53 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 27 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/27/17

NYT Says Congress Has "Duty" to Make War -- Rather Than the Right to Reject It

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Message Fair News

See original here

By *Adam Johnson

(Image by Screengrab/FAIR)   Details   DMCA

As reports come in detailing the degree to which Donald Trump has escalated the "War on ISIS" -- and killed hundreds more civilians in the process -- this would seem like a good time for the country to sit back and examine the United States' approach to fighting "terrorism" and its recent iteration, the so-called Islamic State.

Not for the New York Times editorial board, which didn't take the wave of civilians deaths as a reason to question the wisdom of America's various "counter-terror," nation-building and regime-change projects in the Middle East, but instead chose to browbeat Congress into rubber-stamping a war that's been going on for almost three years.

The editorial, "Congress's Duty in the War With ISIS" (3/26/17), began with a false premise:

"But as the American military is doing its job, Congress is refusing to do its duty. Nearly three years into the war against ISIS, lawmakers have ducked their constitutional responsibility for making war by not passing legislation authorizing the anti-ISIS fight."

Congress does not have a "constitutional responsibility for making war"; it has a constitutional right to make war, which is to say it can authorize it or not authorize it. Congress is under no obligation -- legal, moral or otherwise -- to rubber-stamp existing wars started without its consent.

Presidents, on the other hand, do have a duty under the Constitution to get Congress's approval before waging war.

Originally launched in August 2014 under the auspices of "targeted," "limited" airstrikes to stop an impending genocide, the war on ISIS has since expanded to include four countries, 50,000+ bombs, 1,000 attacks on civilians and over $11 billion handed out to defense contractors.

(Image by Screengrab/FAIR)   Details   DMCA

The Times correctly notes that the one-page "War on Terror" AUMF used to justify the original launching of the war in 2001 is on thin legal ground. But instead of then interrogating the legality or wisdom of this initial act -- or whether or not the public would have gone along with it had they known it would eventually spiral into a global, never-ending war -- it simply uses this initial bait-and-switch as further reason for Congress to validate it:

"The Pentagon has operated under the 2001 authorization for the use of military force that was passed after Al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks. But that justification is of questionable legality because ISIS did not exist when the authorization was approved.

"The United States can claim a legal basis for its involvement in Iraq because Baghdad sought American help... But there has been no such request from the Syrian government, which believes that a US-led attack on Raqqa would be illegitimate unless it were coordinated with Damascus, the chief Syrian negotiator to peace talks in Geneva, Bashar Ja'afari, said on Friday. Such coordination is unlikely, given how little the Pentagon thinks of President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian backers."

It's not clear why the Times is bringing up Iraq and Syria's differing stances on the US bombing their country; the approval of Iraqi government -- which was ranked "not free" by the US-funded Freedom House at the time it green-lighted the US to bomb it -- does not make a war unsanctioned by Congress any more constitutional. And a congressional OK would not make bombing a country's territory against its government's will any more legal under international law. But perhaps the key phrase here is "can claim a legal basis"; if an appearance of legality is more important than actually following the law, then any kind of official-looking action would be better than nothing.

And the Times (8/7/14) had no apparent problem with President Obama using the 2001 AUMF to launch the war in the first place. It did not then mention what it now calls the "questionable legality" of the authorization, instead playing up the ticking time bomb nature of the war effort, and even going out of its way to chide Obama for not following through on veiled threats to bomb the Assad regime the previous year.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 2   News 2   Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Fair News Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Corporate Media Analysts' Indifference to US Journalists Facing 70 Years in Prison

North Dakota's War on 1st Amendment Goes From Bad to Worse

Iran Doesn't Have a Nuclear Weapons Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

Ignoring Washington's Role in Yemen Carnage, 60 Minutes Paints US as Savior

As Democratic Voters Shift Left, "Liberal Media" Keep Shifting Right

Focus on Pruitt's Scandals Obscures Environmental Degradation Under Trump

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend