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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/31/12

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

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   2 comments
Message 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.


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