War Powers Reform Bill Far Better Than Feared

Senators Murphy, Lee, and Sanders have introduced legislation to address Congressional and Presidential war powers. (See bill text, press release, one pager, video of press conference, op-ed, and Politico article).

In recent months, we’ve seen efforts to repeal some but not other AUMFs (Authorizations for the Use of Military Force), plus talk of creating a new AUMF (why?!). And for years we’ve watched people like Senator Kaine talk about reclaiming Congressional war powers while pushing legislation to eviscerate them. So, I thought I had reason to worry.

I heard about this new legislation before it appeared from people concerned that it was not going to address the power to impose illegal and deadly sanctions on nations around the world. I thought that was a serious concern. And it turns out to have been well justified, as the bill does not say one word about sanctions. But I was wary of focusing on promoting that improvement to a bill that nobody would show me or tell me what else was in it. Not much point in perfecting a catastrophically bad bill, you know?

Now, to be clear, this bill is not the arrival of peace, sanity, and disarmament. It does not recognize that wars are illegal under the UN Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and various other treaties, and prosecutable by the International Criminal Court. It treats perfectly seriously the question of which branch of government should authorize the worst crime there is, in a manner that would never be applied to, say, Congressional Rape Powers or Congressional Child Abuse Powers.

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Ray McGovern: Put Russiagate Out of its Misery

This week on Talk World Radio: Why won’t disproven Russiagate ever go away? Our guest Ray McGovern was an infantry/intelligence officer in the early Sixties, and became a CIA analyst. His duties eventually included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing The President’s Daily Brief. He conducted the one-on-one morning briefings of President Reagan’s five most senior national security officials, including VP Bush, from 1981 to 1985. In retirement Ray co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — an attempt by intelligence veterans to hold former colleagues to account for “fixing” intelligence to “justify” wars like Iraq. His website is https://RayMcGovern.com.

Ray’s recent article for Antiwar.com: “The Guardian: Regurgitating the Russia-Gate Canard.

David Swanson interviews Scott Horton on Ending the War on Terrorism

This Week on Talk World Radio, it’s time to end the terrorism-generating war on terrorism. Our guest is Scott Horton. Scott Horton is the director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, and author of Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and of the new book we’ll be mostly discussing Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism.

More information and sources for the podcast here.

USA Today Makes Major Contribution to Foreign Policy Debate

The USA Today, drawing on the work of the Cost of War Project, Quincy Institute, David Vine, William Hartung, and others, has gone beyond the limits of every other big corporate U.S. media outlet, and beyond what any member of the US Congress has done, in a big new series of articles on wars, bases, and militarism.

There are significant shortcomings, some of them (such as absurdly low estimates of deaths and financial costs) originating with the Cost of War Project. But the overall achievement is — I hope — groundbreaking.

The first headline is: “‘A reckoning is near’: America has a vast overseas military empire. Does it still need it?”

The premise is deeply flawed:

“For decades, the US has enjoyed global military dominance, an achievement that has underpinned its influence, national security and efforts at promoting democracy.”

Promoting what? Where has it ever promoted democracy? The US military arms, trains, and/or funds 96% of the most oppressive governments on earth by its own reckoning.

National security? The bases generate wars and antagonism, not security.

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A Global Demand to 35 Governments: Get Your Troops Out of Afghanistan / A Thank You to 6 That Already Have

The governments of Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, and US all still have troops in Afghanistan and need to remove them.

These troops range in number from Slovenia’s 6 to the United States’ 2,500. Most countries have fewer that 100. Apart from the United States, only Germany has over 1,000. Only five other countries have more than 300.

Governments that used to have troops in this war but have removed them include New Zealand, France, Jordan, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Ireland.

We plan to deliver a big THANK-YOU to every government that removes all of its troops from Afghanistan, along with the names and comments of every signer of this petition.

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Only Rogue States Have Nuclear Weapons

From January 18 to February 14, four large billboards are going up around Seattle that proclaim “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal. Get them out of Puget Sound!”

What can this possibly mean? Nuclear weapons may be unpleasant, but what is illegal about them, and how can they be in Puget Sound?

Since 1970, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, most nations have been forbidden to acquire nuclear weapons, and those already possessing them — or at least those party to the treaty, such as the United States — have been obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

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