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Deplorable, but hardly surprising:
The House today passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains a dangerous provision that authorizes a worldwide war against terrorism suspects and against nations suspected of supporting them. …
The worldwide war provision was added to the bill by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), and goes much further than the current authorization of war. The new authorization would last as long as there are terrorism suspects anywhere in the world and would allow a president to use military force in any country around the world where there are terrorism suspects, even when there is no connection to the 9/11 attacks or any other specific harm or threat to the United States.
Of course it would be unacceptable to have such an act on the books, but the most pertinent question is this: how would the passage of this act change anything? It seems NDAA would do little more than add technical legality to what has been standard operating procedure throughout modern U.S. history, and certainly since 9/11.
After all, since the Bush regime declared the start of the disastrous war on terror, virtually every tenet of the proposed NDAA has already been practiced. Nations suspected of harboring terrorists are deemed terrorist states, and we have already shown – in Pakistan, Yemen and Libya, to name but a few – that we are more than prepared to attack without any form of approval from the U.S. population or their elected representatives beyond the White House. Our invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 in particular, nor terrorism in general, yet it was undertaken in spite of unprecedented pre-war protests, with participants numbering in the millions.
This bill is little more than a formality; whether it passes or not, the status quo will not be altered. The U.S. empire attacks at will and has always done so. Obama has made a public show of pretending to disparage the contents of the act, but in practice he has already engaged in the very tactics he now condemns. Obama’s war crimes have in some ways exceeded those of his ghastly predecessor. Sham or not, Saddam Hussein was at least allowed the motions of a trial, which took place in a country with which the U.S. was more or less formally engaged in war. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a sovereign nation – a nuclear armed one at that – which has done absolutely nothing to the United States nor its citizens, and yet Obama somehow thought it justifiable to authorize an extrajudicial assassination, carried out by elite military forces. Just imagine, as Chomsky suggested, how we would respond if someone had done something similar. An invasion of foreign soldiers on American soil, regardless of their mission, would be considered an act of war – as indeed it should.
The reality is that the U.S. has been engaged in a state of perpetual war since WWII – Korea, Vietnam, the unfathomably dangerous Cold War, Iraq 1 and 2, Afghanistan and now Yemen, Pakistan and Libya. The controversy surrounding the proposed NDAA is a fabrication, designed to distract and confuse the masses, and make them believe that the familiar corporate narrative of the U.S. as the world’s policeman, the sole upholder of the principles of freedom and democracy and human rights. Bull. Shit.
Republican, Democrat, Pepsi, Coke – as long as we are operating within the carefully defined, corporate-crafted boundaries of political and social dialogue, we are condemned to more of the same imperialistic shenanigans that have been shafting ordinary people around the globe for at least the last fifty years. The solution to our problems – the shapeless “change” that Americans so fervently desire – cannot be found within the system itself, but rather from grassroots initiatives that bypass the corporate power structure altogether.
But the comfort that comes with the ever-present McDonald’s dollar menu and three hundred channels of crap on DirectTV has created perhaps the most apathetic, disinterested populace in the history of the world, and it seems that virtually nothing can rouse the masses from their long and tragic slumber.