Given the fact that the Obama administration is now involved in more conflicts and has more troops deployed than at any time during the Bush administration, how confident should we be that a government promise to veto the alarming worldwide war provision contained in the National Defense Authorization Act will be kept?
Yesterday the House passed the act, “including a provision to authorize worldwide war, which has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.”
Earlier this week, the White House indicated that it would veto the worldwide war provision, not because it is a flagrant violation of the War Powers Resolution and the basic tenet of not investing dictator powers in a president, but because it could cause “confusion”.
“The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 [the worldwide war provision] which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards. At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion…” the White House wrote to Congress.
The administration’s problem with the provision has nothing to do with the fact that it would make Obama above the law and completely unconstrained by Congress, their only concern is that it would hinder alleged terrorists from being tried in federal courts.
“Section 1039 is a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical Executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute detainees,” wrote the White House, indicating that a compromise could be made that would ensure the bill’s passage.
According to the ACLU, “President Obama and his administration have to be commended for taking such a tough stance on issues of fundamental importance to the rule of law and our democracy.”
Well, there’s a first time for everything, but the ACLU has completely dropped the ball on this one. The Obama administration is opposed to the worldwide war provision not because it is an egregious expansion of the executive branch, but because it doesn’t give them enough power.
Once the administration is given the choice to try suspected terrorists in federal courts or merely assassinate them at will as we were told happened in the case of the Bin Laden raid, the bill will be passed and the ugliest aspects of the worldwide war provision will remain.
Indeed, one could argue that the Obama administration has already bestowed upon itself the powers enshrined in the worldwide war provision with its constant drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other areas in the region,assaults that ten times the amount of innocent people than they do so-called “militants”.
The ACLU’s praise for the Obama administration’s upholding of the “rule of law” didn’t seem to apply when Obama joined a NATO-led “no fly zone” over Libya, which quickly turned into a ceaseless bombardment and another undeclared war prosecuted with total disregard for Congressional oversight.
Indeed, when Senator Rand Paul blasted Obama for failing to get Congressional approval for the war on Libya following the expiration of the 60 days clause in the War Powers act, the president merely turned his nose up and claimed all the authority he needed came from the United Nations and international law.
However, when it came to invading Pakistani airspace to conduct the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s alleged compound, another foreign incursion of which Congress was kept in the dark, Obama showed little regard for the international laws he supposedly cherishes in refusing to even alert Pakistan to the fact that the operation was imminent.
As Ron Paul warns in the video above, the worldwide war resolution is another one of the final nails in the coffin of the American republic. If this provision is allowed to pass, it will provide presidents with de facto immunity from war crimes and free them from the constraints of any national or international rules or laws on the conduct of war.
History is littered with examples of odious tyrants who shredded the rule of law to bestow upon themselves dictatorial powers that they claimed provided a justification for unprovoked foreign invasions and bloody global conquest. If this ‘worldwide war’ legislation passes the Senate, Obama can be added to that list