The U.S. Congress is bound to vote on a bill that will automatically authorize the U.S. president to declare war against any groups, countries or persons - including Russia, China, Syria, North Korea or Venezuela - seen to be opposed to U.S. policies across the globe.
A large number of civil society organizations including ACLU, NGO's and congressmen within the Democratic and the Republican parties in the U.S. are joining forces to fight against the defense authorization bill.
In a memorandum describing the urgent and dangerous legislation proposed at the Congress by Republican reps, the civil liberties and their allies at Capitol Hill and within the White House are battling against the proposed legalization of war. To many observers, this is a virtual declaration of war against the rest of the world with powers by the military and the President to attack Americans in their own country altogether.
"This monumental legislationΓÇôwith a large-scale and practically irrevocable delegation of war power from Congress to the PresidentΓÇôcould commit the United States to a worldwide war without clear enemies, without any geographical boundaries (the use of military force within the United States could be permitted), and without any boundary relating to time or specific objective to be achieved." said the memorandum.
Nearly three dozen House Democrats are calling on Republicans to withdraw a section of the 2012 defense authorization bill that they say would effectively declare a state of permanent war against unnamed Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.
There is no geographical limitationΓÇôthe new Declaration of War has no specification of countries against which military force could be used, and no specification of countries where U.S. armed forces could be deployed with or without the permission of the host country. Military force could even be used within the United States and against American citizens.
There is no specific objective for the new Declaration of War, which means that there is no clear criteria after which the PresidentΓÇÖs authority to use military force would expire. Although the proposed new Declaration of War lists ΓÇ£al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forcesΓÇ¥ as the ΓÇ£threat,ΓÇ¥ there is no definition for any of these entities, which historically have been amorphous, with shifting names, memberships, and organizational relationships.
A letter from the House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and 32 other Democrats argues that affirming continued war against terrorist forces goes too far, giving too much authority to the president without debate in Congress.
Their letter cites language in the authorization bill that incorporates the Detainee Security Act, which affirms continued armed conflict against terrorists overseas.
ΓÇ£By declaring a global war against nameless individuals, organizations and nations ΓÇÿassociatedΓÇÖ with the Taliban and al Qaeda, as well as those playing a supporting role in their efforts, the Detainee Security Act would appear to grant the president near unfettered authority to initiate military action around the world without further congressional approval,ΓÇ¥ Democrats wrote. ΓÇ£Such authority must not be ceded to the president without careful deliberation from Congress.ΓÇ¥
ΓÇ£Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces still pose a grave threat to U.S. national security,ΓÇ¥ the bill says. ΓÇ£The Authorization for Use of Military Force necessarily includes the authority to address the continuing and evolving threat posed by these groups.ΓÇ¥ the bill says.
There are no indication that the Congress will not vote in favor of the new declaration of worldwide war without end, and without clear enemies.
"A ΓÇ£sleeper provisionΓÇ¥ deep inside defense bills pending before Congress could become the single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history." wrote one observer.
An American blogger said it is clear President Obama has not sought enactment of the proposed new Declaration of War. However, to the contrary, his Administration has made clear its position that it believes it already has all of the authority that it needs to fight terrorism. While the Obama administration may not give full support to the Congress vote on the bill, it will not stop the progress of this bill into law and the start of a new era of wars without end. It will surely use it in its advantage over its preceived enemies across the world and this will include all nations that are seen 'opposed' to the U.S. such as China, Russia and many among the Muslim states or even Venezuela, Cuba for example.
If proposed new Declaration of War becomes law, President Obama and all of his successors, until and unless a future Congress and future President repeal it, will have the sweeping new power to make war almost anywhere and everywhere.
The specific language in the bill is found in section 1034 of H.R. 1540, which affirms that the U.S. is ΓÇ£engaged in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.ΓÇ¥ It also affirms that the president has the authority to detain ΓÇ£certain belligerentsΓÇ¥ until the armed conflict is over. We all know the U.S. has no intent to end the war on terror since it is a means to attack Islam and the Muslims in particular. It helps the U.S. invade rich Muslim states or strategic ones in order to fulfill the American desire to control the globe.
Of all of the powers that the Constitution assigns to Congress, no power is more fundamental or important than the power ΓÇ£to declare War.ΓÇ¥ That is why, in 2002, when Congress was considering whether to authorize war in Iraq, it held fifteen hearings, and passed legislation that cited specific harms, set limits, and defined a clear objective.
Now, Congress is poised to give unchecked authority to the executive branch to use military force worldwide, with profoundly negative consequences for our fundamental democratic system of checks and balances. Once Congress expands the presidentΓÇÖs war power, it will be nearly impossible to rein it back in. The ACLU strongly opposes a wholesale turnover of war power from Congress to the president ΓÇô and all of his successors.