Presidents have been stretching their commander-in-chief powers since Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy to make war on the Barbary pirates. But Congress risks a perpetual war of presidential choice if it carelessly rewrites the 9/11 force-authorization act, warns Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest for the Boston Marathon bombing prompted calls from Sen. John McCain and three other Republican lawmakers to declare the 19-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen an enemy combatant, a reminder of how the politics of terrorism has distorted American principles, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
After the 9/11 attacks, the smart response might well have been to denounce the killings as a monstrous crime and treat al-Qaeda as outlaws to be brought to justice. But President Bush’s tough-guy response was to declare the crime a “war” and ensnare the U.S. in a conflict with no end, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
Congressional “tough-guy-ism” – blocking President Obama’s plan to shutter the Guantanamo Bay prison and insisting on military tribunals for 9/11 terrorism suspects – is making the prosecutions harder than if they had been transferred to civilian courts, an irony addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Though a decade into history, the events of 9/11 still have a powerful tug on the emotions of Americans, especially New Yorkers whose lives were profoundly changed, as Michael Winship observed after a preview of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
Another element of the “go-to-war-with-Iran hysteria” is a “default judgment” by a U.S. court linking Iran to 9/11. However, Iran had no legal representation in the case, allowing dubious and bogus allegations to go unchallenged, as Gareth Porter noted in this article for Truthout.
From the Archive: After 9/11, President George W. Bush expanded his powers to act unilaterally abroad and encroach on constitutional rights at home, a process that Congress continues in the just-approved National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Nearly a decade ago, Nat Parry examined Bush’s grim vision.
By politicizing who is and who is not a “terrorist” – pinning the label on American adversaries and sparing purported American friends – the U.S. government created confusion at FBI headquarters that contributed to the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks, reports ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
Exclusive: Though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade ago, Congress continues to exploit them to pass evermore draconian laws on “terrorism,” with the Senate now empowering the military to arrest people on U.S. soil and hold them without trial, a serious threat to American liberties, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
President George W. Bush’s response to the 9/11 attacks by launching two open-ended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus the sustained Republican assault on government domestic spending, have contributed to a decline in safety and health at home and abroad, reports Michael Winship.