Giving Trump Carte Blanche for War

A little-noticed Senate bill would give Donald Trump blanket permission to launch wars in violation of the Constitution, says John Kiriakou.

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Have you ever heard of Senate Joint Resolution 59 (S.J.Res. 59)? Neither had I. A friend of mine saw a blurb about it on an obscure national security blog and brought it to my attention. At first glance it didn’t seem to be any big deal. It’s inelegantly named the “Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2018.” It was introduced on April 16, 2018 by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), and Tim Kaine (D-VA). Officially, the bill would “Authorize the use of military force against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and designated associated forces, and provide an updated, transparent, and sustainable statutory basis for counterterrorism operations.”

It’s hard to oppose a bill that would “keep Americans safe,” as Corker said in the SFRC hearing. But this bill is so bad, such an affront to our freedom, such an attack on our civil liberties, that we should be compelled to oppose it.

S.J.Res. 59 is bad for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, it would provide blanket permission for the president to launch a military attack of literally any size and intensity whenever he wants without specific congressional approval. That seems obviously unconstitutional to me, although I’m not a constitutional scholar. Still, the constitution says in Article I, Section 8 that only Congress shall have the authority to declare war, among other things military. It does not allow the president the ability to launch a war.

Congress alone has the power to declare war. Article 1, Section 8. (Click to enlarge view)

Second, according to Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, it also would write the president a “blank check to lock up Americans who dissent against U.S. military policy.” That’s right. If you oppose U.S. military policy, the president would have the right to lock you up indefinitely without charge.

Certainly, our government already does that. But we’re told that this happens to the worst of the worst—those terrorists who happen to be American, but who also have planned large-scale terrorist attacks against the country or its citizens or who have taken up arms against the United States. Think “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla or the a-yet-unnamed Saudi-American currently being held somewhere and being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This is different. This would mean everybody would be at risk. It would mean you could be held in a gulag, incommunicado, if the White House doesn’t like your politics.

The reason this could come to pass is that, third, the bill is (probably unconstitutionally) broad. It says that the president may, “use all necessary and appropriate force” against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, and their “associated forces” anywhere in the world and without limitation. But it doesn’t define what “associated forces” means, nor does it define a “co-belligerent,” someone acting in support of one of these countries or groups. It allows the White House to do that for us.

Fourth, unlike almost every other bill in Congress, this one doesn’t have a sunset clause, meaning it never expires. Congress, to remain relevant, almost always includes a sunset clause so that, if a law is working, it can be renewed. If it isn’t, it can expire. And if it’s flawed, it can be fixed. This one would just go forever.

Several weeks after the bill was introduced, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote a letter to Corker and to SFRC ranking member Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), another S.J.Res. 59 supporter. CCR said that it had “grave doubts” about the appropriateness and the constitutionality of the bill, and that the bill would “hand over broad authority to expand war—that should reside with Congress—to the executive.” CCR continued that passage of the bill would “complete the erosion of congressional war-making authority set in motion by the 2001 AUMF” passed in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued a letter to the SFRC saying that, “The Corker-Kaine proposal would further limit congressional oversight of our perpetual wars. Replacing one blank check with another even broader one is a recipe for disaster.” While conceding that some sort of military authorization is probably necessary, Jones and Lee added that any new bill must include a sunset clause; it must repeal the AUMFs of 2001 and 2002, which also had no sunset clauses; it must be mission-specific; and it must be transparent.

This terrible bill is stuck in the muck of the congressional process right now. As the months tick by, there’s a greater and greater likelihood that it will simply die. But that doesn’t solve the problem. The problem is that Congress is generally made up of lemmings and cheerleaders for the military/industrial/intelligence complex. They do as they’re told, whether it’s by their leadership or whomever happens to be sitting in the White House. That’s bad for the country. It’s bad for the constitution. And it’s bad for future generations.

There’s an old saying in Washington. “Don’t kick a man when he’s down. But if he’s already down, don’t stop kicking him.” Now is the time to kick this bill until it’s dead.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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73 comments for “Giving Trump Carte Blanche for War

  1. Dj
    August 21, 2018 at 22:14

    How can the US wage war against the terrorist organisations and supporters when they are the organisers of such terrorist organisations? We have already seen the US send ISIS to the Philippines and Indonesia as an excuse to attack these countries. The US must be stopped.

  2. David Gunter
    August 11, 2018 at 08:16

    Thanks very much for posting this article. The sunset clause should never have been included in the text.

    • David Gunter
      August 11, 2018 at 08:19

      That is to say the sunset clause should never have been deleted!! Need my morning coffee.

  3. August 11, 2018 at 05:25

    The time in which we are living is of tremendous importance.

    As things are moving today, the logical conclusion is a global suicide.

    We are coming closer to a third world war.

    It is sad to recognize the fact, but it is good to recognize it, because then there is the possibility of taking a different turn.

    A single politician, to show his power, can destroy the whole of civilization.

    Moscow, New York, London, Beijing, any place can be vaporized within seconds.

    The whole point of a war is to win, but in a nuclear war nobody wins.

    So war has lost its basic foundation.

    If a nuclear war happens it will be the destruction of all…

    • August 11, 2018 at 08:33

      It has been some 70 yrs since the use of nuclear weapons in time of war. Many nations now have the weapons and the ability to deliver them to a target. 70 something years and many many wars and no one has wanted to be next use them. No reason to think that suddenly we are on the brink of an all out nuclear war. It just isn’t so. Ever nation with nuclear weapons, no matter their blustery words, know use is instant suicide.

      • August 11, 2018 at 08:59

        Mr. Longyang,
        Well, as Chris Hedges said, we either move toward life or toward death, and we are moving toward death. That means someone will eventually use nuclear weapons which now or many, many times more powerful than the one used on Japan. There is a momentum toward this outcome. Trump himself said, “If we have them (nuclear weapons), why don’t we use them?” I don’t think he will (unless the crazies like Bolton keep whispering in his ear), but someone will, sometime. Destruction is the ultimate goal.

      • Skip Scott
        August 14, 2018 at 08:16

        Whistling past the graveyard, Albert? What makes you think the world’s leaders are any saner than the general population? How many murder/suicides are reported in the news every day? It just takes a few sociopaths to ruin it for everyone. We almost bit the dust in 1962, but thankfully JFK and Khrushchev had a back channel to bypass the crazed warmongers.

  4. Jeff
    August 10, 2018 at 16:26

    How interesting that Hillary’s running mate would this kind of power to Trump.

    • Realist
      August 10, 2018 at 20:23

      George Carlin proved right. It’s just all one big club… and you ain’t in it.

  5. Robert
    August 10, 2018 at 09:02

    What a twisted world. Congress removed Trump’s authority to unilaterally remove sanctions on Russia, but allows him to declare war.

    • Realist
      August 10, 2018 at 20:22

      Because the behind-the-scenes string-pullers have the power, not him.

  6. Maxwell Quest
    August 9, 2018 at 16:32

    Bill SJR-59, what a convenient little assh*le cover. This way congress can get back to doing what it does best, soliciting campaign donations and front-running Wall Street using the inside information gathered in committees. And the pluto’s can get their wars by holding a gun to only one head instead of many heads.

  7. Professor
    August 9, 2018 at 15:12

    Mr. John Kiriakou, after serving time for whistleblowing under Obama, needs to disown this headline and stick with the facts. Truly, ur country has gone in a bad direction but it’s been a while now. So what? , I wonder if he thinks it would have been any different and if he thinks there would be any checks whatsoever, in a rush to war, if Hillary Clinton had been elected instead of Trump. . At least…, AND I MEAN IN THE VERY LEAST,,,. Trump said he wished to see and believed there would be a lasting Peace with Russia. I don’t think Hillary ever said that. I don’t think she cares at all about Peace. After she put her foot down and Russia was annihilated and our Boys had planted the Stars and Stripes in Moscow in their Radiation Proof Kevlar Hillary could have gleefully repeated her intellectually and spiritually ( Let alone morally) bereft MANTRA, “WE Came WE Saw he died”, This tiem about Putin and whoever else. Blame Trump for that.. It’s not a fantasy, She said that. As for Obama and his “RESET” with Russia/Medvedev . , Well ask Medvedev what he thinks of him now.

  8. John Puma
    August 9, 2018 at 13:04

    Constitutional crisis?

    To the contrary, I presume every congressional vote*** for SJ Res 59 will be made in the strict, specific, constitutional sense to OFFICIALLY declare continuous, perpetual war on the rest of the world.

    At least the US will have finally put a legal base to its actions of many decades!!!

    Note the bill’s co-author, recent Dem VP nominee Kaine.
    Do you think he might be going for the big prize in 2020?
    *** Probably including votes of ? 75% of Dems.

    • Lester D
      August 11, 2018 at 15:13

      John Puma, you beat me to it by noting that Tim Kaine was a co-sponsor. C’mon folks, if there was ever any doubt that Hillary Clinton was a war-mongering haridan, GIVE IT UP !!! The one and absolutely only relief from the Trump regime is to imagine what life under a Clinton regime would look like

  9. Clooney's Gerbil
    August 9, 2018 at 10:19

    Just keep voting Dem or Rep. Hey, you never know! And be sure to thank our “Brave Men and Women in Uniform” for their “Service”. Without them we wouldn’t have endless war.

  10. August 9, 2018 at 03:10

    America has violated the Constitution many times.

    So, I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised by this direct assault on one of its basic structural concepts.

    The trouble is that words written on pieces of parchment kept in a museum are in reality protection from nothing.

    Power is power, no matter how it is granted, and democracies are just as capable of abuse as any other form of government.

    It just requires determined people in positions of power, and a general population is that is relatively powerless and quiescent.

    And on top of that, America of course isn’t even a democracy and never was. Many Founders viewed the word “democracy” the way J Edgar Hoover viewed the word “communism” a century and a half later.

    But now what little of a democratic republic that is left is being transformed into a plutocracy.

    A plutocracy armed with vast armies of soldiers and spies and police forces.

    And nothing is less a friend to democratic principles than the military, outfits like the CIA, police forces, and wealthy privileged people.

    This kind of legislative activity only dots some “i”s and crosses some “t”s in making the Constitution into a curious antiquity.

    • Jill
      August 9, 2018 at 10:49

      John C.

      This is very well said.

      John Kirakou,

      Thank you for standing up for US victims of torture, including Assange and for US victims of war and other unjust acts of powerful nations across the planet.

    • August 9, 2018 at 18:48

      @ “The trouble is that words written on pieces of parchment kept in a museum are in reality protection from nothing.”

      “The law, Roper, the law. I know what’s legal, not what’s right. And I’ll stick to what’s legal. . . . I’m not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain-sailing, I can’t navigate, I’m no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh there I’m a forester. . . . What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? . . . And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — Man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down . . . d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow the[n]? . . . Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

      R. Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, Act I, pg. 147 (Three Plays, Heinemann ed. 1967), as quoted in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 195-196 (1978),

  11. CitizenOne
    August 8, 2018 at 23:32

    The article states: “The problem is that Congress is generally made up of lemmings and cheerleaders for the military/industrial/intelligence complex. They do as they’re told,”

    I would ask to please throw the media in that bag of lemmings and cheerleaders warmongering fake news channels which are told what to do and say by the MIC creating the causes for wars all around the world.

    It is so sickening how the fake news tells so many lies and distorts the facts to suit its own agenda. The problem is people believe the crap that substitutes for true investigative journalism. The kind of journalism Robert Parry delivered as well as the excellent contributors who have kept on with the intent of the website to provide a counterbalance and a source of information distinctly different than the one sided analysis and the suppressed realities which our “free press” routinely engages in.

    • Radical Pragmatist
      August 9, 2018 at 09:56

      Exactly. Here’s an example of the state of the “Free Press”.

      Martha Raddatz of ABC news is given a joy ride in an F-15 in Europe. She’s also given face time to suck up to the War Party muckety-mucks. Raddatz could have declined the joy ride and objectively challenged the fear-monger claims of the people she interviewed. But nope, she’s been totally seduced. The result? Martha is a complete stooge for the militarists in Washington. To complete the look, Raddatz should be wearing a camo cheerleading uniform when she portentously reports from the Pentagon.

      The MSM is saturated with stooges like Martha seduced by the massive propaganda machinery of the Warfare State.

      “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”

  12. mike k
    August 8, 2018 at 22:07

    Excellent stuff in these comments. The more dead on and full bore our declarations of the truth, the more impact our pieces will have. People are thirsty for the real truth, unfortunately many of them don’t know where to go to get it. The internet is perhaps our last desperate opportunity to cut through the fog of lies our criminal rulers are pumping out.

    • Realist
      August 9, 2018 at 00:29

      Do people realise how close we came to starting WWIII today when a NATO jet accidentally fired a live air-to-air missile on the Russian border in Estonia? What if that trigger-happy pilot had struck a Russian target, even though not intentionally? Would the maniacs in Washington find it unreasonable if Putin was not as restrained in his response as he was when a Russian plane was downed near the Turkish border in Syria? Would they have unleashed the nukes if Russian planes had shot back, defending their own frontier? This brinksmanship with Russia is madness. It’s all fun and games until the world’s cities start going up in mushroom clouds.

      • August 11, 2018 at 07:47

        “”The embarrassing mishap occurred on Tuesday, when two Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon 2000 jets were taking part in training exercises with two French Mirage 2000 jets, and has prompted the Estonian Air Force to temporarily suspend Spanish aircraft from exercises over its territory.””

        • August 11, 2018 at 07:49

          See it had nothing to with Washington or anyone there or any American aircraft. So it would be between Putin and Spain.

          • Realist
            August 11, 2018 at 21:38

            I think you are being sarcastic, but if not, Spain is part of NATO and engaging in NATO exercises along the Russian frontier. I think it’s called article 5 of the NATO mutual defense pact that states that if any NATO member (posit Spain here) goes to war with another nation (Russia in this case), all of NATO is automatically at war with the unfortunate target country. NATO is the creature of Washington. They hatched it and continued to give it life when its reason for being evaporated along with the Soviet Union in 1990. It is entirely appropriate to blame Washington for the military tensions that persist in the world long after the Cold War supposedly ended.

    • john Wilson
      August 9, 2018 at 02:54

      Yes,Mike, the internet is indeed the last opportunity for people to get honest news. However, the MIC cheer leaders, the deep state and others are already making serious inroads into silencing this last portal of alternative thought. It never ceases to amaze me how it is that the TV station, RT, is allowed to broadcast freely on a free to view station over here in the UK but I can’t see it lasting much longer. Still, the publics derision and near universal disbelief at the government’s ludicrous account of the farcical Skripal poisoning affair gives me a bit of hope that people able to see through the obvious lies and propaganda of MSM.

  13. Sam F
    August 8, 2018 at 21:19

    I sent this letter to Senator Rand Paul recently, on the unconstitutionality of AUMFs:

    “Thank you for your introduction of an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to repeal war authority “granted” by Congress to the Executive branch in the AUMFs of 2001 and 2002. I contend that such AUMFs are not within the federal powers granted in the US Constitution.

    “The founders gave the federal government no power to wage war, only to “repel invasions” and “suppress insurrections,” a very deliberate and wise arrangement. They well knew that such powers would be abused, saw no gain in war far away, and saw the wealth of nations wasted in aristocratic power-grabs, the curse of Europe.

    “The problem, as the founders knew well by the warnings of Aristotle, is that demagogues become tyrants over democracy by creating foreign enemies to demand domestic power and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty.

    “They can do this now because economic concentrations control mass media and elections. The founders provided no protection of US government from economic power because it was not concentrated then. The emerging middle class failed to add these protections as economic powers grew.

    “Only the treaty can bring authority to wage war apart from invasion. The NATO treaty was soon abused to cause aggressive foreign wars, and has been used for little else since 1989. The US must change the NATO treaty to prohibit foreign wars for anything other than mutual defense, with no grey area.

    “Meanwhile the Legislative branch should block the executive from engaging in wars without public consent. The Judicial branch should block Congress from passing unconstitutional AUMFs.

    “If your legal team feels that this case might be successful, I will make the case in the Court of Federal Claims.”

    But we can forget the COFC case: they decided to deny nearly all jurisdiction in 2002, using a fraudulent misquote, because of course Congress could never have meant to relinquish sovereign immunity by the Tucker Act of 1877 that created that court!

  14. August 8, 2018 at 20:52

    Just when you think Holy Mother State can’t get any crazier.

  15. F. G. Sanford
    August 8, 2018 at 19:46

    In a recent interview, Mr. Kiriakou discussed signs that an attack on Iran might be imminent. He mentioned that aggregation of several aircraft carrier battle groups in the Eastern Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, etc. would be a giveaway. Aircraft carriers have become the post-WWII “gunboat diplomacy” weapons of choice. Such vessels can stand off and pound targets inland with no risk to themselves. It has had great success against 3rd world countries with insignificant air and naval resources to resist. Countries like Libya and Yemen can be easily pulverized with this strategy. Countries like Iran – maybe not.

    The propaganda afoot and efforts to shut down discourse are symptomatic of what the “deep state” has realized, but the general public has not. The US economy is on life support. Aircraft carriers are no longer an invincible strategic weapon. The petrodollar is under assault by three of the largest countries in the world: Russia, China and India. European countries are apparently determined to continue purchasing Iranian gas and oil. So is Turkey. Germany sees advantages to friendly relations with Russia. The stock market is propped up by ZIRP financed buybacks. Popular narratives suggest that we “trust the plan”, yet fail to notice that “the plan” bears a striking resemblance to the same old neocon pablum. It’s just packaged in a different box. (Yes, I’m trying to say that “Q” is a neocon psyop.)

    Tyrannical governments in decline eventually attack their own populations. They have to have someone other than themselves to blame. The inevitable disenfranchisement and unrest leads to protest: the self-fulfilling prophesy yields “internal enemies” that must be squelched.

    Martyanov provides an understated synopsis of American strategic disadvantages. Let me put it starkly. There is no defense against ballistic missiles aimed at ships. There is no countermeasure. The survivability of an aircraft carrier attacked with ballistic missiles is zero. Even if the warheads fail to detonate, the kinetic energy alone could theoretically achieve a sinking. It’s like that line from The Karate Kid: “There is no defense”. Does this mean there will be no war? I have no idea. But if there is, it is already lost. I’m betting we’re gonna start doing a lot of jaw-jaw. Wait and see.

    • Sam F
      August 8, 2018 at 21:27

      Yes, “Tyrannical governments in decline eventually attack their own populations.” Demagogic tyrants are always false protectors, they care for none but fellow thieves, and at last there is no one to rob but fellow citizens, so they just adjust their class boundary and rob citizens.

    • Sam F
      August 8, 2018 at 21:41

      Yes, “Tyrannical governments in decline eventually attack their own populations.” Demagogic tyrants are always false protectors, they care for none but fellow thieves, and at last there is no one to rob but fellow citizens, so they just adjust their class boundary and rob citizens.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 8, 2018 at 21:44

      I agree with what you said F.G., as a desperate lying and undeniably dying fugitive who has painted themselves into an inescapable corner can be one hell of a vicious animal, this is the role the friendless USA is certainly playing. I also agree, that to the strategists our being outgunned is a no win prospect, but on the other hand we need to make the Russians our newest threat, or our MIC out of control spending culture will evaporate without its steady stream of taxpayer funding. Oh what to do. I mean can smart minds ascend upon Washington DC with any worthwhile alternative spending programs? Probably not, because in our nation’s capital if it isn’t war, it isn’t worth spending that hard earned dollar on.

      Imagine F.G., that you and I lived in the period of America’s greatest greatness, and now here we are experiencing its slide to such not of it’s greater days. Joe

    • CitizenOne
      August 9, 2018 at 00:21

      I have long wondered about our Navy and its utter vulnerability. Like ducks in a barrel there are a myriad of weapons systems that have no known defense against and the systems are multiplying at a brisk pace. Russia recently announced its stable of new weapons which could render our Navy incapable. We should have abandoned a fleet based defense as unworkable a long time ago. However the carrier based offensive strategy has been successfully deployed time and time again.

      Perhaps the reason that nations which have acquired these technologies choose not to use them or perhaps the developer nations have not supplied the technology to nations which we attack with Carrier fleets.

      Perhaps there is some fear that using these technologically advanced weapons platforms against an American fleet will result in nuclear retaliation if the naval resource is destroyed by obliterating it. But the fact is that these weapons platforms exist and there is no known countermeasure which can defeat them.

      Torpedoes that can travel at hundreds of miles per hour under water exist. Options include underwater detonations which can crack carrier hulls like eggs. Cruise missiles like the French Exocet can fly under the radar and are virtually undetectable hence unstoppable.

      Couple that with our recent multiple collisions with fishing trawlers and you have to wonder if we are really prepared to defend ourselves even from incidental mishaps. Apparently we are not.

      But all of these uncontrollable risks seems to not deter our reliance or continued use of ships to launch attacks. It is logical to assume that sooner or later existing technology will be used to thwart US naval capabilities to launch attacks with devastating effect.

      What would the US do if a carrier was sunk? Likely it would result, given the complete media control by the MIC, to result in a redo of the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. The press would bring the nation to war against some enemy (Russia) even if the true perpetrator was not immediately known.

      We have recently seen such media based and supported rush to judgements against Syria for the various Sarin gas attacks with the resulting launch of cruise missiles in retaliation.

      The proposed bill would make such instantaneous actions based on cooked up evidence lawful. Not surprised that the bill was introduced. It is just a legal fig leaf covering the current practice of making up any story and taking immediate actions be they military or political such as economic sanctions based on flimsy or unsupported evidence which is what has been happening in countries like Syria and Ukraine. The proposed law would enshrine and justify such actions in the future as unquestionable and seditious if opposed. It seems a logical next step to codify and justify current practices.

      On the other hand we should be alarmed that there is a proposed law that would allow current practices to become unquestionable under the law and could silence dissent with incarceration.

      This proposed law would become just another piece in the puzzle which enables the US to justify any military action based on any accusation or allegation even if untested and unproven against perceived enemies. This is a scary scenario given we are already conducting foreign affairs according to the principle of “Ready-Fire-Aim”.

      • Sam F
        August 9, 2018 at 06:35

        Perhaps anti-ship weapons can reduce imperialist aggression, in cases where
        1. the source could be any of several small states at considerable distance; or
        2. the attack is scaled from warning to proportionate damage by a nuclear state.

      • Maxwell Quest
        August 9, 2018 at 16:57

        “Couple that with our recent multiple collisions with fishing trawlers and you have to wonder if we are really prepared to defend ourselves even from incidental mishaps. Apparently we are not.” – CitizenOne

        I remember reading about that rash of collisions with our military vessels near Japan and the “official” story never made any sense to me. These ships are manned 24/7 using the latest surveillance tech. It’s not like the unlucky chap in the crows-nest fell asleep staring into a fog bank, while the rest of the crew slept off their ration of grog. Nope, there’s something fishy going on here. I’d be willing to bet that the Chinese were testing out some new countermeasure tech on our modern U.S. naval vessels. If this were the case, then that ridiculous cover-story they fed us makes perfect sense.

        • August 11, 2018 at 08:10

          There were very reasonable reasons for the accidents that came out in Naval investigations. First was an officer who disobeyed rules of the road in shipping lanes. He was ruled completely at fault and a moment by report detailed his mistakes. Second it was found the ships electronics failed and she was unable to steered. It was a new ship built to replace bodies with electro-mechanical gear. good idea, but in this case the electronics failed and OOD did not respond quickly enough with backup systems. There is also a moment by moment reconstruction of actions available for reading.Of course conspiracy theories are always a better story than just dry facts.

          • Maxwell Quest
            August 11, 2018 at 16:33

            I was not the only one (conspiracy theorist) to be skeptical of the explanation given for the Fitzgerald/ACX Crystal collision last summer, especially when the navy kept changing the timeline early on. After the Crystal’s AIS data was plotted and posted online, it appeared from the original timeline that the Crystal had doubled back to finish off the Fitzgerald by ramming it midship. Admittedly, I never returned to the story when the official report was released, assuming that enough time had passed to enable a believable explanation to be constructed around the already released known facts.

            As far as I can tell, the navy is still silent about the so-called watch negligence and also the maneuvering orders that were not carried out. There is still much unsaid, sort of like the missing 18 minutes on the Nixon White House tapes.

      • August 11, 2018 at 08:19

        Carriers still prove their place in the Fleet. All ships have weaknesses which can be exploited by enemies. That alone does not make them useless. We lost many ships and many lives in WWII but the need for Naval response was great and the redundant force was able to over come losses and still take the battle to the enemy. There is no such thing as a safe war.

    • August 9, 2018 at 21:31

      Martyanov’s relevant article should be required reading for all Americans.

    • Lester D
      August 10, 2018 at 00:54

      I believe you’re right, American asircraft carriers will be very vulnerable to Iranian defenses. So, they sink a US carrier, then the US in a frenzied hate-filled response, goes with the nuclear option, then…..

  16. jose
    August 8, 2018 at 19:09

    I cannot think of a legislation worse that this bill. I rather have a vote in Congress opened to the public than one individual making any decision regarding war in the middle of the night. Americans should be up in arms about this gross example of fascism.

  17. August 8, 2018 at 18:27

    Well stated, Jean, this is a coup and they know many people know JFK was killed by the Deep State, so the slow “boiling frog” MO is applied. These times, as Realist said, are worse than the Cold War I. It is truly getting like Nazi Germany, and many people don’t get it. Actress Alyssa Milano had a meltdown in Ohio and blamed Russians for the Democrat losing to the Republican in the special election. Many people like her seem unable to think. The only good thing I think is that many of the other nations are now onto the dreadful behavior of the USA. We are ready for a fall, and it will be painful.

  18. August 8, 2018 at 17:51

    “Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2018.” It was introduced on April 16, 2018 by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).”

    Tim Kaine

    That name rings a bell

    Trump is a symptom

    Clinton’s are the disease

    Trump tried to pull us out of Syria and the CIA pulled out a false flag attack and pushed us back in

    Trump tried to work with Russia and the CIA and deep state are desperate for WW3 with Russia and push the Russian ruse on the American public to undermine Trump and force out a democratically elected president .

    Trump tried to disagree with the Russian ruse being pushed by the CIA and was called a traitor by the corporate owned media who conveniently forget that the President is the commander and chief who decides policy and not the proved liars and criminals in the CIA and FBI.

    Trump is trying to make peace with N Korea and the deep state is doing all it can to muddle it.

    Call this what it is

    A military coup where the elected president is being usurped by a criminal organization called the CIA.

    Sedition and treason are now the modus operandi of this government and media whom they control.More war is the policy as Eisenhower warned.

    • Tomarse
      August 8, 2018 at 21:15

      “Trump is a symptom

      Clinton’s are the disease”

      Amen to that.

    • mike k
      August 8, 2018 at 22:00

      Right on Jean.

  19. mike k
    August 8, 2018 at 17:24

    The collapse of the American illusion of “democracy” continues apace. The congress is totally sold out to the Military Industrial Complex. America is far and away the greatest cause of war on Earth. This country has nothing to do with democracy and the rule of just laws, it is about war and pillage, period.

    • Sam F
      August 8, 2018 at 21:39

      Exactly, “this country… is about war and pillage” for its only widely shared values are selfishness, ignorance, hypocrisy, and malice, which beget its lying, cheating, stealing, bullying, harassment, and vandalism. For money is virtue, saith the leaders and TV. Glory be to Gold!

  20. Jill
    August 8, 2018 at 17:21

    Congress has been making the illegal, “legal” with a vengeance, since 9/11.

    Most of the provisions in this law are de facto in place. It seems our executives want seals of approval on their power grabs. Obama engaged in so many kinetic actions that he needed two peace prizes to commemorate them! Now Trump eats a beautiful piece of chocolate cake at least once, every 12 minutes per day while Brian just loves how beautiful the weapons are.

    Under president Cheney, things like this were done but they were largely done in secret. Once we got to Obama, he openly claimed he had the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth on his say so. Although few people paid attention to that claim, he exercised it openly. Now, if this bill passes, drone murders and any other acts of war will be “lawfully” initiated and executed by the CIA/MIC and the executive.

    Our rights and the rights of people in other nations are being systematically taken away. Poof-it’s legal! The US is making a lot of enemies in other nations with draconian sanctions and regime change kinetic actions. Eventually, this over reach may stop the madness of the powerful but people are suffering because of that madness right now. For this, I am truly sorry.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 18:10

      Washington kills so many people with personal hits now (using drones and other means, I’m sure), I’d be surprised if they didn’t knock off all these Russian diplomats, oligarchs, journalists, spies and other targets they want to frame Putin for. They have no morality and believe all is permitted because they are the anointed ones, the chosen people to rule the Earth.

      Don’t blame me for thinking that way. I never killed (or even punched) anyone in my life, Messrs Bushdaddy, Clinton, Bushbaby, Obama and Trump. Your bloodthirsty modus operandi betrays all you killers. You can hide it only from idiots and accomplices. It’s all to accrete more power and treasure, none of it is in defense of the American people or American vital interests. Call your dead victims what they are: human sacrifices to your god of power and greed.

  21. August 8, 2018 at 17:10

    Breaking news just announced by US State Department Heather Nauert lackey spokeswoman for Pompous Pompeo, that US will put further sanctions on Russia for poisoning of Skripals! England has pretty much dropped this and Skripals returned to Russia, i believe, so what is this about? The sanctions will start August 22 and they claim US still wants to have negotiations with Russia. Time for Russia to sanction USA.

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 18:17

      Putin knows that these murderers want to provoke Russia into an aggressive response that will be interpreted as a casus belli, and then the American missiles will fly in a first strike. I didn’t come up with that. It seems to be widely understood by most everyone but the American people who are kept in the dark and fed bullshit, like the mushrooms our “leaders” view them as.

    • john Wilson
      August 9, 2018 at 03:25

      jessika, what makes you think the British government has returned the Skripals to Russia? The farcical story of the Skripals is now being treated by the British public will derision and contempt, yet MSM, BBC etc still continues to pedal the farce even though they know the public is laughing at them. Only a few days ago a prominent British newspaper reported that the police and the crown prosecution service are preparing some kind of indictment and extradition request to Russia for two Russians they want to question in connection with the Skripal nonsense. Had the Skripals returned to Russia, it would have completely undermined the Novichok story because the government has and still is accusing the Russians of the poisoning.

    • Sam F
      August 9, 2018 at 06:42

      Very funny to suggest that the Skripals returned to Russia.

  22. Mild -ly- Facetious
    August 8, 2018 at 16:41

    Giving Trump Carte Blanche for War
    August 8, 2018 •

    “A little-noticed Senate bill would give Donald Trump blanket permission to launch wars in violation of the Constitution, ‘”

    • Realist
      August 8, 2018 at 18:26

      Well, I give the people permission for a revolution (though not a coup by any clique of insiders). How’s that? Go for it if you dare. I have no idea how to accomplish this, nor any wish to lead it. I do know our present leadership has betrayed us from every direction.

      • john Wilson
        August 9, 2018 at 03:36

        Well, Realist, if you have no wish to lead the “revolution” then who do you think will? Your statement sums us all up for the spineless, cringing, whimps that we are. Even with the only weapon we have which is our vote, we give it to our oppressors and cheer when our vote returns the same tyranny we have been complaining about.

        • Realist
          August 9, 2018 at 09:57

          I simply admit the truth that I personally have not the tools to lead any movement, but I’m sure someone with the gumption, intelligence and charisma will arise to seize the opportunity. Doesn’t mean it will be the right person. Problem is, it will probably just be another false prophet like Obama was. Remember what an international superstar that jive turkey was during his first campaign?

          Honestly, I have no idea how the people will be able to recognise the real deal should he (or she) appear on the scene. This country basically gets governed through trial and error, with emphasis on the latter. Whatever works to the advantage of the insider elites is usually what persists.

          You would think that Obama, elected in the shadow of the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression would have taken the initiative, been supported by most of the people and fixed the problems. But he accomplished nothing and the same problems persist, only in a magnified form. All the trend lines that get plotted by the data collectors continue on their merry ride to oblivion. Paul Craig Roberts usually sums up our slow motion collapse quite accurately at regular intervals.

          We can clearly see in hindsight that Obama was not the man we though he was or the leader that this country needed. However, just as Donald Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton was at least an equal evil (and potentially far worse), the men who were picked to run against Obama (John McCain and Mitt Romney) were also found wanting by the public. Frankly, the ascension of Dubya to the presidency (twice!) was an unmitigated disaster, made possible due to the perceived character flaws of their opponents (the “geeky” Al Gore and the patrician insider John Kerry who did not show any executive skills later with inept his Russophobic stance as Secretary of State). The two most revolutionary (and I don’t advocate “guns in the street” type revolution) candidates in the last election were self-described socialist Bernie Sanders, who was robbed of the nomination by a biased cheating DNC, and the ultimate winner himself, Donald Trump. But Trump is not allowed to craft his own policy through relentless harassment from the Deep State, let alone do anything revolutionary that the people genuinely desire. We sure don’t want the wars which is the only arena in which he is given latitude to operate by his long list of detractors and harassers.

          Trump, if not impeached, states that he wishes to run for a second term. His party won’t buck him if he is still viable, though Rand Paul would certainly be a better fallback than Mike Pence. We shall see whom the Democrats nominate, but so far I don’t like any one of their supposed front runners–Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Smirky Joe Biden, or the old crone herself, Hillary Rodham. Maybe Tulsi Gabbard, who is popular among liberals and independents, but can she gain any traction within the establishment?

          Both major parties have pathetically short benches from whom to choose starters, basically characterised as pols who are popular with the people but pliable to the interests of the insider elites. It’s that second crucial trait which plants the seed for their ultimate failure should they attain the office. Third parties should be the source material for revolutionary new leaders, but they get no coverage by the corporate media, being purposely shut-out, and even slandered as Putin puppets like Jill Stein. Yesterday’s news headlines actually characterised the Green Party candidate in the Ohio special election as a pro-Russian spoiler! Dimwit movie actress Alyssa Milano goes on a rant calling it “more Russian meddling” in our democracy and the media jumps on her bandwagon. Disgusting and dismaying.

          Sorry, John, I can’t fix any of this. I suspect the system is on cruise control speeding towards that cliff that Thelma and Louise chose for their destiny. It will self destruct. What gets rebuilt in its place and how should be the concern of the younger generations. I think we old timers will simply be rendered into Soylent Green.

          • Maxwell Quest
            August 9, 2018 at 17:28

            “Problem is, it will probably just be another false prophet like Obama was. Remember what an international superstar that jive turkey was during his first campaign?” – Realist

            Damn! It took me two minutes to stop laughing after that one. Couldn’t have said it better.

            “Honestly, I have no idea how the people will be able to recognise the real deal should he (or she) appear on the scene. This country basically gets governed through trial and error, with emphasis on the latter.” – Realist

            Again, I agree wholeheartedly. With our inverted value system and its attendant deficiency of critical reasoning skills, JC himself could come back and the populace would push him to the sidelines as a quack. There is very little discernment out there. Years of psychological and moral abuse have left the population deaf, dumb and blind.

          • teri
            August 10, 2018 at 03:51

            “But Trump is not allowed to craft his own policy through relentless harassment from the Deep State, let alone do anything revolutionary that the people genuinely desire.”

            I’m sorry, but I fail to see anything Trump wants as revolutionary or as based on anything that the people genuinely desire. He wants what he is getting: to enrich himself and his family. They are making coin hand over fist thanks to the office he holds. If he were interested in “the people”, why has he grossly expanded the power and finances of the Pentagon? He has increased the number of soldiers overseas by one third over the number Obama had deployed. He wants, and is getting, a weaponized “space force” that is specifically being created to engage in warfare from outer space. He has allowed troops and clandestine forces into even more countries than Obama, given away trillions to the wealthy, and is destroying the environment at a pace that will make it impossible to recover from. Now he wants to end social security, medicare, and all social programs to pay for his tax cuts to the wealthy. His trade wars are already leading to inflationary prices on damn near everything, and the sanctions on Iran (imposed because he broke the agreement with them – i.e., he is punishing them for what he did) are going to result in soaring gas prices globally.

            He is doing these things – not the “deep state”. No-one is making him do this shit. This is what he believes in. Why can’t people see that he is just the same lying sack of shit that Obama was, just with a different skin tone?

          • Realist
            August 10, 2018 at 11:36


            Trump’s “revolutionary” ideas proffered to the voters during the campaign included things like rebuilding calm rational diplomatic relations with Russia in place of the hysterical and dysfunctional attacks started under Obama, promising to end the bloody wars we started or fomented in places like Syria and Ukraine, questioning the role of NATO and floating the idea of dismantling that threat to all civilisation, and dropping America’s participation in the job-destroying TPP and TTAP international trade agreements which also massively diminished the sovereignty of any member state (the latter feature threatening to negate labor and environmental laws, just for starters). As a liberal, those would all be good changes as far as I am concerned.

            He offered other changes that I hated, but conservatives fell behind, like his border fence, entry visa refusals to nationals from targeted countries, the imposition of tariffs to force more balanced free trade, the repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with something “better,” and another restructuring of the tax code (don’t bother critiquing these ideas, that is not the point). Both these sets of promises are just off the top of my head. There were certainly many others, some which both sides hated, such as repealing the nuke treaty with Iran, which represented radical change, but they make my point. He did offer substantial change, and to people from both sides of the divide. Those WERE things that “the people genuinely desire,” contrary to your contention. Well, about half the people, which is par for this diverse country. If nobody wanted what he was SELLING, he would never have been nominated, let alone elected.

            Obviously, he did not come through on most of his floated plans (except for the tariffs, tax reform and Iranian nuke deal, all of which I personally think will be disastrous, and scotching the trade agreement, for which I remain grateful), but is that because he simply pulled a bait and switch (i.e., lied) or because the Deep State in all its manifestations plus the “bipartisan” war party in Congress have blocked him at every turn other than to foster war and more war? I look at all the harassment from throughout the establishment, from every federal agency head down to all the media pundits and TV talk show comedians, every day and I conclude the correct answer is most likely the second possibility. The bait and switch scenario, whether intentional or forced, is usually noticed and often a big loser. Remember “read my lips, no new taxes?” That alone earned Bushdaddy the bum’s rush in his re-election bid. I strongly suspect that Trump would make peace with Putin if insider elites would allow it. It’s their idea to escalate the war with Russia they have created. They might have just ensured the missile launches with their latest two sets of ultimata to Russia this week.

            If you don’t think that this guy is being harassed by forces from all sides like no president ever before, if you don’t realise that the basic premise behind the attacks–that Russia stole the election and Trump colluded in the theft–is absolute hogwash manufactured from whole cloth by an angry Hillary Clinton and a desperate Democratic Party (of which I am a member), and if you don’t understand that those pressures have constrained his policies, you are not thinking on all cylinders or you watch way too much Rachel Maddow. Moreover, if you think the fleeting remarks I made in my post referring to Trump were an endorsement of him as an exemplar of an acceptable “revolutionary” candidate, I question your reading comprehension. To describe him and Bernie Sanders as the “two most revolutionary candidates” in the field was simply to illustrate how ossified and establishment the rest of the candidates were in comparison. You slant your screed as if my main purpose was to endorse the guy for his next run, if such a thing even comes to pass. Try responding to what’s on the page rather than inventing straw men.

  23. Realist
    August 8, 2018 at 16:20

    Well, Trump is already waging economic wars against most of the globe. China is being docked 25% in import tariffs, guess what the reciprocal move will be, Walmartians? Who knows what the going ante will be for the EU and Canada.
    Even the Saudi’s are jumping on the anti-Cannuck bandwagon. And only the freaks in intel know what depravities they are cooking up on the cyber war front. Whose permission does our fearless leader ask for all that?

    Russia has again been targeted with sanctions, today for allegedly “poisoning” the Skripals, though not a shred of evidence is offered in support. This is beyond the absurd.

    • Mildly - Facetious
      August 8, 2018 at 17:40

      >>>>> Russia has again been targeted with sanctions, today for allegedly “poisoning” the Skripals, though not a shred of evidence is offered in support.

      This is beyond the absurd. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      The lesson from the Kalibr-in-the-Caspian saga, writes Martyanov, is that “for the first time it was openly demonstrated, and the world took note, that the American monopoly on symbols of power was officially broken.”

      As Martyanov shows how “in both Donbass and especially in Syria, Russia called the American geopolitical and military bluff,” there’s no question this Syria-Ukraine interconnection – which I analyzed here – is the foundation stone of the current “historically unprecedented anti-Russian hysteria in the US.”


      • T
        August 9, 2018 at 13:40

        Ah, so you’re P.E. …

        But there seems to be something wrong with the Asia Times site – the links to the individual articles do not lead me anywhere.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 8, 2018 at 21:57

      “Sources speak of a joint CIA-Saudi operation to arm moderate Québécois rebels for their fight against the repressive Trudeau regime in Ottawa. Codenamed Acor Sycamore, the operation will purchase weapons in Bulgaria and Croatia and secretly ship those to CIA trained freedom fighters. The Saudis will redeploy their al-Qaeda and ISIS from Syria to the Canadian tar sands. The U.S. plans to use their establishment as pretext for the war on Canada and its following occupation. The Israeli cyber spy company the Saudis hired to attack Amnesty International will be redirected to attack Ottawa. Mossad will send agents to sabotage Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. The move will increase demand for U.S. syrup products.”

      There you go Realist. I was reluctant to post this Moon article but you kind of brought it up in your own way. Bizarre isn’t dramatic enough for the times we are living in. Why, watching the UK & the USA struggle with Russian conspiracies, and disillusioned citizens, seems baked into the cake. I mean just how scripted is all of this? At times like this I can only hear John Lennon singing, ‘and nothing is real’.

      Always good to read your comments. Joe

      • Realist
        August 9, 2018 at 00:48

        Not to worry. The Russians are implementing a counter-move even as we speak. They are surreptitiously arming the Inuit for a coup d’etat in Nunavut, after which the far northern Canadian territory will seek union with Siberia and house Russian bases with hypersonic missile batteries pointed at Midwestern American cities only 8-minutes flight time away. The ostensible purpose for the missiles will be to defend Russian targets from Mexican nuclear-tipped ICBM’s, so Washington has no valid reason to object to these new deployments.

    • john wilson
      August 9, 2018 at 03:50

      You need to look at the moon of Alabama or zero hedge sites as you are not up to speed on the Skripal affair. A prominent British newspaper has just said that the police and crown prosecution service is preparing indictments and extradition request to the Russian government for two Russians they say are implicated in this Novichok poisoning farce. Of course, they know the Russians would not extradite anyone and certainly not without comprehensive evidence which the British won’t supply so the case can pushed into the long grass with tacit proof that the Russians did it.

  24. August 8, 2018 at 14:24

    Is there anything else dealt with by the US federal government besides WAR? While the nation rots from the inside, homelessness and poverty rising, inequality never addressed, education system woefully inadequate, violence in cities and infrastructure crumbling, yet these corrupt criminals in the Beltway bubble concern themselves almost exclusively with WAR—look over there, they say, it’s Russia! NO, look over HERE at the rot in this nation! Some of them, like McCain Insane, Graham Cracker, Kaine and Corker here with this AUMF, they are in permanent state of WARGASM! Sick, very sick.

    “Either man will abolish war or war will abolish man.” – Bertrand Russell

  25. Stephen Berk
    August 8, 2018 at 13:21

    This is virtually the same problem that got us “waist deep in the big muddy” in Vietnam. Amazing. Or maybe not so amazing. Congress, for all their hooting and hollering, never fixed the problem of presidents taking the US into wars without end. Feeds the military industrial intelligence complex. Maybe that’s why. But the more we have of this power of war making being granted carte blanche to the president, the more wars and interventionism we will have. Not surprising with Congress now awash with militarists. The doves of the sixties are no longer there. This is an ominous situation. We desperately need a new, vocal progressive movement for peace and justice.

  26. Sally Snyder
    August 8, 2018 at 13:04

    As shown in this article there is a very interesting connection between wealth inequality and American wars:

    Wars being fought by the United States will continue to contribute to America’s growing inequality, an issue that Washington is completely ignoring.

  27. Jeff Harrison
    August 8, 2018 at 12:55

    Amen, John.

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