Government: We’re At War With [Redacted]

Carl-Levin

Robert Golan-Vilella at The National Interest notes that the government has a long list of dangerous enemies threatening America, all of whom fit under the language of the 2001 AUMF. But…that list is classified.

A number of senators have pledged in recent months to update the 2001 AUMF, written to authorize the use of force against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, on the grounds that it’s too broad and serves as a blank check to wage unlimited war against whatever groups of terrorists the government can haphazardly claim qualify.

At a Senate hearing in May, writes Golan-Vilella, “Senator Carl Levin asked the administration to provide the committee with an ‘existing list of groups that are affiliated with al Qaeda’ and to let the committee know when changes are made to the list, and the witnesses promised to do so.”

And now, according to former Bush administration legal adviser Jack Goldsmith, the Defense Department has provided that list to Levin. But it’s secret, so Levin can’t make it public – presumably the purpose behind his request.

Back in May, I laid out the reasons the government wants to keep the AUMF intact:

First, the 2001 AUMF was a wet dream for the Masters of War in Washington who yearn for the day when any and all constraints on their actions in the realm of “national security” would evaporate. It carries with it immense, unchecked power that they are wont to preserve.

Second, in order to continue to carry out their Imperial Grand Strategy, they need to perpetuate a bogeyman. Without a monster to destroy, the public is much less apt to grant the state carte blanche to make war at will and keep it secret.

In an interview last year, former Secretary of State Colin Powell lamented, in a moment of candor, the fall of the Soviet Union. He described, admittedly with some irony, how apparently remorseful he and others in the military establishment were that America “lost our best enemy.” He said it was “one of the biggest challenges” he “ever faced” when the Cold War ended. That is, when we became much safer as opposed to when we might have faced a new enemy.

Absent the pretext of the Soviet threat, the thinking goes, how will we justify the expanding military and national security state? Powell says of the trumped up Soviet “threat” in no uncertain terms, “we’ve got a good thing going here.” The system – the “whole structure,” as he calls it, far from aiming to eliminate threats, “depended on there being a Soviet Union that might attack us.”

I believe these all still stand. But it is doubly Orwellian that even the names of the groups that allegedly pose a threat to us are classified. It makes the government’s eagerness to perpetuate false bogeymen all the more transparent.

63 thoughts on “Government: We’re At War With [Redacted]”

    1. "Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
      But we still got terrorists here livin'
      In the USA, the big CIA
      The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK"

  1. Doesn't Congress have the right and power to force a declassification through legislation? If so, why doesn't Levin take that route. As a semi-hawk, he has the clout to get the votes.

  2. American government is at war with American people, and any other people in this world, is just that they haven't brought out their real heavy guns to show who they really are. Korean War and Vietnam war, Iraq war and all the other wars evidencing the fact that America is at war with American people and rest of the world.

  3. " What Congress owes its stockholder, the American people, it seems to me are detailed, annual reports on this Global War on Terror. How inclusive is it? What cost to benefit ratios are being applied to proposed operations? Are we creating more problems for ourselves than we’re solving? Is putting our military on the offensive all over the world more drag than lift? Who is killing whom in the dark and why? Are we in a war without end? What is it costing? Is this virtual solo trip into the twilight zone really necessary?

  4. There's a blank space, fill it in, with the country 1-you're pissed off, at the moment – 2 gets too uppity .____To the tune of : "I've Got a Little List"__or the "Periodic Table Song"________- Grenada__- Haiti__- Panama__- Afghanistan__- Libya__ – Iran__- Venezuela__ – China__- Russia__- Tunisia__- Libya__- Yemen__- Mali__- Niger__- Egypt__- Somalia__- Arabia__
    – N. Korea__- Pakistan__- Lebanon__- Mali__- Haiti__-Grenada__- Cyprus__- Venezuela__
    – Argentina__- Ecuador__- Bolivia

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  5. So which Congress authorized WAR, I believe that the last time WAR was authorized it was during WWII and the country was Thailand!

    If they are talking about the AUMF the words of a Republican Justice of the SCOTUS in the Hamdin V Rumsfeld case made comment with these words in response to the Government attorney, "War what war we are not at war".

    If war outside the Congress are claimed it is unconstitutional, not that it has stopped Presidents in the past!

  6. If a candidate seems to be suffering from some sort of Priapism, please do not vote for them. Every time they dream about a sweaty, desperate soldier, which is frequently, the blood leaves their head and goes some place else.

  7. Levin could read the list on the Senate floor, a la Mike Gravel's recitation of The Pentagon Papers.

  8. Has this ever happened before in the history of the world, where the citizens of a country are not permitted to know who their enemy is? I´m sure the Nazis and Soviets let everyone know who their bad guys were, but America doesn´t? Of all the cover up and secret conspiracies, this has to be the greatest ever.

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