Lawyers, Drones, and Funny (Stuff Going on in The U.S. Government)
I am often suspicious that I have no idea how the world works, which is one of the reasons I like to read: I feel as though I'm filling an infinitely large hole in my brain, and this feels simultaneously productive and good and also desperate and futile, and so it made me happy to hear Radiolab's Jad Abumrad make the same assertion during their new podcast "60 Words"; the show explores the consequences of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, a resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 14th, 2001 for obvious reasons . . . and a resolution that passed with a nearly unanimous vote-- only Barbara Lee had the foresight to see the possible problems with such a vague, broad, timeless fiat; the sixty words have authorized two wars, Guantanamo Bay detention center, and drone attacks, and the two phantom words, which were not in the original sentence, which authorizes the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against "nations, organization, or persons" that were involved in the September 11 attack on the United States, these two words-- which have been inserted by the government to make it easier to fight this war on terror . . . the words "associated forces," and so now it is difficult (even for congress itself) to know exactly who we are at war with, and who we can legitimately attack and kill with a drone (which is where the lawyers come in, when you want to issue a drone strike, you don't check with your commanding officer, first you check with a lawyer to see if it's legal) and while President Obama has attempted to make some inroads at ending the War on Terror, it's very difficult to stop something when the folks you are fighting haven't stopped fighting . . . and so Obama said that he was only going to use drone strikes when there is "an imminent threat" to the American people . . . and so perhaps the AUMF will eventually be repealed, but then there will be some new and powerful words that will insure that most folks have absolutely no idea what is legal and what our government is improvising . . . if you really want to learn more, read this very detailed article by Gregory Johnson called "60 Words and a War Without End: The UNtold Story of the Most Dangerous Sentence in U.S. History."