Thursday, February 12, 2015

Here we go again ...

The Prez has asked Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The good news is that he concedes that it might exceed his powers to go on shooting people up around the world based on the panicked resolution that Congress passed in 2001. The bad news is that he wants to go on shooting people up around the world. (And he is not ready to repeal the old AUMF, just in case it might come in handy.)

If we have learned anything since that old AUMF, it would be that if we decide to go shooting people up, we ought to know what we are trying to accomplish by doing so. Also whether shooting people up is a plausible route to whatever that goal is -- but that's an advanced question. A couple of days ago, my friend Sarah Lazare asked some of right questions at Foreign Policy in Focus.

Do we really think that the U.S. military operation against ISIS will bring about a good outcome for the people of Iraq and Syria, or for U.S. society? Is there any evidence from the more than 13 years of the so-called “War on Terror” that U.S. military intervention in the Middle East brings anything but death, displacement, destabilization, and poverty to the people whose homes have been transformed into battlefields?

The answer to these questions must be a resounding “No.”

... More than 13 years on, there is no evidence that the “War on Terror” has accomplished its stated, if amorphous, goal: to weed out terrorism (defined to exclude atrocities committed by the U.S. and allied states, of course). According to the Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, global terrorist incidents have climbed dramatically since the onset of the War on Terror. In 2000, there were 1,500 terrorist incidents. By 2013, this number had climbed to 10,000. People in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria suffer the most, the index notes. ...

Go read the whole article -- it is to the point.

So what to do? I've just learned about a new book that might have some promising suggestions: Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle In Iraq. If Iraqis can keep trying to make peace and justice amidst the carnage we've left them with, we can at least try.

And at this moment, sign those petitions to Congress. It would be healthy to demand debate on whether we want to be tromping around in other peoples' countries for once. Here at two:

Peace Action

Win Without War

Yes, they'll probably send you email for the rest of your life (or your email's life) but that's a small price to pay. You might not even mind if they pass you on to more activist groups ... This isn't going to stop until we stop it.

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