“executive war”—war by the Imperial Presidency without Congressional
authorization or oversight—against
and Iran is alienating foreign
friends, radicalizing foreign adversaries, undermining Pakistan democracy, and setting
American society up for blowback. U.S.
What under Bush-Cheney neocons was touted as a war against anti-U.S. terrorists has now become a war against Muslim political activists who may not have any intent of attacking the
and may not even be
fighting against their own governments. They may simply be innocent bystanders
who fit profiles used to excuse murder, in the case of drone attacks that kill
unidentified individuals, or industrial disaster, in the case of cyberwar
sabotage. And that cyberwar sabotage, whose computer code weapons have already
gone viral and spread
out of control around the world, could strike anywhere, including back in
the U.S. Cyber chickens are flying home to roost. The Obama wars take distinct
forms depending on the country – economic and technological against Iran
(supplementing a highly public economic war and a terrorist
campaign murdering nuclear scientists that may in the future be tied
definitively to the White House), drone bombing against Pakistan—but appear to
fit a consistent pattern of violating Constitutional requirements that Congress
approve war and provide oversight. U.S.
As Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the leading Congressional advocate of a tempered and rational foreign policy, warned in his recent letter to President Obama demanding an accounting for his unauthorized use of drones:
The fact that they are conducted with complete impunity and with no accountability threatens to set a dangerous precedent that could unravel the very laws and international standards the
helped to create. Even the most ardent supporter of the current President should consider the precedent created by granting the President the power to circumvent the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [Kucinich Leads Congress in Demanding Accountasb ility and Transparency for Drone Strikes,” Kucinich. House.Gov U.S. 5/31/12.]
Kucinich also warned in his letter that targeting “ terrorist suspects whose identity does not need to be known goes further than what Congress authorized when it passed the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) after the attacks of September 11th (9/11). As you know, the AUMF only authorized the use of force against those responsible for the attacks of 9/11 and those who harbored them, not against individuals whose identity is unknown, but that merely fit a certain profile of suspected terrorist activity.”
Both the drone attacks and the cyberwar have been cloaked in a relatively transparent security blanket that has long since ceased fooling anyone but that continues to obstruct the due process of law in the
that rests on the
ability of the system of government to hold powerful officials accountable for
their actions. Obama Administration leaked formed the basis of a recent New
York Times piece by David Sanger detailing the Obama Administration’s
complicity in the cyberwar attack on U.S. . Thus does Obama
continue one of the worst abuses of the neo-con era – the attempts by the White
House to position itself above the law. Iran
The Christian Science Monitor bluntly spelled out one of the blowback routes of this new global threat:
the possibility that such attacks could provide a digital copy of the cyberweapon to rogue nations or that hacktivists could reverse-engineer the weapon for use against the power grid or other key
Officially revealing the
attacking foreigners in their home countries with drones, White House
Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, as quoted in Washington
Post U.S. 4/30/12,
...let me say it as simply as I can. Yes, in full accordance with the law — and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives — the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones.
The anti-Iranian cyberwar remained mired in controversy, with both the Obama Administration and Israel’s Mossad seemingly competing for credit, oblivious to the strong possibility that both will be condemned by history for opening wide this new Pandora’s Box. Washington may not have invented cyberwar, but it certainly is making few efforts to delay the arrival of a new, nasty world in which low-cost, highly dangerous cyberwar will ravage global societies.
Obama’s private wars violate two of the most fundamental principles of democracy. First, although now utterly obvious as the result of White House statements, they were when determined and implementing totally defiant of the need for transparency in government, being implemented without Congressional authorization and behind the backs of the American people. Second, in their lack of Congressional oversight, they violate the equally critical democratic requirement of rule of law by establishing a precedent of arbitrary and unauthorized Presidential action. Once the President acquires the “right” in practice, if not in law, to make private war, what power is denied him? To argue that the President cannot personally authorize war except when it is fought via the Internet or drones makes a mockery of democracy.