There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration's refusal to use the term "War on Terror" to describe its ... war on terror. In his briefing after the White House's admission that two hostages -- one American, one Italian -- were killed in a U.S. "operation," press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word "war" to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is "at war" with al Qaeda.
With the end of the Obama presidency just around the corner, discussions of his administration’s foreign policy legacy are already well under way. But one central element of that policy has received little attention: the Obama administration’s dramatic acceleration of U.S. weapons exports.
When the president says a war is done, you’d think his attorneys would fall in line. Think again.
President Obama has said the United States’ combat mission in Afghanistan is over, and that the 13-year-long war there has come to an end. Top lawyers in his administration have a different message: Not so fast.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul isn’t mincing words — he calls the military actions taken against the terrorist group known as ISIS “illegal” and says it must either stop or President Barack Obama needs to come to Congress to get authorization to continue it.
The War Powers Act allows the President to act militarily for 60 days before seeking congressional authorization, after which he has 30 days to seek authorization or end the action. That 90-day window has now passed. As Sen. Paul put it:
SEN. RAND PAUL: There is no debate more significant for a legislator than the decision to engage in war. We must hold our leaders accountable. If we do not, there will be no end to war. The ridiculous and the absurd must be laid to rest. You've all heard it before. Toppling Ghaddafi led to a jihadist wonderland in Libya, toppling Hussein led to the chaos that is Iraq, toppling Assad will lead to a new chaos and greater danger from the jihadists.
The justification for going to war in Iraq thirteen years ago, was based on a 93-page classified document that allegedly contained “specific information” on former Iraqi leader President Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs he was apparently running.
Now that document has been declassified and it reveals that there was virtually zero justification for the war. The document reveals that there was “no operational tie between Saddam and al Qaeda” and no WMD programs.
Since 2002, Congress has set aside $104 billion specifically to rebuild Afghanistan. Of that, $66 billion went to the Pentagon.
Recently, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction asked the military to account for all that spending. It couldn’t. According to a new report from SIGAR, the Pentagon only knows how it spent a third of its reconstruction budget.
Among the many, many, many problems with running a torture program (beyond being morally problematic and with no history of effectiveness) is the fact that it makes it easier for others to justify torture programs as well. It's now come out that ISIS has been waterboarding prisoners, including reporter James Foley whom they recently beheaded. Waterboarding, of course, was one of the CIA's favorite torture techniques. And, of course, people had warned for years that having the CIA waterboard people would only encourage others to use the technique against Americans.