Deyan Ranko Brashich
I did not write the headline you have just read. The Editors at the New York Times wrote it on October 15, 2015 to highlight a major news story. But the story, the story that the United States is waging war in Yemen, didn’t appear on the front page, it was buried on page 9. The article started with this blunt, in your face paragraph:
“More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war. This week, the United States became more directly involved in the conflict, which already included Saudi Arabia and insurgents with ties to its sectarian rival, Iran.”
The Times made it clear that we are involved in a war in Yemen siding with our ally Saudi Arabia against Iran and its proxy “insurgents”. Making sure that we got the message the Editors followed up the next day Sunday, the slowest news-day of the week, with a front page headline “Somali Strategy Reveals New Face of US Warfare”. The lead paragraphs of that article reads:
“The Obama administration has intensified a clandestine war in Somalia over the past year, using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors and African allies in an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.”
“Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993.”
This follows the news that on October 12 that the USS Nitze, a United States Navy destroyer, fired Tomahawk missiles on three coastal radar sites in Yemen destroying them and other “targets associated with missile attacks on US ships” last week. That sure sounds like war to me.
I must have been preoccupied with the Presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s tweets because I missed the news that the United States Congress had declared war on Yemen and Somalia. No one in the Obama Administration, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Central Intelligence Administration or for that matter Congress has stood up to deny that we are at war in Yemen and Somalia, so it must be so.
If memory serves, the United States Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Law, Pub L 107-40, in September, 2001 authorizing the President the use of all „necessary and appropriate force“ against those whom he determined „planned, authorized, committed or aided“ the September 11th attacks”. Congress also passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Pub L 107-243 in October. 2002 which authorized the President to use armed force “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate“ in order to „defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq”.
I do not remember any authorization or other act of Congress that mentions Yemen or Somalia or authorizes the use of force by the US military on their population and territory much less war against these two countries.
The War Powers Clause – Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution – provides that Congress, and only Congress, has the “Power … To declare War, grant letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.
It seems that our senators and representatives, preoccupied with this year’s elections, have forgotten that the War Powers Clause is still in full force and effect. All 424 sitting representatives are in their bi-yearly death throes of election survival as are 34 senators who are up for re-election. They are too busy ensuring their political survival and feathering their personal nests to worry about the body politic or the state of our Republic.
Donald Trump, the elephant with the blow dried orange hair, has distracted everyone with his antics, tweets and outrageous behavior. His boasts of “I moved on her … I did try and fuck her. She was married … And when you are a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy” has dominated the news; women by the score coming out and describing sexual assaults; one saying that Trump “grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.” How can news of war trump, pun intended, that?
When it comes to war, no matter who wins the Presidential election, the United States is in deep shit. If Donald Trump prevails he has vowed to “bomb the shit out of them … I would just bomb those suckers”. As for nuclear weapons Trump asks if we aren’t willing to use them, then “why are we making them?” At no time during this long exhausting campaign has Donald Trump suggested that his use of military force, to wage war as President was subservient to the constraints of the War Powers Clause.
As for Hillary Clinton as part of the Obama Administration we have her track record that the War Powers Clause means little. President Obama and Hillary Clinton his secretary of State have waged war, and are waging war without Congressional approval or authorization. She champions another alternative – secret, clandestine war. Speaking at a private meeting convened by Goldman Sachs she espoused that in handling a problem like the war in Syria the US “was to act secretly”. “My view was you intervene [in the Syrian war] as covertly as is possibly for Americans to intervene”. Secret war kept from the American public is the way to go.
So what is the purpose of my writing this article? Initially it is to bring to your attention that war is being waged on your behalf contrary to law, without your approval or without your say so and that you will pay for it with you hard earned tax dollars, like it or not; secondly, to remind Congress of its obligations under the Constitution to reign in the power of the Executive and to make it accountable; and finally to bring up the issue for public debate during the last weeks of the campaign giving the world advance notice on how the United States intends to act for the next four years.
Deyan Ranko Brashich is a contributor writing from New York. He is the author of Letters from America, Contrary Views and Dispatches. His contact and blog “Contrary Views” is at www.deyanbrashich.com