Your Turn, Congress, on Syria and Afghanistan

Bruce Fein:

They should stop shouting at the president and take their case to Congress as the Declare War Clause instructs. The best test of the truth of their claims will be their ability to persuade Congress to declare war against Syria and Afghanistan.

Your turn, folks.

 

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Finally, a Congressional Challenge to Presidential War Authority

Jason Ditz:

45 years after War Powers Act, a first successful challenge.

In a vote on Thursday, the Senate passed S.J. Resolution 54, in a vote of 56-41. The resolution is a War Powers Act challenge to the unauthorized US involvement in the War in Yemen, and would require the US to cease its involvement, if a complementary bill passes in the House. 45 years to the day after the War Powers Act was passed, this is the first successful challenge.

Support for the War Powers Act has been bipartisan but this challenge is also bipartisan.

Sheldon Richman: Who Wants to go to War Against Russia?

Who wants to go to war against Russia in defense of Ukraine over the Kerch Strait, which lies between the Black and Azov seas and between Russia’s Taman Peninsula and Russian-annexed Crimea?

A show of hands, please.

But careful: don’t misconstrue my question. I’m not asking who wants the “United States” to go to war. I’m asking, rather: who is personally willing to fight the Russian military over the strait? Or: who is willing to see his or her sons and daughters fight, kill, and die in that cause?

Read the whole thing. Its a trove of information.

 

 

Trump: Experts All Say US Troops Need to Stay in Afghanistan

President Trump:

every expert that I have and speak to says if we don’t go there, they’re going to be fighting over here. And I’ve heard it over and over again.”

I suppose its the same with Iraq. Its gone so well. Of course, an “expert” will say the government needs to continue doing the same thing. Such insight is what makes them experts!

Congress Proposes to Increase Military Spending to $700 billion

 

Approved by the Armed Services Committee by a 27-0 vote in late June, the overall Senate bill provides $640 billion for core Pentagon operations, such as buying weapons and paying troops, and another $60 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Trump’s budget request sought $603 billion for basic functions and $65 billion for overseas missions.

As their House counterparts did, the Senate bill rejects Mattis’ plan to launch a new round of base closings starting in 2021. He told lawmakers in June that closing excess installations would save $10 billion over a five-year period. Mattis said the savings could be used to acquire four nuclear submarines or dozens of jet fighters. But military installations are prized possessions in states and lawmakers refused to go along.

Any base closings? Any discussion about cutting back on the ambitions of its advocates, the global footprint, the number of missions, the empire maintenance? Nope. Just like every other function of government, it continues to grow.

Are you kidding me? We have wars to fight, people to kill, money to spend, and jobs to protect.

Here.

 

That $65 billion in “overseas missions” is called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.

It is a separate pot of funding operated by the Department of Defense and the State Department, in addition to their “base” budgets (i.e., their regular peacetime budgets). Originally used to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the OCO continues to be a source of funding for the Pentagon, with a fraction of the funds going to the State Department.

Since the OCO fund has very little oversight and is not subject to the sequestration cuts that slashed every other part of the budget in 2013, many experts consider it a “slush fund” for the Pentagon.

Details here.

 

Air Force could recall up to 1,000 retired pilots

Flash:

The Air Force could recall up to 1,000 retired pilots after President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at addressing what the Pentagon has described as an “acute shortage of pilots.”

The order, which Trump signed Friday, amends an emergency declaration signed by George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Under current law, the Air Force is limited to recalling just 25 pilots. The order signed by Trump temporarily removes that cap for all branches of the military.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, said in a statement that the Air Force is currently “short approximately 1,500 pilots of its requirements.”

Any discussion about cutting back on the ambitions of its advocates, the global footprint, the number of missions, the empire maintenance? Nope. Just like every other function of government, it continues to grow.

 

U.S. on the Verge of Carrying out War on Terror in The Philippines

A. Trevor Thrall and Erik Goepner:

Here we go again. The United States is on the verge of carrying out military operations in yet another country as part of the war on terrorism. The Philippines — specifically the southern island of Mindanao — may soon become the latest target of the world’s busiest and most powerful military. The goal will apparently be to strike Islamic State elements that “could be a threat to allies in the region.”

 

Why is this a problem?

The strikes would further erode America’s moral credibility by putting American firepower in service to a thuggish regime. Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ president, has boasted about personally carrying out extrajudicial killings during his time as a mayor. The killings have grown with his political power. Amnesty International reports that Duterte has approved thousands of extrajudicial killings since he assumed the presidency.