Obama and the New Star Chamber

What exactly is meant by “fighting the war” on terror? War has always been defined as forcing an opposing nation to submit to the political will of the aggressor nation. But war requires a defined opponent and a clear objective.

The war on terror has neither. It is ‘global’, and it is directed against a means of fighting, terrorism, rather than against a belligerent group. The United States could have declared the attacks of 9/11 a criminal act, as Britain opted to do in the case of IRA terrorism.

It did not. Instead it deemed them an act of war, and it identified Al-Qaeda with a
‘failed state’, Afghanistan. In other words it conferred a national base and a political identity on an international organization which possessed neither.

The United States could then fight a conflict in Afghanistan which was then normative to a war. What it had defined as an ‘asymmetric’ threat could then be treated ‘symmetrically’.

But this newly defined war allows some of the normal conventions of war to be circumvented. Captured “Al-Queda” are neither prisoners of war or classified as criminals that committed an illegal act. They can be held indefinitely on whatever grounds that may seem appropriate at the time.

Just who are we fighting in the war on terror? In World War II, you had the Germans, Japanese, and the Italians. Clearly defined opponents to target in battle. But the war on terror knows no boundaries. The enemy soldier could be a Pakistani, Iraqi, or someone from Yemen. Even someone from the United States.

So how is one to know how to spot the “terrorist” enemy soldier? Their actions can certainly contribute, but that alone is not the criteria. A citizen of one country may put down political unrest with an iron fist but not receive the definition of terrorist because of a particular foreign policy towards that country.

The bottom line is that it’s the United States that defines who the terrorists are. From making a bomb on one extreme… to wearing the wrong kind of cheap Casio watch on the other… if you’re part of the unfavored region or country, you’re a terrorist.

The unfortunate terms of this new type of war is that it’s completely open ended. Completely dynamic and undefined. Who is the enemy? We are the ones that say who. What is the objective? To end terror? Just how are you going to end terror? How can there be an end to this war if there isn’t a realistic end point or objective.

Are we to continue on until all terrorists are defeated? Is that the true goal for this struggle? Is essentially the terms of the war are that we can kill anyone in the Middle East who WE define as a “terrorist” and also continue with the war indefinitely, until WE say enough. We already have constructed PERMANENT military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contrary to public perceptions, we are never going to leave those countries.

But what about the causalities of our military? With more causalities comes more public pressure and questioning the wisdom of continuing with the war. A real dilemma for the continuation. But along comes a perfect solution, a Drone Attack. The drone attack allows us to chose anyone we want to kill and do it remotely with precision.

Assassination by remote control. Judge and jury by executive committee, a Star Chamber with Executive sign-off.

It’s a double bonus solution because there is never any additions to prisons or having those unfortunate possibilities of trials and court room proceedings. Nothing to worry about when you’ve blown them to pieces with a Hellfire missile. Never-mind any innocents that happen to be standing close by because this is a WAR ON TERROR!

We are not at war with Pakistan… we are not at war with Libya (supposedly).. but yet we can remotely kill without so much as a pre-trial hearing or lawyer. We have created an open ended blank check for ourselves. Remote killing of non-soldiers in countries that we have not declared war upon for an indefinite amount of time.

A continuation of the war until terrorism ends..

Does anyone else see the irony in that statement?

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About Krell

I used to have superpowers… but a therapist took them away.
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18 Responses to Obama and the New Star Chamber

  1. Gwendolyn H. Barry says:

    I see the irony David. Crystal. Good work. I’m having sleepless nights now, over ALL of it … from the Gulf to Japan into Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan… and oh the ignorance of the American public. The besotted media that is drunk on it’s own looping …. the care-less politicians and the corporate whore in the White House. Seeing it all. Calamity only puts a spicing into their brew. Devastation seems to be okey dokey. I’m sleepless and needing rest. But I know horror when I see for so long.
    TY for the post.

    • Krell says:

      After watching that George Carlin post that Tim had on his site, it really stirred the anger. Where is the public outrage in this? Can you imagine China flying drones over this country and launching missiles at any Chinese dissidents that haven’t passed their criteria for living? The drone attacks are not without their collateral damage as well. At one time it was estimated to be 9 innocents per guilty party killed. 9 INNOCENT PEOPLE THAT JUST HAPPENED TO BE NEAR THE TARGET! This is with a country that we are not even at war with! That is the classic definition of assassination!

      I ask… just who are the terrorists here?

  2. Norman says:

    Goodness Krell, What a thought provoking post this is today. I do believe you hit the jackpot. I wonder about those, who advocate the sacrifice of liberty for the sake of security, realize that they don’t deserve neither! What a hoax has been played upon the minds of the American people, who only grumble about the loss of one, yet cower in fear of the other. Wake up people, for we are headed down that road of no return.

    • Krell says:

      There are those that would say the phrase.. “Those who advocate the sacrifice of liberty for the sake of security”… doesn’t even apply in this new world of the war on terror. I say that it applies that much more.

      Laws and rules are never tested in calm waters, it’s only during the storm that their benefit can be realized. We must have checks and balances in our country! You can never have such an open ended power structure such as what we have today. There is a reason for the phrase “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”…. because it’s true!

      Thank you for your comment, Norman

  3. oso says:

    Krell,
    Beautifully thought out and expressed. Well laid-out case. I’m proud to be on the team with you.

    • Krell says:

      I indeed consider myself lucky to be with such a wide variety of intelligent writers that cover the spectrum of social issues. Each post that I read here educates and promotes thoughtful debate.

      Nobody gets paid but yet they spend the time to carefully prepare a written statement for publishing at this site. Why? Because they CARE! They want to improve the human condition and are not content to just idly stand by while injustice occurs, not only for us in American, but for others in the world as well.

      Who wouldn’t be proud to be a part of that?

  4. Stimpson says:

    There you go again using logic, Krell. Just because you can use logic doesn’t mean you should, ya know. At least, like, not all the time. You elitist librul, you.

    • Krell says:

      Lol! I always thought it’s ironic that some of the tea-bagger types called Obama an elitist while supporting policies that create the wealthy 1% of rich. I mean what is more elitist than a plutocracy?

  5. Jess says:

    I think they just like the term “War on…” (insert whatever here). Makes them feel all macho and authoritative in their tingly bits. The righties need someone who is the daddy, as we have seen time and time again. We all know those wars on (insert whatever here) are never won, just kept going and going like the Energizer bunny. By the by given that it was Saudis that attacked us 9-11 when will we be going in there to do some of that nation building, stupid Jess get yer head out of yer ass now girl. I was reading yesterday about some of the people in Gitmo and it truly depresses me this is being done in my name. Well not this year since I didn’t pay taxes and all, but up to now.

    • Krell says:

      War on… (insert whatever here)…. How true is that. Unfortunately, at least by recent history shows, righty or lefty doesn’t really seem to make a big difference lately.

      Uh… that tax thing…. I would keep that a secret between you and your accountant. The IRS can be quite the unpleasant a-holes.

      • Jess says:

        I don’t care who knows, since I am doing some a that civil disobedience thing. I’m good at that, have been since I was about 15 and the ‘rents started an actual bail fund for me. So half my life, well June I’ll be 30 so yeah, half my life I have been being civil while disobeying some things 🙂 I wrote out my reasons for not paying, that they won’t care about, to make me feel better. The most I will get are a few letters then the black helicopters wasting your tax money 🙂 See, it’s a win win.

  6. Jess says:

    How bizarre is this? I just finished reading your article, jumped over to another site and got wind of this, linked below, from the Joint Chiefs of staff almost begging(my interpretation) for the Pentagon budget to be cut so we could have, well, education and stuff for the future.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/13/the_y_article

    • Krell says:

      Jess, I had forgotten of the immense power of your web skills in finding anything and everything.

      It’s nice to see you comment over here on the “baby blog”. You always added immensely to the discussion.

  7. jackjodell53 says:

    This “war on terror” has been a sham from the start. It was simply an excuse for the neocons to get their hands on Iraqi oil and to keep Halliburton, Xe, and all the other component members of the military/industrial complex in record revenues and profits. Corporate welfare to some of the worst companies in the history of the world. These scheming neocons, one and all, should be tried and sentenced for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Obama is disgracefully bowing to these idiots. It is time to bring our soldiers home NOW and end this terrorism being perpetrated by US!

    • Krell says:

      Sad but you are quite right, Jack. Memo’s from FOIA and also the British investigations into Tony Blair’s admin indicate that invasion of Iraqi was planned almost the same week they got into office.

      I agree. Time to bring the soldiers home.

  8. Norman says:

    Krell, just a note about your answer to Jack above, that being: What might be the reaction from the what, 2 million troops that have cycled/recycled through these so call wars on terror, along with the families, if they could be informed in 1 fell swoope, that they were really all along just cannon fodder. as was said from the beginning, but got drowned out by the P.R. machine as being sympathy for the enemy? I would venture that would be one hell of a voting block to be called upon. But then, this is only the ramblings of a very old senior.

    • Krell says:

      Norman, that would be a great catalyst for a political grassroots. But telling and convincing would be a difficult task with the PR machine that is finely tuned now days.

      And if these are the ramblings of an old senior, Norman… may I be so rambling-like when I get there. Your comments have always been spot on.

  9. scaredstiff says:

    Krell, As always I’ve been away for a few days at the beginning of each week and so I’m late to comment. No matter as the proceeding comments were complete and voiced my opinion. Unless we stop trying to be a failed England in their endeavor of being the new Rome, we will as they did fail. We have to redefine what it is to be a superpower.
    Military might is just bulling to an extreme. Yeah maybe we can kill brown people from a complex in Texas. Meanwhile, our standing in the world of public opinion is at a low point. (I’ll keep this short) Thanks for this post!

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