War

Blast From the Past- School House Rock: Tyrannosaurus Debt

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Part of our school day today included watching a DVD of the classic School House Rock cartoons that many of us grew up watching on Saturday mornings.  I was delighted when, after watching the one that talked about the wonderful opportunity we all have to pay our fair share of income taxes on April 15th, my daughter exclaimed, “Mom, this is wrong.  They’re saying that taxes are good!”

Music to my ears…

However, I found the next video interesting- Tyrannosaurus Debt- which compared the national debt to the appetite of a rather sizable dinosaur.  What surprised me was the direct correlation made between wartime and the increase of debt.

Ron Paul: What if the American People Learn the Truth?

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What if we wake up one day and learn that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?

Reflections on Veterans Day

One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.

Military Industrial Complex Discussion Hits Morning Joe

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Author and Director Eugene Jarecki appears on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, talking about his latest book The American Way of War, his film Why We Fight,  and the reaction of John McCain’s campaign staff to the Senator’s candid interview in that film. We need more mainstream media discussion of the problems that have arisen due to the industrial complex that has formed around our permanent army/navy/airforce.

 

 

 

Obama, once the anti-war candidate, now fully embraces the Bush doctrine of preemptive unilateral war

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Democrats swept into control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections on a wave of discontent with the Iraq war and then-President Bush’s foreign adventurism. President Obama campaigned over the next two years as the explicitly anti-war candidate. He was the only Democrat running who had opposed the war in Iraq, though he wasn’t in Congress to have to vote for it at the time. Now President Obama is explicitly embracing the Bush doctrine of preemptive war to pretend he has authority to unilaterally attack the ISIS forces in Iraq.

On Wednesday evening, Obama made a primetime address to the nation to explain the strategy against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which he said he didn’t have last week. In the address and an interview on Meet the Press the Sunday before, he said he already has the authority to pursue that strategy, which John Yoo, a former Bush administration official who literally wrote the memo on Bush’s war powers, says is exactly the same as Bush’s.

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

Republicans who whine about unconstitutional power grabs are going to let Obama go to war without congressional authorization

Back in July, before members adjourned for its summer recess, the House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed resolution authorizing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his abuses of executive power.

The lawsuit is largely viewed as an alternative to impeachment and could be used to inform Americans on what the administration is going to get around Congress as well as its failure to enforce laws as they’re written. In an op-ed at CNN, Boehner defended the coming lawsuit amid criticism from White House and Democrats and expressed disappointment at President Obama’s “flippant dismissal of the Constitution.”

Unfortunately, it looks like Republican leaders aren’t going to take a similar stand for the Constitution, which puts the question of war solely in the hands of Congress. The Daily Beast reports that the legislative branch may cede its power to the White House by allowing President Obama to use military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without congressional authorization:

Only Congress can authorize military action: A stronger response against ISIS may be necessary, but Obama must seek approval

The United States’ airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is prompting some members of Congress from both parties to push for authorization for any further military action that President Barack Obama wants to take.

The situation is not unlike the push in the House of Representatives in August 2013 to put pressure on President Obama to seek congressional authorization against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-VA) penned separate letters to the White House, signed by more than 170 colleagues, in which they encouraged the administration to come to Congress, as the Constitution requires.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently told the Associated Press that, in light of the current situation in Iraq, he wants to “destroy ISIS militarily,” but said that such a campaign would need to be approved by Congress. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has also said that President Obama must ask Congress for further action against ISIS, something that has gotten under the skin of his Democratic colleagues.

There could be another Left-Right alliance forming over the issue of police militarization due to the scenes from Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri

The tragedy that took place over the weekend in Ferguson, Missouri, in which Michael Brown, a recent high school graduate, was senselessly shot and killed by a local law enforcement officer, has sparked a debate over the issue of police militarization.

Although libertarians have, for years, talked about the militarization of police and the use of the weapons of war in communities across the country. Radley Balko even wrote a fantastic book about the issue and continues to cover it extensively. But the militarization of police hadn’t received a significant amount of attention from the media and lawmakers. At least until now.

Police in the St. Louis suburb responded to what was a peaceful protest by showing up with tactical gear, military-style weapons, and armored vehicles. The situation has obviously devolved since the first protest into rioting and looting by locals, actions that simply aren’t justified and only make matters worse.

Back in June, United Liberty’s Matthew Hurtt wrote about the state and local law enforcement agencies’ acquisition of surplus and refurbished U.S. military equipment —including armored vehicles, machine guns, and other leftovers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — for use in communities around the country.

Ground the drones: Obama’s secret strikes could put the United States on a path to perpetual war

The scriptural adage that there is nothing new under the sun may not actually apply to war, particularly in an age dominated by rapid-fire advancements in technology that make the remote killing of enemies no more morally problematic than pushing a button.

The New York Times offered an analysis on a report released Thursday that clarifies some of the misconceptions about drone use in war — that many are unmanned for example, and are used primarily for surveillance — but also warns of the implications of remote killing:

The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.

The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

 


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