Epicenter of Mendacity: Obama's Illegal War Against Afghanistan

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by David Lindorff:
Holiday Greetings: President and Man-of-Peace Obama Has a Xmas Present

Nobody in the
corporate media mentions it, but the war in Afghanistan which President
Barack Obama just ramped up by 50% this year, with the dispatch,
first of 17,000 troops last spring and now with another 30,000 troops,
to begin deployment on Christmas, is being fought on the shaky legal
basis of a hastily passed Authorization for the Use of Military
Force (AUMF) voted by Congress back in October 2001, more than three
years before Obama was even elected to the Senate.

Obama is sending
more troops to Afghanistan on a lie to fight in an illegal war

That AUMF was
the handiwork of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney, and it was rammed through House and Senate with almost no
debate in the wake of the 9-11 attacks and then used to justify
most of the subsequent assaults on the Constitution and Bill of
Rights that are still haunting America and the world today.

While Congress
saw the 2001 AUMF as an authorization to launch an attack on Al
Qaeda in Afghanistan (an attack that quickly toppled the Taliban
government, but that famously failed to crush Al Qaeda, thanks to
its being called off half a year later so troops could be shifted
to a new war in the making against Iraq), Bush and Cheney interpreted
it as a “declaration of war” in a “global war on
terror,” which they claimed had no border, no end, and which
they even tried to claim extended to within the boundaries of the

So anxious
were Bush and Cheney to be permanent wartime generalissimos, unfettered
by Constitutional constraints, that just minutes before the measure
went to the Senate for a vote, according to then Senate Majority
Leader Tom Daschle, they sought to add the words “in the United
States” after the phrase “appropriate force” in the
language of the resolution. As Daschle, who wisely refused their
request, notes, “This last-minute change would have given the
president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just
overseas – where we all understood he wanted authority to act – but
right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens.”

The point though,
is that the 2001 AUMF was in fact an authorization to use military
force to go after terrorism. It was not an authorization to conduct
a full-scale war against another nation, or to become enmeshed in
a civil war in another nation, which is what is going on in Afghanistan
today. That, in fact, is why even Bush felt he needed a second AUMF
to authorize his invasion of Iraq.

the rest of the article

4, 2009

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