Categorized | National, Opinion, Politics

Congress: End Endless War

 

Stop Becoming the “Evil That We Deplore”

 

By Norman Solomon
Humboldt Sentinel Guest Post

 

Congress waited six years to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution after it opened the bloody floodgates for the Vietnam War in August 1964.

If that seems slow, consider the continuing failure of Congress to repeal the “war on terror” resolution — the Authorization for Use of Military Force — that sailed through, with just one dissenting vote, three days after 9/11.

barbara leePrior to casting the only “no” vote, Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke on the House floor.  “As we act,” she said, “let us not become the evil that we deplore.”

We have.  That’s why, more than 11 years later, Lee’s prophetic one-minute speech is so painful to watch.  The “war on terror” has inflicted carnage in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere as a matter of routine.  Targets change, but the assumed prerogative to kill with impunity remains.

Now, Rep. Lee has introduced H.R. 198, a measure to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force.  (This week, several thousand people have already used a RootsAction.org special webpage to email their Senators and House members about repealing that “authorization” for endless war.)

end war1Opposed to repeal, the Obama administration is pleased to keep claiming that the 137-month-old resolution justifies everything from on-the-ground troops in combat to drone strikes and kill lists to flagrant abrogation of civil liberties.

A steep uphill incline faces efforts to repeal the resolution that issued a blank political check for war in the early fall of 2001.  Struggling to revoke it is a valuable undertaking.  Yet even repeal would be unlikely to end the “war on terror.”

At the start of 1971, President Nixon felt compelled to sign a bill that included repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.  By then, he had shifted his ostensible authority for continuing the war on Vietnam — asserting his prerogative as commander in chief.  Leaders of the warfare state never lack for rationales when they want to keep making war.

shootersIn retrospect, the U.S. “war on terror” has turned out to be even more tenacious than the U.S. war that took several million lives in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Some key similarities resonate with current circumstances.  Year after year, in Congress, support for the Vietnam War was bipartisan.  Presidents Johnson and Nixon preached against unauthorized violence in America’s cities while inflicting massive violence in Southeast Asia.  Both presidents were fond
of proclaiming fervent wishes for peace.

end warBut unlike the horrific war in Southeast Asia, the ongoing and open-ended “war on terror” is not confined by geography or, apparently, by calendar.  The search for enemies to smite (and create) is availing itself of a bottomless pit, while bottom-feeding military contractors keep making a killing.

Beyond the worthy goal of repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force is a need for Congress to cut off appropriations for the “war on terror.”  A prerequisite: repudiating the lethal mythology of righteous war unbounded by national borders or conceivable duration.

What may be even more difficult to rescind is the chronic
disconnect between lofty oratory and policies digging the
country deeper into endless war.

end war3“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” President Obama said in his 2013 inaugural address, after four years of doing more than any other president in U.S. history to normalize perpetual war as a bipartisan enterprise.

Repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force will be very hard.  Revoking the power to combine lovely rhetoric with pernicious militarism will be even more difficult.

______________________________

end war cartoonNorman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.  His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”  He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

This article originally appeared in Humboldt Organized for Peace and Environment (HOPE).

 

(Images by the Humboldt Sentinel.  Posted by Skippy Massey)

One Response to “Congress: End Endless War”

  1. Cynde Delaina says:

    If you could e mail me with a few tips on how you made your blog look this good, I would be grateful.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Recovered history: How newspapers can save themselves
    From 50 uyears of our overstocked archives Sam Smith, 2009  - It's been about 17 years since I last offered any advice to Don Graham of the Washington Post. He wasn't interested. Oddly, about a year later, the circulation of American newspapers, including the Post, began a slow decline that continues to this day.This morning, however, I was so stru […]
  • What American exceptionalism is really about
    Bill Blum, Anti-Empire Report - Frances Fitzgerald, in her famous study of American school textbooks, summarized the message of these books: “The United States has been a kind of Salvation Army to the rest of the world: throughout history it had done little but dispense benefits to poor, ignorant, and diseased countries. The U.S. always acted in a disinteres […]
  • Obama is fourth president in a row to announce plans to bomb Iraq
    Orazz […]
  • Department of Good Stuff: Education
    Bad Ass Teachers Chicago Teachers Union Susan Ohanian Diane Ravitch Teach 4 Real Ed Notes Online Valerie Strauss Opt Out […]
  • Race to the Bottom: Harvard Business School
    Naked Capitalism - Three years ago, Harvard Business School asked thousands of its graduates, many of whom are leaders of America’s top companies, where their firms had decided to locate jobs in the previous year. The responses led the researchers to declare a “competitiveness problem” at home: HBS Alumni reported 56 separate instances where they moved 1,000 […]
  • 1600 US troops in Iraq allegedly will keep theiir boots off the ground
    Washington Post - There will be 1,600 U.S. troops in Iraq by the time President Obama’s current plans are fully in place — but none of those are considered combat troops, which means the U.S. is not officially reengaged in the war there, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress on Tuesday.“Instead, these advisers are supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces in […]
  • How to make it clear that you've quit your job
    […]
  • Is ISIS a right wing GOP plot?
    There's evidence that ISIS might actually be a right wing GOP plot. Certainly they have somehting in common: ISIS has banned Charles Darwin's theory of evolution from Iraqi schools. - Progressive Review […]
  • Word
    "Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan walk into a bar. The bartender serves them tainted alcohol because there are no regulations. They die." - Twitter. […]
  • The conspiracy theory card
    Sam Smith, 2009 -The other day, Politico ran a typically sneering article about the Bilderberg Group. As usual, anyone who shows the slightest interest in the hyper secret meeting of some of the most powerful people in the world is a "conspiracy theorist."This is smug, childish, mindless establishment journalism at its worst. By any traditional sta […]
  • Word: Wars on terror
    Gore Vidal -You can't have a war on terrorism because that's not a actual enemy, it's an abstract. It's like having a war on dandruff. That war will be eternal and pointless. It's idiotic. That's not a war, it's a slogan. it's a lie. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented in America. And we […]
  • Germany pays its auto workers twice as much and still makes a profit
    Portside - When the financial crisis of 2008 sent U.S. automakers to the precipice of failure, conservatives, notably Mitt Romney, urged the Obama administration to let the car companies go bankrupt. Neoconservatives blamed “high wages” paid to unionized autoworkers for the inability of GM, Ford, and Chrysler to compete. In his book The Crash of 2016, author […]
  • Life in Washington's gradocracy
    Over the past two decades, he Review has periodically reported on the gradocracy, a misguided takeover of the federal government by those with graduate degrees in things like business, law and economics, but lacking skilled in social intelligence. It's nice to have Thomas Frank join the cause. Thomas Frank, Salon -  The powerful in Powertown love to tak […]
  • 730 NFL player arrests
    USA Today […]
  • LA cops arrest black woman for kissing white husband
    Boing BoingMy wife has kissed me in front of Studio Police, CA and she wasn't handcuffed. So why did they handcuff and detain Daniele Watts for kissing her boyfriend? Watts' husband, Brian Lucas, who is white, answered the question on Facebook:    Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly.    […]