Congress to authorize perpetual war with no enemies and no end
by: J. D. Heyes
Friday, May 20, 2011
After the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush and Congress committed the nation to a “global war on terror,” which – for perhaps the first time in U.S. history – the nation launched a military campaign that was aimed more against fighting an ideology rather than an army.
And today, 10 years later, the U.S. finds itself engaged in the kind of perpetual state of war that author George Orwell warned against in his novel, “1984.” In the book, Orwell’s fictional state of Oceania is at perpetual war with Eurasia and Eastasia; today, the U.S. fights “global terror”
whenever and wherever it is found. And worse, this perpetual state of war may be about to get both wider and easier to wage.
Defense spending legislation currently pending before Congress could lead to “the single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history,” the ACLU has warned.
Here’s what it does in a nutshell: the legislation would allow the president to unilaterally authorize military action, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” anywhere in the world and in the United States. Once upon a time, when the U.S. Constitution was still valid, Congress – not the president – was solely authorized to declare war. Once that declaration was formally made, the president, in his role as commander-in-chief, was responsible for the war’s prosecution.
This legislation would change that.