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Rand Paul Declares a Non-War War

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Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to Declare war on ISIS. Some, like Bruce Fein, are willing to ignore the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact, and write as if a war would be legal if Congress would just declare it. And, of course, Fein is right that in theory a Congress that was in any way held accountable by the public would be preferable to lawless presidents waging war where they like.

But Paul's war declaration doesn't just declare a war that is already underway. It declares a war limited to this action exclusively:

"protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats posed thereto by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State."

See, it's sort of a pretense of defensive war. We'll fight you thousands of miles away in your country, in defense. But this pretense depends on the United States, and its corporate oil overlords, deciding to maintain people and facilities in Iraq and Syria.

What facilities does the U.S. government have in Iraq and Syria? Military facilities! (Including the world's largest "embassy," which is certainly a military facility.)

So we'll have a war with the sole purpose of defending soldiers and weaponry kept there just in case we need to have a war. If you're unable to see the logical problem here, ask a child to help.

Let me give you the low-budget, small guv'mnt version of this war: Bring the Goddam People and Facilities Home.

Done. Mission accomplished.

Of course, this is all an act. The war is underway illegally and unconstitutionally. ISIS recruitment is soaring as a result of the war it asked for. Weapons companies' profits are soaring as a result of the war they are happy to assist in. Nobody is threatened with impeachment for this unconstitutional war. That sacred sanction is saved as punishment for humane treatment of foreigners or fellatio.

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So the war may get declared or not declared, limited or not limited. It will roll on, just like all the illegal drone wars underway, if the president and the weapons makers and the television propagandists choose.

Unless people actually wake up and stop this madness, as they did just over a year ago.

If we decide to do that, our demand should not be a war declaration.

Our demand should not even be an end to this one war, while continuing to dump a trillion dollars a year into preparing for wars that somehow end up happening.

Our demand should be an end to war-handouts. If the universe wants to have wars, let the wars pay for themselves. Let the wars become self-sufficient. It's tough love, I know, but socialism has failed. It's time we closed a whole department, and that department should be the deceptively renamed Department of War.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)

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