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Congress: End Endless War and Stop Becoming “the Evil That We Deplore”

By Norman Solomon

Congress waited six years to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution after it opened the bloody floodgates for the Vietnam War in August 1964.

If that seems slow, consider the continuing failure of Congress to repeal the “war on terror” resolution -- the Authorization for Use of Military Force -- that sailed through, with just one dissenting vote, three days after 9/11.

Prior to casting the only “no” vote, Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke on the House floor. “As we act,” she said, “let us not become the evil that we deplore.”

We have. That’s why, more than 11 years later, Lee’s prophetic one-minute speech is so painful to watch. The “war on terror” has inflicted carnage in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere as a matter of routine. Targets change, but the assumed prerogative to kill with impunity remains.

Now, Rep. Lee has introduced H.R. 198, a measure to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force. (This week, several thousand people have already used a special webpage to email their Senators and House members about repealing that “authorization” for endless war.) Opposed to repeal, the Obama administration is pleased to keep claiming that the 137-month-old resolution justifies everything from on-the-ground troops in combat to drone strikes and kill lists to flagrant abrogation of civil liberties.

A steep uphill incline faces efforts to repeal the resolution that issued a blank political check for war in the early fall of 2001. Struggling to revoke it is a valuable undertaking. Yet even repeal would be unlikely to end the “war on terror.”

At the start of 1971, President Nixon felt compelled to sign a bill that included repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. By then, he had shifted his ostensible authority for continuing the war on Vietnam -- asserting his prerogative as commander in chief. Leaders of the warfare state never lack for rationales when they want to keep making war.

In retrospect, the U.S. “war on terror” has turned out to be even more tenacious than the U.S. war that took several million lives in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Some key similarities resonate with current circumstances. Year after year, in Congress, support for the Vietnam War was bipartisan. Presidents Johnson and Nixon preached against unauthorized violence in America’s cities while inflicting massive violence in Southeast Asia. Both presidents were fond of proclaiming fervent wishes for peace.

But unlike the horrific war in Southeast Asia, the ongoing and open-ended “war on terror” is not confined by geography or, apparently, by calendar. The search for enemies to smite (and create) is availing itself of a bottomless pit, while bottom-feeding military contractors keep making a killing.

Beyond the worthy goal of repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force is a need for Congress to cut off appropriations for the “war on terror.” A prerequisite: repudiating the lethal mythology of righteous war unbounded by national borders or conceivable duration.

What may be even more difficult to rescind is the chronic disconnect between lofty oratory and policies digging the country deeper into endless war.

“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” President Obama said in his 2013 inaugural address, after four years of doing more than any other president in U.S. history to normalize perpetual war as a bipartisan enterprise.

Repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force will be very hard. Revoking the power to combine lovely rhetoric with pernicious militarism will be even more difficult.


Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

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Dulce Et Decorum Est III & A Taste of Armageddon
(or the empire has no clothes but a disposition matrix)
by michael hall
In due homage to Horace, Owen and Mikhail i humbly nod
for how sweet & glorious it must be to kill or die for God & country by pompous duty with dishonor
so c'mon kiddies, any up for good jingo sport?
who’s hungry & poor, who wants to play the hubris 'anything for profit' killing game?
As effusively embedded  newspapers rah rah their pied pier patriotism with journalistic integrity & objectivity ha ha!
as a new battle lies just around the corner & armed forces day  just weeks away hooray!
rally loyal citizens to whitewash warm innocuous blood off disgraced musket & sullied polluted flag
strike up the marching parade manifested by destiny down main street usa hey hey!
Awaken & open thine eyes chauvinistic folk, come & see your overseas deeds of nefarious brutality 
given that your liable for this appalling tax-paid violence you've exported to hamlets & villages on human beings
assaulting families who've never did you any harm in lands you've never heard of, nor care less for
so step on up, one & all, for everyone here is accountable & responsible for this odious debacle
Take a trip to the overflowing morgues filled with small smashed bodies, once were toddlers full of laughter & life
deeply inhale the rancid stench of scorched flesh crispy burnt to a black  bubbly mass by phosphorus 
gaze into doll dead eyes frozen forever by shock & awe renditioned via your God blessed terror raining down
from atop a cold gurney a stiff  finger of a tiny hand  amidst a pile of mangled flesh is pointing at you war supporters
Watch as grief-stricken fathers zombie-wander in shattered silence
sifting through ragged debris & devastating destruction searching for lost sons & missing daughters
discovering ripped wet mangled body parts strewn out as pieces of a human jig-saw puzzle
taking home the ear, the hand, the foot to be quietly buried while 6000 miles away 'heroes' giggle & dub this 'bugsplat'
Harken to the heart-piercing shrieks as soul-torn asunder mothers wail like howling wild animals
as they find their loves buried, broken & bloody in the rubble of your glorious works
then if you can, please explain to the unresponsive moaning  neonatal orphan
why your armed forces just murdered his accident, then wave a condolence payment in his face
Celebrate as your special op-forces silently & quickly dig our bullets from civilian bodies
to cover their tracks from being at the wrong address...again 
declare as a holiday murdered  women at a bridal shower or when 4 kids are droned to smithereens while tending sheep
rejoice in exported evil exploits as great american victories for which your war crimes always are
Trust  flim-flam, the PR propaganda spin from your MSM complicit mouthpiece
praise your  taxes which finances anglo-terrorism  through illegal & immoral aggressive violence
raise your false flag ever higher to cover the rising pile where the butchered lie
however dear good christian citizens, do not trust that any civic rag could ever soar over the sick slaying of the innocent
Consider Fallujha surrounded & caged, then the cowering cringing unarmed civilian inhabitants
shot, burned & barbequed like slaughtered sitting ducks in a ‘free-fire zone’ shooting gallery 
ponder upon your sanctimonious attack at a school in Bajour where 69 children are massacred by joystick
this is Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, My Lai, Haditha, & other mass-media contorted & distorted great triumphs
which to no doubt in my mind, the next war crime called a ‘battle’ will be anointed too, of course, ta! ta!

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