The missile attack on a Syrian government airfield is an act of war and a violation of international law, using a fabricated pretext. But in conjunction with the attack something even more menacing, and with terrifying far-reaching consequences,has appeared: A new policy which represents the complete short-circuiting of the right of the American public, and of the U.S. Congress, to discuss and decide upon acts of war.
Decisions to go to war are decisions of life and death for human beings. They are the most important deci sons any group of people, or any government, can make. The U.S. constitution, for very good reason,reserves that power to a civilian body, namely the U.S. congress. What’s more, the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free assembly allow for public discussion – and political actions such as demonstrations – when decisions of war or peace are being made.
Despite the progressive undermining of these rights in recent years, they had retained until now a certain weight.
Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, for example, there was an extended period of public discussoin, and millions of people worldwide protested against the U.S. governments plan for the invasion, and the U.S. congress was consulted and passed an authorization of the attadk.
In 2013 the Obama regime was determined to directly attack Syria, using the pretext of supposed poison gas use by the Syrian government. The U.S. congress was duly consulted for authorization, and when constituent messages from the U.S. public to Congress people ran up to eight-to-one against an attack, the plan was scrapped.
Now, however, the Trump regime has publicly proclaimed a new policy of what might be called ‘no pre announcing’ of warfare. This policy short-circuits and eliminates the previously taken for granted notion that the public has a right to consider, and the Congress to deliberate, before acts of war take place. Now the public and the Congress need *not* be consulted or even informed before acts of war are carried out by the U.S. military-security system in collaboration with whoever happens to be president.
Just prior to the attack on the Syrian airfield, Trumps press secretary announced: “I think the president has made it clear in the past and will reiterate that today, that he is not here to telegraph what we’re going to do. But rest assured that I think he has been speaking with his national security team this morning, and we will continue to have that discussion.”
Similarly, a Pentagon spokesperson recently stated: “In order to maintain tactical surprise, ensure operational security and force protection, the coalition will not routinely announce or confirm information about the capabilities, force numbers, locations,w or movement of forces in or out of Iraq and Syria.”
The U.S. working class, the vast majority of the U.S. population, has repeatedly shown that after 25 years of war in Afganistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere it does not want further U.S. wars of aggression in the Middle East or elsewhere. Behind the smokescreen of ‘protecting our forces’ or ‘maintaining operational effectiveness’ lies the reality: Trumps government – in which military generals occupy all important military-related and security positions – seeks to completely remove the U.S. public, the U.S. congress, and the U.S. constitution from decisions of war and peace.
The policy of ‘no pre-announcing’ means that acts of war against Syria today, or against North Korea or another country tommorow, are to be decided only by military generals, NSA and CIA officials, and the president. They are to be decided behind the backs of the American people, and made known to them only after the military action has begun, as accomplished facts which they can do nothing about.
This short-circuiting of the American peoples input on issues of war and peace must be resisted by every available means. The Washington war criminals have already created too many flash points, any one of which can spiral out of control into war involving nuclear armed powers. U.S.-led Nato forces are currently threatenngly concentrating on the borders of Russia; U.S. provocations continue against China in the South China sea; and there are daily threats of military action against North Korea, to name just the danger points currently in the news.
In this situation, allowing Donald Trump, together with a group of military generals, and spooks from the CIA and NSA to sit in a room to decide on war and peace behind the backs of the American people is also to permit them to trigger not only new wars but a nuclear war. They must be stopped.