“In times of war, the law falls silent” (Inter arma enim silent leges)

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War on Terror: war on Al Qaeda – over $3 trillion (12 years)
Cold War: war against communism – $3 trillion (10 years)

Osama bin Laden issued his fatwa declaring war on the U.S. in 1996; Congress reciprocated three days after 9/11 with the Authorization for Use of Military Force — against al-Qaeda and those who harbor and abet it. The Authorization to Use Military Force (War on Terror), gave the president authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.”

– having already cost trillions of dollars, 250,000 military personnel, trillions of dollars worth of intelligence gathering institutions and capabilities, millions of dollars set in rewards for al-Qaeda terrorists, and a supposed network with supposed al-Qaeda active terrorist members in very large numbers.

Yet in 2011, we had less than 1000 detained who have been accused of being al-Qaeda terrorists.

Currently, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, al-Qaeda terrorists number estimates range from several hundred to several thousand members.

In the Cold War, we had the Soviet military with over 5 million men – Long-Range Ballistic Missile capabilities – an empire with a declared arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons – massive nuclear arsenals and warheads, sophisticated fighter aircraft, tanks…

Our war on al-Qaeda terror does not include a single nation state or organized state military. No military infrastructure or headquarters. No trained army-navy-air force. No tanks, warplanes, nuclear warheads, drones. No intelligence institutions or landmarks. No communication satellites. No technology. No borders. No GDP…

Does this make sense to you? Does it make sense as far as the trillions of dollars you have been made to pay for this? What are we talking about here? A massive never-ending war against a fantastical network of technologically and militaristically dwarfed terrorists

2012 Global Terrorism Index: Capturing the Impact of Terrorism from 2002-2011:
the number of attempted attacks increased very slightly over the past two years. The number of fatalities fell from a peak of about 10,000 in 2007 to approximately 7,500 in 2011. The number of injuries declined from a peak of 19,000 in 2009 to 14,000 in 2011. Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for 35% of all attacks during the decade. Over one-third of the period’s terror victims were Iraqi. North America was the region least likely to suffer an attack, followed by Western Europe and Latin America. The number of al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan stands at perhaps a couple dozen (an official estimate from several years ago; the number is likely even lower today).

– outgoing pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson, recently, gave a speech at the Oxford Union and said that the War on Terror must, at some point, come to an end:

“Now that efforts by the US military against al-Qaeda are in their 12th year, we must also ask ourselves: How will this conflict end? … ‘War’ must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs. We must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the ‘new normal.’ Peace must be regarded as the norm toward which the human race continually strives… “There will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, that al-Qaeda will be effectively destroyed.”

The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.

Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent?

Amnesty International: “The global war paradigm introduced by the Bush administration and carried over by the Obama administration treats the whole world as a battlefield.”

Cicero, two thousand years ago, warned that “In times of war, the law falls silent” (Inter arma enim silent leges).

 

Additional Note: The War Powers Resolution, passed in 1973, requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of launching military operations. The law, passed in the wake of the Vietnam war, also requires the president to seek a congressional authorization — or an outright declaration of war — if those forces are engaged beyond 60 days. But the 1973 law has been labeled unconstitutional by successive presidents and for the most part has been ignored, though the Iraq wars in 1991 and 2003 were approved by Congress in votes that were seen as politically necessary.

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