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  •  "Authorization to use military force" (11+ / 0-)

    Is not the same as "war," not by a long shot.  It was nothing but a "get out of jail free" card for W and his Dick, on the premise that "if you are the president, whatever you do will be legal."  (Except for diddling interns, of course).  

    •  FSM, that's funny: (6+ / 0-)
      W and his Dick
    •  I'm actually going to disagree with this, (5+ / 0-)

      even though I agree with about 99.9% of what you're saying.  Seems to me that the AUMF is a declaration of war, but one that's very specifically limited to 9/11, not against al Qaeda offshoots all over the world or terror in its inchoate form or groups we want to label al Qaeda or anything like that.

      I'd be curious to hear what you see as the difference between "declaration of war" and "authorization to use military force"--beyond semantics, that is.

      •  For Bush, it apparently meant (7+ / 0-)

        dispensation from having to abide by U.N. conventions on war (including torture and other issues pertaining to treatment of prisoners, etc.), that were ratified by the U.S. and supported after WW2, but which were declared to be "quaint" (the phraseology seems to have Rumsfeld's stamp on it, though Cheney was also pretty good at saccharine condescension).  

        So, maybe it's "war" in the very general sense ("this is war, baby!" which is what rowdy high schoolers say when teech sends them to detention) but not in the specific sense (abiding by U.N. codes of conduct).  

        The U.N. definitions of war were designed to limit abuse and hold people accountable.  The Bush definitions were designed to remove all accountability.  The difference is Nuremberg versus nada.  

        •  Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eikyu Saha, JesseCW

          But it seems to me that what Bush did with it, and what too much of the country countenanced and still countenances, is a different issue from whether or not the AUMF was a Congressional declaration of war.

          I mean, Congress could have used the words "We declare war," and Bush et al. would have done the exact same thing that you describe.

          •  Precisely. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Martha, corvo, lotlizard

            He would have done the same.  And he most likely would not have been held to account.  But there's always that slim chance that some Democrat will take the law seriously.  

            The AUMF was a declaration of war against the world, declaring all that had gone before invalid.  "We don't go by your rules."

            •  But then you're still not answering (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              my question.  And I don't mean this to be disingenuous at all.  What specifically is it in the AUMF that leads you to say that it was not a declaration of war, even though you're now saying that it was a declaration of war against the whole world.

              Yes, it's been abused by the Bush and Obama presidencies, and is still being abused, as far as I'm concerned.  But if Congress is authorizing military force, I still don't see how that is different from Congress declaring war.  Unless it's some other part of the AUMF that you're referring to?

              •  Because (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aunt Martha, corvo, lotlizard, majyqman

                "Declaration of War" used to mean more than just "we're gonna kill y'all."  After WW2 it was supposed to mean "we hereby declare that we are a nation in search of justice; we reject the inhumanities that we have seen historically in war, and we reject the inhumanities that we witness in our declared enemy; we promise to conduct ourselves in a way that does not turn us into the enemy we seek to defeat; we will impose clear conditions on surrender and defeat; we will not abuse those whom we have defeated; etc."  

                I grew up in the shadow of WW2, Korea and Vietnam, and was reminded constantly (up until about 1977) that war dehumanizes and that the struggle of war is to prevent yourself from becoming dehumanized.  "War" had a special meaning in that time.  The Axis were condemned for a wide range of atrocities.  Japan specifically was condemned for not having properly declared war.  "War" was the noble way to fight the inhumanity.  WW2 seemed justified because the Axis actually surrendered, and rather peaceably at that.  So people thought "Hey, if we fight wars, the bad guys will surrender."  Manifestly embarrassing ignorance.  

                The public put an end to the Vietnam War because they saw, when it came down to it, it didn't work.  But nobody could figure out why.  

                Indeed it was optimistic to think there could be a "Just War." But Bush and His Dick never learned anything from WW2 or Korea or Vietnam.  They held a la-la-land view, where you ride in with guns blazing and ride out on a parade of rose petals.  But just to be sure, they covered their asses with AUMF shit that said "we are so SO so very good that everything we do will be good, so don't constrain us with quaint constraints that prevent us from doing such SUCH such good."  

                It was a very different thing from "war" as it had been defined after WW2.  It was more like "atrocities galore," just as Vietnam had been ("kill everything that moves").  To call AUMF the same as "war" is an insult to the temporary wisdom gained in the wake of WW1, and WW2, and Korea, and Vietnam, and . . . oh, look at the pretty butterflies. . . .

                •  I wish I could rec this multiple times, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, Eikyu Saha

                  because on a philosophical, political, personal, cultural, etc. level, I agree with you completely.  But the question is whether or not the AUMF is a constitutional declaration of war.  It can be a shitty one, it can open the door to all sorts of shitty things, we can and should expect better of ourselves and try to hold accountable those people who did and do those shitty things, but I see that as a different issue or different collection of issues than whether or not the AUMF passes constitutional muster as a declaration of war.

                  •  If that's what it is, (0+ / 0-)

                    then why was it not that?  The wording was specifically designed to avoid calling it war.  Why?  It would be remarkable sleight of hand to declare "this isn't a declaration of war" then to turn around and declare that's what it was after all.  What violates the Constitution is the abrogation of treaties.  How egregiously the definition of "war" is twisted is almost beside the point.  Then again, a constitution only exists insofar as people abide by it.  

          •  On second thought. (4+ / 0-)

            I do think the AUMFs of 2001 and 2002 made it perfectly reasonable for other countries to interpret that the U.S. had declared war.  By U.N. standards, the AUMFs basically declared the U.S. to be a rogue nation, since it officially abrogated a range of congressionally ratified agreements.  Lucky for Bush that not even the U.N. takes itself very seriously any more.  

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