t heard about it.  John McCain did assert they need to be ‘updated’, but what he meant by that is unclear, even here.  Sure the CIA might give drone-killing back to the Pentagon: on paper.  Did you note the whispered conversations about ‘boots on the ground in Congo’?  That exchange made a mockery of the fact that they even pretend to know what the fuck they or the CIA/JSOC/mercenaries are doing.  Jeebus.

‘Twenty years from that day’ would mean that the drummed up ‘War on Terror’ would have lasted over thirty years by the year 2033Perpetual war has become so normalized that this hearing has received scant notice; perhaps we’ve been immunized from outrage by now.  We’re being ruled by sociopaths, and except for some Republican largely theatrical pushback, we collectively snooze.  The putative Left is either mesmerized by tribalist loyalty, engaged in active apology, or stunned into quiescence by the fear that war propagandists  in bought-and-paid for media ‘news’, entertainment, bigPharma-induced trance, or shopping and consuming to assuage their nagging feelings that something’s wrong with this picture.  There are also many citizens who are in such dire financial straits that they can’t afford to pay attention to issues past where their families’ next meals might come from.

Glenn Greenwald brought up this stunning point: soon there will be an entire generation of young Americans coming of age for whom endless war is normal, not to mention all that accompanies it: unknown trillions of our tax dollars spent on so many wars that Congress itself likely doesn’t even know the entire list, and may not want to know, especially what the Shining City on the Hill’s Dark Armies are engaged in around the globe.  Add in: austerity measures so strict that US infrastructure is crumbling; schools being closed and privatized at ungodly rates; fifty recent ones in Chicago’s Rahmville alone.  Citizens are groped by TSA employees at airports, while free speech and dissent have been deemed criminal or even ‘terrorism’.

These young people will be so indoctrinated with media propaganda that they may come to believe that the prosecution and imprisonment of whistle-blowers really was all for the best, and that we should trust our government to know what should be revealed to us, and what should not.  Hell, I read that sentiment on a front page FDL diary the other day, and it was made by an alleged ‘adult’.

As Angus King mentioned, expanding Al Qaeda (our friends when the US fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan) to ‘associated forces’ or ‘those providing safe harbor’ or ‘any male of military age in a certain locale’ as justifiable targets…is beyond the pale.  Consider as well that many of our Empire’s former friends or ‘useful idiots’ can be turned into enemies as the need arises (Bin Laden, Ahmed Chalabi, many others as Sibel Edmonds names at the link)  Hey, it’s just realpolitik, right?  .  Almost beyond belief is claiming the right to American nationals abroad without even the pretense of due process, and oopsie; it turns out there have really been four killed by drones, but hey – a few of them were accidental murders.  We have no idea how many people the CIA may have killed around the world in order to make the world safe for American Empire, but…few of us would even care to know.

Yes, yes, the generals say the President has the domestic authority to do whatever the hell he wants in the name of ‘keeping Americans safe’ from terrorists’, but the hearing blew right on by ‘International Authority’, although most ‘host nations’ can be easily bought off with our filthy lucre and weapons.

Out in the open now is the policy that as long as it can be claimed that a nation is being ‘destabilized’ by radical Islamists, Al Qaeda associates, etc., that the US/ISAF or AFRICOM can ride to the rescue in aid of local rulers who want to do bidness with Western multinationals, and don’t mind trashing the folks at the bottom of the class wars.  Libya again, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Congo, tra la la: Yahoo!  Saddle up and ride!  Heh, the Fed’s even keepin’ Mr. Market so high that he doesn’t have to dip when more wars are mentioned; that was in the bad ole days, remember?  If you have to support death squads, purveyors of genocide, deposing duly elected leaders, damn; it’s just bidness.

Now, given the fact that it’s become all too clear that foreign occupations and drone assassinations and ‘civilian collateral damage’ are radicalizing more and more moderates in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, and that ‘double tap’ killings do even more, what better recipe for War on Terror Everlasting could there be than proceeding with these present policies?  Talk about ‘self-perpetuating ‘war’!  And meanwhile, the weapons manufacturers, the civilian contractors including reconstruction, construction (think Bagram air base, or the Mega-Fortress American Embassy in Iraq), contract mercenaries, Wall Street, resource profiteers, etc. are making veritable fortunes from the Empire’s War Machine.

Given all that, add in the lobbyists for the aforementioned groups *and* that objecting to military expenditures or killing the AUMF would open a Critter to charges of being ‘soft on terror’, who else besides the occasional persons like King or Barbara Lee might make their objections in full volume?  Stay tuned, I guess, but it’s likely that the AUMF is here to stay, or even gets expanded.

The Prez is supposed to give a speech some time today that proves how and why his  (well, John Brennan’s) drone program is legal; can’t wait to provide a rush transcript of that assholish chicanery, oh no…

Meanwhile, for all you historians, investigators, and legal beagles out there, the Guardian put up a piece yesterday on an online project called ‘The Rendition Project’ which tracks planes that in all likelihood were used in US extraordinary renditions from 2001-2006; it’s interactive, and they teach us how to use the maps and keys.  Arrrgh.  Good on them.

Here is Jeremy Scahill’s ‘The World Is a Battlefield’ for your viewing…,edification;  no pleasure will be involved.  Please note that this administration has *not* ended torture, and is doing more than just calling it ‘temporary’ as indicated by a NYT piece (I can dig it up if you really want it).  My long admiration for Scahill knows no bounds.

And for later: you may want to watch this documentary from YourWorldNewsFilms:  ‘The More Effective Evil: the Impact of Barack Obama’s Presidency on the Black Community’I especially liked Dr. Joseph Richardson at about 33 minutes, who addressed obomba’s effect on the global black community, which is highly relevant, imo.

* (Note: the FATA is the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan)

(cross-posted at

19 responses to “AUMF Green Lights Endless War ‘from Boston to the FATA*’ Say Defense Brass

  1. Another worthwhile article, thanks very much, your output and quality is impressive;

    ” Please note that this administration has *not* ended torture”

    I simply did not believe that Obama ended torture. His saying he did, means nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’ve read a few plays by W. Shakespeare. Hamlet, has Obama covered in a couple of lines.

    “O most pernicious woman!
    O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
    My tables—meet it is I set it down
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain—
    At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.”

    I also believe that things have happened, atrocities committed by Americans and their assistants, that are much worse, than the things we know about.

    Canadian Maher Arar, was imprisoned in a coffin size cell for a year, electrocuted, beaten, and starved. He was kidnapped sent there by the USA. He was and is a Canadian citizen. USA still refuses to admit it did anything wrong. 14, or is it more, American CIA agents convicted for kidnapping in Italy. Where are these people now? What the hell is going on? Not a freaking word about it from the authorities. It’s rogue behaviour.

    Given the way these people are willing to kill, maim, torture and disappear people, nobody that was involved, that knows anything, is going to talk or write about it.

    I hope that Scahill and Sybel Edmonds, and Hedges, Amy Goodman, and some others are very careful about their own safety.

    Remember when Bin Laden was killed, and people were thinking, OK now can we end this “war”? Fat chance.

    I’m sick and tired of Obama waving his snotty finger around, pontificating about what God thinks, and how wonderful it all is, and suck it up and we’re great, but it’s hard, but we’ll get through it. I can’t listen to a single word he says.

    Did you see the documentary “The Power of Nightmares”

    ” it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—” (wikipedia)

    so many things to read and watch.

    Thanks again

  2. welcome, mafr, and thank for caring enough to read it.

    didn’t canada at least apologize to maher arar, maybe give him blood money? and well done on the william s. quote; quite fitting. heh, i had just said over yonder that he would have smile that creepy smile; i can hardly stand to look at him any longer.

    whooosh; i dunno were the convicted spooks are now; maybe they were given new identities, eh, and unleashed on the unsuspecting again.

    no, i’ve never seen that film, but it does sound about right. remember, too, when bush, then obomba, began conflating the taliban with al qaeda? grrr, then it was all about the meme ‘save the women in afghanistan’, just like ‘gaddafi’s loyalists are raping women’. just right to draw in any residual faux-gressives to support more war. did you know that one of the human rights organizations made billboards praising nato in libya during the r2p war there?

    yikes, as ever, the west will be involved more militarily there soon. they just walked away, left a cia outpost, and abandoned the place.

    re: even the public info that he never seriously meant to end rendition, i did have to dig out the original; my diary had the wrong link, arg. but here it is:
    “The day before the executive orders were issued, the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, had called the White House in a panic. The order prohibited the agency from operating detention facilities, closing once and for all the secret overseas “black sites” where interrogators had brutalized terrorist suspects.

    “The way this is written, you are going to take us out of the rendition business,” Mr. Rizzo told Gregory B. Craig, Mr. Obama’s White House counsel, referring to the much-criticized practice of grabbing a terrorist suspect abroad and delivering him to another country for interrogation or trial. The problem, Mr. Rizzo explained, was that the C.I.A. sometimes held such suspects for a day or two while awaiting a flight. The order appeared to outlaw that.

    Mr. Craig assured him that the new president had no intention of ending rendition — only its abuse, which could lead to American complicity in torture abroad. So a new definition of “detention facility” was inserted, excluding places used to hold people “on a short-term, transitory basis.” Problem solved — and no messy public explanation damped Mr. Obama’s celebration.

    “Pragmatism over ideology,” his campaign national security team had advised in a memo in March 2008. It was counsel that only reinforced the president’s instincts.”

    …and lots more, of course.

  3. oh, i’d forgotten to say how right you are that the true journalists need to be very careful now. i wish there were other words to use for the state of affairs we’re in, rather than harkening back to other fascist states in the past. how many of us don’t really understand what’s afoot now? are canadians more aware that USians?

    thought i’d pop this video interview with noam chomsky in (it was on tuttle’s post) so we could watch it at our leisure (whenever that is).

  4. “are canadians more aware that USians?”

    Probably not a lot. But I don’t think we have as many deeply, almost intentionally, happily ignorant people as the US; I remember hearing people say they were voting for Bush cause he seemed like a good guy to have a beer with.

    Huh? Makes a lot of people qualified to be President.

    I think Obama was plotting his rise for many years. I think that’s why he voted against invading Iraq. that was about the last worthwhile thing he’s done.

    And my guess is that his wife is the power behind the throne, and probably has a yes or no on everything he does.

    How long can this keep going on?

  5. “…almost intentionally, happily ignorant people as the US” Touche, mon cher, and grins all around. Back in the days of mega-hitchhiking, we’d often pick up folks coming or going to mesa verde. sometimes they’d stay with us a night or so. but the europeans and canadians were always bumfuzzled by how little we know about current events, and thought we were a riot in our cluelessness. they’d help us catch up a bit. of course, back then, all we had were newspapers, no teevee, but even so….

    yes, he was grooming himself, and that became very evident when he gave a nominating speech at one national convention (forget which one now). i told mr. wd: yep, he’ll be runnin’ for Prez real soon. i voted for him, but the alternatives were pretty spooky at the time: caribou barbie and bomb, bomb iran McCrankypants, who you reckoned would stroke out after a couple months, anyway.

    interesting thoughts on flotus; i’ll have to think about it. if so, it’s a very well-kept secret, eh? will their kids ever twig to the fact that their papa is a war criminal?

    your final question depresses the life outta me, mafr. either: until we stop them or others from the outside do, i guess. i hope it’s the former of course, but what a machine to jam up; seems impossible some days, and yet… whoosh. where will the spark come from that ignites the fire?

  6. “whoosh. where will the spark come from that ignites the fire?”

    climate change is going to shake things up. Nobody knows what will come of that. Huge changes coming due to that, and anything could happen I guess.

    one tornado the other day destroyed 12000 homes in an hour, caused two billion dollars damage, and a lot of misery. Miles wide, and long path of devastation.

    and of course, it’s going to get much worse.

    I don’t think anyone can say what system people will live under when the changes start to rev up .

  7. shocked by the 12000 figure, i giggled and found that that number of homes were ‘destroyed or affected’, but still, it’s a crazy number. then, being of tornadoes and climate change, i read a few pieces saying that they are hard to predict, although extreme weather can arguably set the stage in which cold air masses meet warm, moist ones. does that sound right? they gave the numbers for 2011, then 2012, and the latter had far fewer.

    this is a subject i have not kept up with at all, but does that sound right? i do know that rising sea levels have already caused climate change deaths and severe dislocations and panic.

    i’d categorized different different points over a couple years, trying to peer into the future about massive dissent and/or revolution. but those pointed in several different possible combinations, given that privations can lead to levels that can cause extreme gestalts/instant realizations that wake people up to realize thjis stuff ain’t right, and doesn’t need to be happening. should not be happening. and to grasp that they have power that they ceded too early, and that collectively, we have massive power to change the world for the better.

    today, i am so glum about fdl, and many other things. i’m playing some of the inspirational ‘playing for change’ tunes that both fire and soothe my soul at the same time. ‘higher ground’ was one i grabbed off one of my old posts. (i’m running into a few more that i ran across in the cache, and importing them into another wordpress blog for safe-keeping), but this fave fits this subject very well. and it’s great that fatster’s back, eh? ;~)

    ‘it is the shelter of each other that the people love.’ that’s the core message we collectively and globally need to hear.

  8. James B. Elsner, an atmospheric scientist at Florida State University:

    “As with hurricanes, I think frequency needs to be separated from intensity.

    Climate change increases the available energy for tornadoes through a warmer and moister atmosphere.

    I believe there is evidence that the strongest tornadoes are getting stronger. They are certainly getting longer and wider”

    Most Climate scientists are always a little too careful, they think that talking to us is the same as discussing something in a room full of scientists. They’ve been put on the back foot by the relentless vicious lying attacks on them, which they were completely unready for.

    They put their first report ipcc united nations, at the level of threat indicated by the tamest predicitions, cause they were afraid, and did not want to cause a fuss.

    Now 6 years later, they are all saying that the direst predictions are probably too tame.

    On the PR front, they are somewhat useless, when the other side has no qualms about outright lying.

    Climate change is going to be the mother of all problems. It’s close to that now.

  9. cool song, video, and idea.

  10. ack; i’d meant to say ‘warmer, moister fronts’. i understand wider and stronger; hurricanes, too, no? as in more powerful and a longer season? given that we’ve already reached carbon levels of 440ppm, it does seem that the tipping point can’t be reversed. it’s one of the reasons i think that the ‘stop the final leg of the xl pipeline’ needs to be more nuanced, since i’ve read that just shutting down the tarsands is the only helpful solution, given that there are alternative ways to get the gluck to refineries, and shipped to china, wherever.

    melting the permafrost and releasing methane seems to be another nail in our atmosphere’s coffin, too, no?

    how long ago were we advised that climate change could be a great opportunity for nations to come together on plans, even to working out models where different crops could be grown as things changed. but no; and now the big brainiacs are creating chemical food printed in 3-d printers instead, lol. i dunno, mafr. spiritual alchemy and reverting to time-proven sustainable agriculture, reforestation, living more simply (rewrite the greedy dream)… but what a tough gig. especially as there is a cadre of people who lie about science.

    yes, wonderful song, and giving shelter is such a broad metaphor for what we and the planet require. thanks for helping me understand some of this stuff. i may ask you about cold fusion sometime, lol.

  11. you are as up or more than I am. but if you want lots of well written info, and great comments

    is a great spot.

    don’t mean to derail the topic.

  12. good grief, don’t apologize! thank you for the link, and sorry i’d forgotten to respond to it before now. somehow when i woke up this morning i remembered that you’d provided the link. it will be a good resource for me, even if i don’t take the time to get myself up on all i’ve missed over the years. too many subjects of burning importance to learn, so i’m so glad you and others have used your passions to learn a lot of it.

  13. I was dripping with morphine when you posted this, so forgive my late arrival. Notice how little reaction now, a whole week later? Small acts of personal defiance aside, I do believe the battle for humanity has been lost. Time to focus on survival, more than on hopes for reversal, IMHO. Personally, I’m hoping to be reincarnated as a hummingbird.

  14. whooosh; nope, hardly a peep on that news. but this morning i was flipped out to read this piece at fairblog that came in on the liberty underground news. now, i knew that folks were hearing what they wanted to hear in Obomba’s ‘counterterrorism’ speech, but seeing these assertions all in one whopping pile made me so disgusted that it was hard to breathe for a few minutes.

    hell, there are days i’d take the morphine. not really, but i certainly understand why you and britzkleig believe the battle for humanity has been lost. just now i’m working on a piece that includes info that the US pressured the WHO into sitting on reports of the effects of depleted uranium in iraq. again: vast numbers of people aid all of this destruction, and the lies before and after. tough machine to end, i grant you, rc.

    • “tough machine to end”–really? Now there is some wild-eyed optimism for ya. Contrast with “tough machine to slow down.” Or, “tough machine to make act like it ran over a caterpillar.” Then consider that we on the human side are spending all our energy picking at each other, and debating over what to call ourselves. The machine is smiling.

  15. yes, you’re right, of course. but: “excuse me, i need to go shut down my website, blow my brains out, and then have my body shipped to canada.” ;-)

  16. it really is just so perfect, isn’t it? ‘i’d kill for arms like michelle’s’ or whatever. but…so it goes. as i promised so long ago, those folks will be the last to give up their illusions and join the revolution.

    eep; looks as though i need to tweak the comment prompt, eh?

    • realitychecker1

      Sadly, I recall that Michelle’s arms were actually the prime media topic for a period, it’s not satire. Even more depressing now, n’est-ce pas?

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