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America: World's Policeman, Prosecutor, Judge and Jury

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scales of justice by michael payne

In years past we have often heard this question asked -- should the U.S. be the policeman of the world? Well, now that question can be put to rest as it has now been answered very emphatically.   The U.S. government has not only appointed itself as the policeman of the world, but it has also expanded its role to become the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury presiding over all the nations on this planet.

When this policeman comes to the door of any nation it doesn't need any kind of search warrant. When this policeman, wearing the uniform of the U.S. military, invaded and occupied Vietnam, then Afghanistan, followed by Iraq it felt no need for a search warrant issued by the International Court of Law. When it moved into Pakistan, one more incursion into a sovereign nation, and used scores of drone strikes to take out suspected terrorists, it did so unilaterally. When the U.S., assisted by NATO, bombed Libya and the U.S. began military operations within Yemen, the same was true.

What's happened in America is that any kind of military operations or any war against any nation can now be initiated without any justification. There is no need to obtain any search warrant, there is no debate or discussion, and there is no declaration of war passed by the Congress. It now is common practice that any military action can be initiated based solely on an order issued by the president of the United States; a clear violation of the Constitution and the rules of Congress.

So in these cases the prosecutor targets a specific nation that is felt to be a potential enemy of America; i.e., any nation that is even suspected of having any element within it that has the potential to do harm to the U.S. If those suspicions have even the slightest chance of being valid, then the proceedings against that nation can be initiated. In short order, charges are brought by the prosecutor, the jury acts swiftly, the judge immediately concurs and the sentence is carried out. Then the policeman of the world, the U.S. military, is sent into action.

Whether this process is carried out by invasions and occupations of target nations, such as when G.W. Bush used several hundred thousand troops and civilian "contractors", plus hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or by Barack Obama's new policy of "secret wars" by which drones and Special Forces do the job either overtly or covertly, it doesn't really matter. It's not the method itself; it's the fact that these incursions into sovereign nations have been done in an arbitrary, unilateral manner that ignores the Constitution of the United States and violates international law.

What does our Constitution say about war? Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war against any other nation. The Founding Fathers divided war into two separate powers: Congress was given the power to declare war and the president was given the power to wage war. What that means is that under our system of government, the president cannot legally wage war against another nation in the absence of a specific declaration of war by Congress.

The last time the Congress used that provision of the Constitution was when it issued a declaration of war in World War II.   Since then a long series of wars, beginning with the Korean War was initiated without any formal, legal approval of the Congress. Every president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush to Barack Obama has used presidential powers to initiate military actions, large and small, without official involvement of the Congress. But no matter because, in every case, this Congress has accepted such unilateral actions without exception, has passed resolutions supporting them and has funded them with little or no debate. And that's why this nation continues to be mired down in the endless quagmire of war.

In any case brought before this court there is no defense attorney for the accused; in fact, there is no defense of any kind allowed. And if there is no defense then it follows that there can be no objections during any of the proceedings; that's exactly why the government of Pakistan, our supposedly ally in the "fight against the terrorists", as it vehemently objects to the continuous U.S. drone attacks in various parts of that country, is totally ignored and told that its objections are out of order and completely irrelevant.

But this government of Pakistan, which just happens to own a formidable arsenal of nuclear weapons, is still defying this court's decisions and keeps arguing that these drone attacks that are violating its airspace and borders and killing many innocent civilians, must be stopped. This government of Pakistan, seemingly very ignorant and uninformed of the special laws that the U.S. government has instituted in these matters, is making the case against itself that much more substantial and conclusive. But what's going to happen if that nation decides that the pervasive military actions can no longer be tolerated and it unleashes its own forces against them?

The members of the jury largely come from the Military-Industrial Complex, the Washington war hawks and neocons. Most of them are wealthy, sociopathic types, who relish the idea of endless war as a means to generate massive profits for themselves; Washington is infested with them; they love wars as long as others fight them and many of them have used every sort of educational deferment and other schemes in the past to evade service for their country in Vietnam and other wars. And that makes these facilitators of war perfect jurors who will, with no pangs of conscience, make their scripted decisions of guilty as charged.

The judge then announces the sentence to be carried out and that there will be no appeal of any kind considered. Then all these self-appointed officials of the court take their rest until the next case involving the next country is presented to them.

I remember the case that came up against Saddam Hussein and the nation of Iraq in the early years of this decade. The charges against this cruel dictator, that he had a massive cache of weapons of mass destruction and that he was getting ready to rain them down upon America, were absolutely without any factual evidence and should never have been initiated; but they were.

Sure, there were all sorts of witnesses to prove that those weapons did not exist, such as the UN inspectors who, after many years of searching in all corners of that country, found none. Their expert views were never considered and were dismissed as being without any merit or substance. Conversely, the huge number of government witnesses, war hawks, and neocons' testimony was judged as totally factual. The court found the defendants guilty as charged and the sentencing was carried out; an invasion, occupation and the oppression and suppression of the entire nation of Iraq with terrible consequences for millions of its people.

Then there are those independent, rational thinking experts of law in America, those who are not allowed inside this closed court, who have said that these cases should be tried and judged according to international law and the provisions of the United Nations Charter. But these persons are told that their views and opinions are not welcome, that they are irrelevant, that international laws have no jurisdiction in these cases, and so are totally inadmissible.

Is this the way to spread the doctrine of freedom and democracy and to establish peace throughout the world? I don't think so. The most powerful empires in history, most notably the Roman and the British, tried to force their doctrine and ideology on the world and failed. It seems as if each time a major empire was brought to an end, another one emerged soon after to exercise its power over the world. And so, the empire building goes on and on, but it can never be sustained.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 

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What's happened in America is that any kind o... by michael payne on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 12:02:14 PM
Through the actions or in-actions of Congress the ... by Henry Pelifian on Friday, Jun 1, 2012 at 9:22:27 AM