Lawlessness in Government

Nate Pickens ◦ 2021 June 28

Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore, used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Stylized from original.

Glenn Greenwald ruthlessly calls out the Biden administration’s second round of bombing in Syria, highlighting not just the fallacious self-defense justification of such actions, but the illegality of them, something so few seem to care about ever since Bush left the Oval Office.

Beyond the propagandistic justification is the question of legality, though even to call it a question dignifies it beyond what it merits. There is no conceivable Congressional authorization — none, zero — to Biden’s dropping of bombs in Syria. Obama’s deployment of CIA operatives to Syria and years of the use of force to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad never had any Congressional approval of any kind, nor did Trump’s bombing of Assad’s forces (urged by Hillary Clinton, who wanted more), nor does Biden’s bombing campaign in Syria now. It was and is purely lawless, illegal. And the same is true of bombing Iraq. The 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, which the House just last week voted to repeal, has long since ceased to provide any legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence and bombing campaigns in that country.

Each administration carries on the transgressions of its predecessors, because each one—Democrat and Republican alike—has no adherence to any sort of morality or principles, but is simply doing the bidding of lobbyists, corporations, and more generally, money.

The U.S. government is a lawless entity. It violates the law, including its own Constitution, whenever it wants. The requirement that no wars be fought absent congressional authority is not some ancillary bureaucratic annoyance but was completely central to the design of the country. Article I, Section 8 could not be clearer: “The Congress shall have Power . . . to declare war.”

This is not something that can be fixed by voting for the lesser of two evils. Nor is it likely to be fully disrupted by way of third-party candidates, though I don’t see that hurting. The apparatus of control within the US has its roots outside the government. Until we find a way to disentangle enough of our politicians from the clutches of lobbyists, those lobbyists will continue to ensure that no one is held accountable.

Read Greenwald’s post here.

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