Authorized use of military force

For the last five years, the U.S. has been engaged in a global war against terror (GWAR). Technically, it isn't a war. It's an authorized use of military force.

The U.S. Constitution designates Congress to "provide for the common defense" of the nation. Article I, Section 8 gives the legislature the following powers:

  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
  • To provide and maintain a navy;
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.
The President's role in war-making is defined by the first 34 words of Section 2 of Article II: "The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States."

The United States hasn't declared war in 65 years. FDR signed a declaration of war after the attack of Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. Additional declarations of war were against European nations were promulgated over the next seven months as the U.S. was drawn further into World War II.

America has been involved in several undeclared wars since then. In 1950, President Truman described the U.S. military presence in Korea as a "police action." The Vietnam conflict was never a declared war, and neither were excursions into Lebanon (1982-83), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), or Somalia (1993).

After the prolonged engagement in Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to counter the lack of legislative authority over the military. Under terms of the resolution, the President can introduce the military into hostile situations for up to 60 days unless there is a declaration of war, an attack on the U.S., or a specific authorization of force.

On September 18, 2001, President Bush signed into law the joint Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution that directed him to "use all appropriate and necessary force" against those responsible for the terrorist acts of 9/11 "in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States."

In October of 2002 Congress passed the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq, citing a laundry list of trumped-up reasons that have been thoroughly discredited.

The authorization of military force launched the invasion of Afghanistan, the overthrow of the Taliban and persecution of Al Qaida, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And are the pretenses for indefinite detainment, circumvention of U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions, kidnapping, torture, domestic spying, and countless transgressions perpetrated in our names.

Life During Authorized Use of Military Force just doesn't have the same zing.


Blogger Miss Cellania said...

But if we called it "war", it wouldn't fit in with the Newspeak coming out of the defense dept.


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