[News] Perpetual War – and Obama’s Perpetual Con Game

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 29 17:00:49 EDT 2013


*Perpetual War – and Obama’s Perpetual Con Game*

*by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
*

http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/perpetual-war-%E2%80%93-and-obama%E2%80%99s-perpetual-con-game*
*

“/He admits to having done no wrong.”/

Barack Obama is a master trickster, a shape-shifter, and a methodical 
liar. The man who has arrogated to himself the right to kill at will, 
anywhere on the globe, accountable only to himself, based on secret 
information and classified legal rationales, now says he is determined 
that Washington’s “perpetual war” must one day end – sometime in the 
misty future after he is long gone from office. He _informed 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/23/obama-drones-guantanamo-speech-text>_ 
his global audience of potential victims that he had signed a secret 
agreement (with himself?) that would limit drone strikes to targets that 
pose “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and cannot be captured 
– a policy that his White House has always claimed (falsely) to be 
operative. He promises to be more merciful than before, “haunted” as he 
is by all the nameless deaths, although he admits to having done no wrong.

He is a man of boundless introspection, inviting us to ride with him on 
his wildly spinning moral compass. But, most of all, he is not George 
Bush – of that we can be certain, if only because he is younger and 
oratorically gifted and Black. “Beyond Afghanistan,” he said, “we must 
define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror,’ but rather 
as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific 
networks of violent extremists that threaten America.” Thus, magically, 
he redefined the U.S. war on terror out of existence (in perpetuity) by 
breaking the conflict down to its daily, constituent parts, while 
simultaneously affirming that America will soon travel “beyond 
Afghanistan” despite the fact that many thousands of Special Operations 
troops will continue their round the clock raids in the countryside 
while drones rain death from the skies for the foreseeable future.

Such conflicts, we must understand, are necessitated by the “imminence” 
of threats posed to U.S. security, as weighed and measured by secret 
means. His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence. He is also the 
arbiter of who is to be detained in perpetuity, without trial or 
(public) charge, for “association” with “terrorists” as defined by 
himself. He has no apologies for that.

“/His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence.”/

America must turn the page on the previous era, because “the threat has 
shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11.” A 
reevaluation is in order, since “we have to recognize that the scale of 
this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 
9/11.” In that case, why not call for repeal of the layers of war on 
terror legislation that have accumulated over the last 12 years, 
including Obama's own NDAA preventive detention bill? Or, he could 
simply renounce these measures and refuse to employ them as a matter of 
policy. Instead, the president defended his own maximalist 
interpretation of the law, and claimed that the legal basis for his 
kill-at-will authority is firmly rooted in the Congress’s 2001 
Authorization of Military Force (AMUF). Although he made vague reference 
to changes that Congress might make in the AMUF, there was no 
substantive indication that he sought to impose restrictions on his own 
or any other president's authority to wage war precisely as he has for 
the last four years.

Obama’s blanket interpretation of AMUF – the legal logic - had 
previously been considered a state secret. It was news to much of the 
U.S. Senate, too, until assistant secretary of defense Michael Sheehan, 
in charge of special operations (death squads) at the Pentagon, _told 
lawmakers 
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/war-powers-obama-administration_n_3288420.html?view=print&comm_ref=false>_ 
earlier this month that the AMUF allows Obama to put “boots on the 
ground” anywhere he chooses, including “Yemen or the Congo,” if his 
classified logic compelled him to do so.

The senators were stunned – although it is no secret that Obama has 
already put U.S. Special Forces boots on the ground in the Democratic 
Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, and South 
Sudan, and has sent a combat brigade on permanent posting on the 
continent. Central Africa is one part of the world in which al Qaida has 
found little traction. The purported “bad guy” hiding in the bush, 
Joseph Kony, is the Christian leader of the remnants of the Lord’s 
Resistance Army. Obama authorized the deployment under the doctrine of 
Humanitarian Military Intervention, or Responsibility to Protect (R2P), 
a war-making notion that is, at best, ill-defined under international 
law and non-existent in U.S. statutes. However, if Obama is sincere (!) 
in wanting to phase out AMUF, as he averred last week, he’s always got 
R2P as a backup.

“/W//hy not call for repeal of the layers of war on terror legislation 
that have accumulated over the last 12 years?”/

Death squad honcho Sheehan is a believer in the perpetual lifespan of 
AMUF, which he considers operative until al Qaida has been consigned to 
the “ash heap of history” – an eventuality that is “at least 10 to 20 
years” away. Since this is the guy who carries out Obama’s kill orders 
(the identity of his counterpart in the CIA is, of course, a secret), 
one would think that Sheehan and Obama would be on the same page when it 
comes to al Qaida and AMUF. But then, we are told that page has turned.

Obama is very good at flipping pages, changing subjects, hiding the pea 
in his hand while we try to figure out which bowl it’s under. His call 
for Congress to come up with a substitute for AMUF – without yet 
offering his own version – is a ploy to more explicitly codify those 
powers assumed by Bush and expanded upon by the Obama administration. 
Or, the Congress can do nothing – a very likely outcome – and Obama can 
pretend to be the reluctant, self-restrained global assassin, preventive 
detainer and regime changer for the rest of his term.

Not a damn thing has changed.

/BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at 
/_/Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com/ 
<mailto:Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com>_/./

-- 
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