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article imageOp-Ed: US taxpayer detained indefinitely to pay for war on terror

By Ken Hanly     May 19, 2013 in Politics
Washington - While the very visible big footprint war in Iraq is over and the Afghan war is winding down, the war against terror continues all over the world and is not expected to stop for at least 10 or 20 years.
When he was asked in a Senate hearing how long the war on terror would last, Michael Sheehan, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict answered: "At least 10 to 20 years". However, even after that there is no guarantee that the conflict will end because it is not a war in the normal sense at all. It is the US that decides when the war is over. The opponent is not just Al Qaeda but associated forces. In practice associated forces are any group that the US chooses to target as an alleged threat to the security of the US.
The current CIA Director, John Brennan,said a year ago: “Today, it is increasingly clear that — compared to 9/11 — the core al Qaeda leadership is a shadow of its former self. For the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al Qaeda core is simply no longer relevant.” Nevertheless, as Sheehan made clear, there are still those associated forces and it might take 10 or 20 years to deal with them. These associated forces are global, from Yemen to Mali, to the Philippines and even in the US itself.
Even if the hunt for terrorists should wind down, the commander of the Joint Special operations Command, Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel said that he was looking at missions beyond the counterterrorism manhunt. He said that his elite troops are prepared to support "law enforcement objectives" in new battlefields where there is a desire for US presence to be minimized.
The US taxpayer is conscripted indefinitely to pay for any war anywhere in the world. The president does not need to obtain authorization from the US congress to force the taxpayer to this service. According to Senate testimony, Pentagon officials believe the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed back at the time of 9/11 gives the president the authority to send troops and carry on operations anywhere in the world. As reported earlier in Digital Journal, this could be called the blank check approach to warfare.
Senator Angus King an Independent from Maine said:“You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here. You guys have invented this term, associated forces, that’s nowhere in this document. It’s the justification for everything, and it renders the war powers of Congress null and void.” Republican Sen. John McCain also expressed astonishment at the broad interpretation given to the AUMF. McCain said that none of those who voted for the law in 2001 would have interpreted it as giving the president authority to strike in Somalia or Yemen. Nevertheless, the chair of the Senate panel Senator Carl Levin a Democrat said that any co-belligerent was an appropriate target under established principles of international law.
Rosa Brooks, a former Pentagon policy official, said:“I’ve never seen such an accomplished group of people give such muddled answers. " The answers do not seem muddled to me. Officials say they have all the legal power they need to do whatever they want in terms of mounting operations anywhere in the world for an indefinite period and that the US Congress has already authorised this in the AUMF. All power to the military and the president. All costs to the people. This may be maddening but it is hardly muddled.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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