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Obama’s ISIS War Request Is an "Extraordinary Opportunity" for Congress


Obama’s ISIS War Request Is an "Extraordinary Opportunity" for Congress

Andrew Bacevich

Try this thought experiment. Pretend that it’s the spring of 1970. President Richard Nixon has just sent US troops into Cambodia. He thereby expands the Vietnam War, a costly undertaking already ongoing for years with no sign of victory in sight.

Now imagine further that Nixon sends a message to Congress asking that it authorize him to do what he has already done (while simultaneously insisting that even without legislative approval he already has the necessary authority).

  • written several weeks ago, will submit this to my paper this week:

To the Editor:

No movie ever made can sanitize or legitimize the crime against humanity, committed in our name, of the invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq. Our movies and TV shows telling stories of bands of brothers and sisters fighting for each other against a fierce, relentless, murderous enemy conveniently leave out the context that the United States launched a war of aggression, against all international law, based on a handful of lies and outrageously inaccurate accusations.

It is easy to characterize the malfeasance of our foreign and military policies as misguided, but that judgment is only true in the false light of the “official” purpose of our intentions. That official line is that we are fighting terrorism in the name of peace, progress, and justice. But it isn’t true. Actually we create, promote, and sustain the existence of terrorism to provide cover for the true intention of extending the control of our empire to those nations that were once Soviet client states. “Islamic” terrorism now serves the same antagonist role in our propaganda as did Soviet communism in sustaining both the myth of exceptional American righteousness, and the stranglehold of the military industrial complex on our nation. History will record though, that through open military aggression, the US is prosecuting the final act of the cold war; consolidating the spoils due the victors. Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and lastly Syria and Iran were within the Soviet economic sphere, by varying degrees, and are now a great prize to the wealthy friends of the military and political arms of the American empire.

In this true light then of conquest, control, and exploitation the hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, and the millions of displaced homeless and landless refugees are the victims of an expansionist American empire. Do you still wonder why they hate us? Why, with each US military campaign armed resistance only grows stronger and wider, instead of being beaten back forever, honest Injun, please believe us this time (again)?

This is not a holy war of the good guys against the bad guys. This is an unholy application of horrific military brutality in the service of wealth, power, and control. We are right to be afraid because our leaders are insane with war hysteria and are fomenting conflict worldwide, and the ranks of our enemies grow larger and more determined every day along with the list of grievances against us. Meanwhile our homeland crumbles to third world standards; bombs instead of bridges, a security octopus instead of schools, and a broadcast media that hears, sees, and speaks no evil, except of those with the audacity to still resist our military onslaughts. Welcome to the new Reich citizens, or should we say “subjects.” Just skip all that and say “suckers.”

I continue to hope and believe that many are likewise opposed to the violent menace to world peace that our government has become. It may do no good but, if so, message your Congress critters and tell them no AUMF. Period.


  • I will also send this to Sherrod Brown and Bill Johnson, but they don’t want to hear it. Identifying Brown as “progressive” just shows how screwed we are.


The US is more obviously that same “Staggering Giant” Richard Nixon knew we were revealing ourselves to be in 1970.

The difference now is that the staggering giant has been fed too much intoxicating “medicine,” called money, and all he can do is swagger around, as if everybody in the world were Texans who love swagger more than they love breathing, until he simply falls over and gives up the ghost.

Prepare now for the imperial collapse, because it is approximately as far along as is the Sixth Extinction. For the US has extinquished all its political integrity, all its political capital, and can now only swagger and throw money at Egyptians for a proxy war against Lybia, at Afghanistan for a proxy war in Afghanistan against Afghanistan, at Pakistan for a proxy war in Pakistan against Pakistan, at Iraq for a proxy war on behalf of Israel against whomever, and all the proxy wars the diplomats can muster across Africa.

The only remaining muscle left in Uncle Sam’s legs are the ones flexing on the faith in the US Government to somehow miraculously pull itself up by, what? Nobody in the US likes the US Government, except the ungoverned corporate welfare queens who keep bribing Congress to keep the wars going, so Congress can keep throwing public welfare checks at those same ungoverned corporations.


Just like Nixon was a selected quisling for the economic elite and the MIC, Obama is the same; otherwise he would not have been selected for President by the same people that selected Nixon.

When it comes to the Amerikan Empires foreign intervention and political policy, the American Presidents are no different that the fawning parasites, selected as leaders, in foreign countries.


In 1970 the US had an alternative economy capable of potentially employing and providing for its population. Then, came a series of trade agreements designed to export manufacturing jobs, the abolition of the military draft in favor of a “professional” (translate: mercenary) armed forces, and “the opening” to China designed to drive a wedge into the supposedly monolithic communist empire.

From Nixon onward, real wages (in terms of buying power) have either been stagnant or plummeted, jobs that paid well enough to support a marriage and family without requiring a college degree or two full time workers have vanished, and the US (like some mercantile colony of a 19th century European empire) has become an exporter of either raw materials (primarily food stuffs) or military hardware. These we essentially exchange for the value added materials we used to make and provide for ourselves.

This has done away with the alternative economy and made the primary choices for entry level jobs for high school graduates things like big box or fast food head count or entry into the mercenary military.

The MICC (Ike originally wanted to include Congress in that designation but was pressured by party hacks to drop such designation) has done its homework and painted the US into a corner whose only escape is either non-stop progress towards Armageddon or withdrawal into national suicide. This has led to “endless war” as the unspoken “economic stimulus” of our times supported by all political parties (all two of them!) whose cessation would be the cause of major civil unrest and unemployment within the US.

So now military apologists like West Point trained Bacevich seek to blame Congress for what the military has had a major hand in bringing forth over several decades. Vietnam has turned out to be the plague that keeps on plaguing the US psyche.

I have a better experiment for Andrew and those of his ilk:

Try pretending that JFK was not assassinated, that he withdrew all of the US military forces then in Vietnam (just a few thousand) by 01-01-64–as was the plan of the executive order he issued to that effect and that was rescinded by LBJ on the day of the funeral and burial of JFK.

Imagine further that LBJ had to be dropped from the ticket because the Republicans had enough dirt and hard evidence on him through the Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker scandals to put him away in prison.

Instantly we would have had no Vietnam, no LBJ, and no Nixon.

We could have had a strong president dedicated to civil rights legislation, a war on poverty, and a draft when needed to raise an army,
We could have had public service (a domestic peace corps) to replace compulsory military service and more constructively direct the energies of youth.
We could have had an economy that gave opportunity to those of all educational levels and skill sets for gainful employment that enabled them to provide for spouse and children without multiple jobs being required to do so.
That scenario above has about as much chance of happening as Bacevich’s imaginary debate in Congress over ISIS war authorization.


Interesting bit of trivia, Nixon signed the WIC program into being. You know , one of those social welfare programs that rebuplicans of today like to disparage. Oh how things have changed. BTW: Pres Bush Sr. expanded the WIC program making it easier for people to get on WIC which necessitated increased funding for WIC. So he increased funding on WIC. His son Bush the Jr. reauthorized the WIC program. Since when are republicans against social spending? Oh I guess when they are talking to their constituency round about re-election time?


As always, thank you, Mr. Bacevich! May your words be heard in the hallways of those responsible.


“The people await the appearance of political leaders who can summon up the courage to acknowledge that failure and to initiate the long overdue discussion of how to chart a different course.”

This isn’t going to happen within our current system. Given the gross malfunction of our existing social and political structure we have to look at new paradigms. The days when we could speak truth to power and expect a result are long gone. It’s time for us to be the truth and become the power. Until we quit “awaiting” leaders and take on the task of creating a true social revolution which will preempt our existing “leadership” model we are only spitting into the wind.

Articles like this which suggest someone is going to lead us out of this mess are pointless.


If we lived in a system where Congress represented the people in a true democratic manner then we might have such a debate in Congress at this propitious moment and an extraordinary opportunity might be grasped.

But we don’t live in such a system. Instead our system is a plutocracy where our supposedly elected leaders in Congress are actually bought and paid for by the elite. A system that was envisioned to include robust debate has become (if it ever was anything else) a faux political divide between two arms of the same political machine and the “free press” has instead become a propaganda tool intended to convince the people to not question much but simply take one side and demonize the other side in the kabuki theater the paid politicians use to help them implement the desires of the Military-Industrial-Fossil-Fuel-Complex.

So the debate has artificially been limited to whether to support the President by giving him what he asked for or whether to attack the President by complaining he isn’t warlike enough.

There is no debate in Congress or the mainstream media about whether to reconsider the whole war. They are like the the Trolls in the Hobbit, already agreed they’re going to eat the dwarves, just disagreeing about how to cook them.


It’s all about the oil and the control of this market. Saudi Arabia’s oil, Iraq’s oil, Kazakhstan;s oil is really America’s and must be protected. “America’s War for the Greater Middle East” is very appropriate