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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/11/19

Trump Declares Himself a National Emergency

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David Swanson
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War is the most underrated danger, crisis, and moral outrage to be dealt with.

Trump is the most antiwar president the United States has seen in decades.

As a dedicated peace activist, I believe Trump needs to be removed from office immediately.

How can this be so?

First, becoming a relatively antiwar U.S. president is an extremely low bar to clear. Trump has increased weapons sales, demanded that NATO members increase weapons spending, increased U.S. military spending, increased base construction, increased drone murders, increased nuclear weapons construction, threatened nuclear weapons use, fueled hostility with Iran and China and (with a big push from Democrats) with Russia, armed Ukraine, sabotaged longstanding disarmament treaties, exacerbated the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, surrounded himself with hardcore warmongers, celebrated warrior culture, built up the racism and xenophobia and blind subservience that can make wars easier to start, bombed nine nations, not actually ended any wars anywhere, and scared the living hell out of half the globe with his unpredictability.

But, but, but, then how can he be the most antiwar president of the United States in decades? Well, most previous presidents did most of those things too, most of what Trump has done has been to simply continue what was in the works, and for whatever combination of corrupt, incoherent, bigoted, or sensible reasons, he's actually proposed to end and taken steps toward ending U.S. wars in Syria and Afghanistan. He's not yet started any major new wars (that alone makes him unique, until it changes). He's taken steps part-way in the direction of peace in Korea, despite the clamoring of the U.S. media. He's partially resisted an all-out media and Democratic campaign to demonize Russia. The ridiculous lies about Cuban microwave-sound-weapon-brain attacks have come from some of the same sources as Russiagate, not from Trump, and he hasn't attacked Cuba even to the extent that Kennedy did.

Wait, wait, if that's enough for him to hold the title (until he loses it) of most antiwar president in decades, shouldn't some of his predecessors have been impeached, too? Of course, every damn one of them, as you can read about at ridiculous length from the time of their presidencies on my website. Do try to keep up.

OK, whatever, but if you were to get rid of the most antiwar president you'd have more wars, and the nuclear doomsday clock is almost at midnight, and we could all die, and there goes that $1 trillion per year and here comes all the environmental destruction and political corruption and cultural corrosion and all the effects of war that you're going on and on about every damn day with nobody listening except me, a fictional devil's-advocate interlocutor.

Most antiwar is not good enough. We're all going to die from nuclear or climate disaster if Trump remains. We're all going to die from climate disaster whether or not he remains. The problem is not that lesser-evil arguments don't maintain a certain internal logic. The problem is that something non-evil is required and possible. "Don't change Trump, change the system" is a fun strawman chant, but in the absence of anyone who actually thinks the system is working it's not particularly helpful. We need to change the system by, among other things, compelling Congress to end the war on Yemen and then another and then another. Without a Congress, we'll never end all the wars that need to be ended through presidents, no matter what party or group or gender a president may symbolize. We need to change the system by, among other things, creating the real credible threat of impeachment and removal from office, for legitimate popular reasons a threat that will not be believed until it is acted upon, at least once, possibly more than once. That change over the presidency will matter far more than what individual occupies that office.

We need not only a Congress but also a public, a public that does not cheer for or oppose wars based on the perceived positions of a politician or party, but based on an actual I know this is insane an actual preference for peace.

Trump wants to declare a national emergency, to unconstitutionally spend money contrary to the will of Congress, to unconstitutionally use military force domestically, to once and for all abandon the pretense that there is anything left of Congress beyond a gaggle of court jesters and all to build an actual monument to absurd and hateful campaign propaganda. That, and not anything south of Texas, is a national, and global, emergency. Once Trump has seized that power, it will belong to him and be cheered by his devotees, and to the next president if we make it that far, at which point it will be cheered by that person's devotees.

When Bush was president I said we needed to impeach him or the abuses of power would grow.

When Obama was president I said we needed to impeach him or the abuses of power would grow.

When Trump was president I said we needed to impeach him or the abuses of power would grow.

And pundits say predicting the future is difficult!

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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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