President Obomba has spoken of how the president he most resonates with is Lincoln, who unified the country by winning his side of a civil war. Obomba sees a country sharply divided and unequal, and would like to unite it and restore social cohesion. However, the mythology inside the Beltway posits that what the country needs now is a war against a big bad external enemy—and possibly a [another] “Pearl Harbor of the 21st century” to kick things off. The empirical support for war bringing greater social cohesion comes most authoritatively from Emmanuel Saez’ charts on tax return income inequality that show that it was indeed WWII that in the span of little more than the year 1942 erased the dramatic income inequalities of the 1920s Gilded Age that persisted through the Great Depression. It was all for one, and one for all.
So what might President Obomba be thinking now, with the help of his George W. Bush-era advisors? How about region building? Perhaps it’s time to finish the job that QE2-fueled commodity price inflation, Facebook and Twitter started in the Middle East—and just chop the heads off all the dictators we’ve been propping up for decades? Get some democracy going—unless it’s that Muslim Brotherhood, and then we’ll just go in and clean up again. We’re going for the kill on Kaddafi, why not all the others? It’s the American way. We use you till we screw you. It’s our oil, after all, as they say in Houston.
The President is about to be awarded the extra-legislative power to wage world war. I expect the domestic psyops and propaganda to increase exponentially in coming months. What better way to win an election than to be at war?
Tucked inside the National Defense Authorization Act, being marked up by the House Armed Services Committee this week, is a hugely important provision that hasn’t been getting a lot of attention — a brand new authorization for a worldwide war.
This stealth provision was added to the bill by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), but has a bit of a history. It was first proposed by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey in 2008 after the Bush administration lost the Boumediene v. Bush case, in which the Supreme Court decided that federal courts would subject the administration’s asserted law of war basis to hold Guantanamo detainees to searching review. An idea that may have originally been intended to bolster the Bush administration’s basis for holding Guantanamo detainees is now being promoted as an authorization of a worldwide war — and could become the single biggest ceding of unchecked war authority to the executive branch in modern American history.
The current authorization of war provided the constitutional authority for the executive branch to go to war in Afghanistan. Subsequently, it has reportedly been invoked by the executive branch much more broadly to also use military force in Yemen and elsewhere, to justify torture and abuse of detainees, to eavesdrop and spy on American citizens without warrants, and to imprison people captured far from any battlefield without charge or trial.
Before Congress this week, the proposed authorization of a worldwide war goes much further, however, allowing war wherever there are terrorism suspects in any country around the world without an expiration date, geographical boundaries or connection to the 9/11 attacks or any other specific harm or threat to the United States. There have been no hearings on the provision, nor has its necessity been explained by Rep. McKeon or anyone else in Congress.
Why can’t we just buy our oil the way the Chinese do?