These are some basic policy changes that could be made to prevent illegal and unnecessary wars:
1. State clear objectives for any military action. We are involved in a war in Afghanistan that has objectives that have changed so many times that most people have no idea why we ever sent troops there in the first place! So far we have claimed to be fighting the people that conducted the attack on 9/11, to bring equality to their women and to give them democracy. The war in Iraq was more of the same. We bomb Yemen and unleash drones with very little justification. We find our nation, supporting in Syria, the same groups we are fighting in Afghanistan. We bombed Libya, the most advanced nation in North Africa, back to the stone-age in order to bring them "democracy". Now we have a nation of warlord fiefdoms controlled by radical fundamentalists. The same thing is happening in Iraq with the body count rising every day.
2. Unless directly attacked, make it mandatory for any military action to be approved by Congress. It should also be a requirement that no information that could result in military action be kept from the American people. There is nothing more sacrosanct as human life, whether it is an American or foreign life. It is wrong to take lives from people based on secrets. Doing this is barbaric and against all International Law. We invaded Iraq based on lies, a violation of International Law, in fact it was aggression as defined by the Nuremberg trials, yet there were no charges against anyone ever filed. This was a war crime of the greatest magnitude.
3. If the United States enters into an armed conflict with any nation, a declaration of War must be declared. Police actions, preventative military actions, regime change are illegal and a ruse in order to enable a state of war to exist without actually declaring a state of war.
4. In order to maintain a large standing Army, Selective Service must be authorized. We can no longer use the economically disadvantaged to fight this nation's armed conflicts. Unless everyone shares this nation's military burden equally, there will be a disproportionate number of poor people that will fight in our military. The wealthiest among us, the same people that now make up a majority of our elected representatives, cannot be exempt from seeing their sons and daughters participate in wars that are justified by these same representatives. The reason for this is self evident. Legislators would think twice because they would have "skin in the game".
5. "Whistle Blowers". When an enlisted person see's war crimes or observes plans to commit war crimes, people must understand that the "Chain of Command" will not suffice to rectify the situation. Bringing information about illegal actions by higher ranking individuals, will never see the light of day... up the chain. The Army protects its own. The military does not embrace those that question authority. Exposing war crimes by telling your superiors about your findings will not be appreciated. Understand that in a combat zone, they have your life in their hands. There are people wasting away in cells. There are Bradley Manning's everywhere, but their stories haven't been told.
6. Disabled Veterans. Soldiers that have suffered disabilities from fighting for people that watch the action on a TV screen or a computer monitor or even a Drone viewer with a joystick, apply for benefits in order to help them make their way through life, and face a bureaucratic nightmare. It is easier to bury someone or replace a damaged tank than it is to help a damaged soldier. The government doesn't mind risking a soldiers life, but it is not that interested in restoring that same soldier so that he or she can resume a semblance of a "normal life". Six to eight months is the waiting time a veteran must endure before their case is evaluated. Once in review, that soldier faces a mountain of paperwork and medical evaluations by doctors employed by the Veterans Administration. Many veterans must employ a lawyer in order to get "a fair shake" from the VA. The government is loath to provide assistance to veterans. The money spent on a veteran could repair a missile launcher.
7. Drone Attacks. The use of drones launching "Hellfire Missiles" in nations we are not at war with, is an act of aggression and violates International Law. It doesn't matter who the "high value target" is. Killing people that have been put on a list is assassination. People in Yemen and Pakistan have been ruthlessly attacked and murdered by unseen drones that they never see coming. The President of the United State acting as "Commander in Chief" is the one that authorizes the execution of certain human beings. Now we understand that American citizens are not exempt from an attack they never saw coming. Anwar Al-Alaki died in a desert in Yemen. His crime? He was disillusioned with his government's policy of indiscriminately killing Muslims. He was a journalist and was writing the truth for the wrong side. His punishment? Death from the sky. As if this wasn't bad enough, his young sixteen year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki , who lived in Denver and was searching for his father's remains in Yemen, was the victim of a military "mistake" as the Commander in Chief explained it. This is Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks), and explains what happened:
What have we become? What is our government capable of doing? This must end.
8. The United States pivoting to Asia. What exactly does that mean? Why are we "pivoting to Asia"? What are we pivoting anyway? Are we bringing the mighty US military machine to the East? What are our intentions and objectives? The American people blindly accept this shift in policy without question. Why is this so? Are Americans so cowed that they dare not question the Empire? Are the legions of America's war machine now going back to Asia to finish the job they started in Vietnam? We are developing ties to Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, Australia and the Philippines. We are insisting that the Japanese re-arm in violation of their Constitution that we helped to write after World war II. What is the purpose and objective in this? Are we there to intimidate China, a nation that holds three Trillion dollars of US debt? Why is the public quiet? Where is the mainstream media? Why aren't they asking probing questions? (Maybe because they are controlled by the same corporations that control the government).
9. Guantanamo. The President insists that we close the detention facilities there. He doesn't want to release the people there, he just wants to move them to the US. The Congress and the military are opposed to this. They don't want them to have the rights afforded to Americans like charges being brought and their right to a lawyer and the right of a trial by jury. Where is the "Commander in Chief" that has the power to execute those he deems dangerous and a threat to America like the sixteen year old kid from Denver? With power like that, why can't he issue an executive order to shut the place down and bring these dangerous people that have been held in limbo for almost a decade so that they can be charged and given the right to defend themselves?
He won't because aside from all this President's bluster, most of the prisoners have no real evidence against them, and would probably be freed.
10. The NSA and The First Amendment. This must be included in this article because of the significance of it. What Edward Snowden has revealed so far is that virtually every phone call, every text sent, everything said online on Facebook and other media sites , every tweet and every blog, along with every cell phone conversation is recorded and saved by the NSA. The President said that we need this to protect Americans from the "terrorists" that are everywhere. He also claimed that the government doesn't listen to your conversations or read you blog posts or your comments on Facebook. He revealed that calls to and from places outside of the United States may be looked at because the laws of the US no longer apply. He says that the courts decide what information may be looked at as long as there is a warrant. The real question here is how stupid does he think the American people are? The fact is that there is no way in hell that they could ascertain whether information about Americans was looked at or not. If you become "a person of interest", I can assure you that they can pull up every conversation, article, blog entry, Facebook comment or tweet going back years. Still the American people remain docile and dormant in the face of the greatest surveillance state the World has ever known.
I'm just making suggestions, asking questions and informing my fellow Americans on issues they should be aware of. I believe that most Americans are afraid to question authority and those that are not are lulled into a false sense of security by the mainstream media. Still there are many Americans that are justifiably as outraged as I am by the behavior of our government. Many of the facts presented here must be addressed. In reality, they will be addressed at some time, and it will be resolved by war, execution, dictatorship or the destruction of our nation for violating International Law. and basic human rights.
Discarded by America; The Magna Charta, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights (Posse Comitaitus by The John Warner Defense Act), NSA violations, Assassination without due process, conducting war without the consent of Congress, internment camps including camps in Afghanistan and in the Balkans at Camp Bondsteel, and other violations of the Constitution and basic human rights along with violations of International Law. This is a short list, there are other violations.