So I didn’t lose you with my unforgivable use of the d-word in the title? Excellent. I’ve several times on this site found cause to roll out one of my favourite Caitlin Johnstone quotes:
In 200 years we’ve progressed from expecting our leaders to murder brown skinned people while saying racist things, to expecting our leaders to murder brown skinned people while condemning racism.
But it’s been a while since I took her up on her invite, open ended to ‘all but racists and fascists’, to replicate her posts in full. Before I make free with her offering today, let me indulge in a spot of told-you-so-ism. I was rebuked by liberal friends – yes, I still have some and value them 1 – for my insufficiency of joy when venal warmongering POTUS 45 was ousted after just one term by venal warmongering POTUS 46.2 Some took to Facebook to remind us all that Sleepy Joe is so much more polite than the tangerine narcissist.
Which speaks volumes on the depth of analysis informing the liberal world view. The same world view which underpins this:
I use the above often. It gets more right than wrong, but fails to reckon with class. At the last count, thirty-four million Americans live in third world conditions: below the poverty line, badly served by criminal justice and medicare systems, and rather less concerned with ‘woke’ politics than with day to day survival:
Today’s topic though is the ability, in its own delusional way quite the class act, of the planet’s foremost rogue state – yes, ahead even of Israel – to rain death on peoples halfway across the world, tell said world it does so in self defence and – I kid you not – get away with it!
Over to Caitlin, and her blog post today.
US Again Bombs Nations On Other Side Of The World In “Self-Defense”
The US is again illegally bombing nations on the other side of the planet which it has invaded and occupied and branded this murderous aggression as “defensive”.
At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries.
John Kirby in a Pentagon Press Statement of June 27
Even more absurd than the fact that we’re all still pretending this dementia-addled president is “directing” anything is the claim that these actions were “defensive” in nature. It is not possible for occupying invaders to be acting defensively in the nations they are occupying and invading; US troops are only in Iraq by way of an illegal 2003 invasion, a bogus 2014 re-entry, and a refusal to leave at the Iraqi government’s request last year, and they are in Syria illegally and without the permission of the Syrian government. They can therefore only ever be aggressors; they cannot be acting defensively.
It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.
The only actual defensive action the US could legitimately take to protect US troops in Iraq and Syria would be to remove US troops from Iraq and Syria.
As former US representative Justin Amash pointed out following the bombing, there is no actual legal authorization for US troops to be in Iraq or Syria in the first place. As journalist Glenn Greenwald highlighted, there is also no legal basis for bombings on the military personnel in those nations either, no matter how “Iranian-backed” they are.
I know it’s boring to note this but Biden has no legal authorization to bomb ‘Iranian-backed’ targets in Syria and Iraq, making it illegal. But Obama bombed Libya after the House voted against doing so, and few of the Sacred Rule Of Law mavens cared.
The legal justification the Biden administration is using for this airstrike is the same bogus one it used for its airstrikes in Syria this past February: not counter-terrorism, but an extremely weird and broad interpretation of Article II of the US Constitution. In the same June 27 statement, Press Secretary Kirby asserted that:
As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.
This claim the Executive Branch has been leaning on lately, that Article II permits unilateral acts of war on the other side of the planet without congressional approval, has come under criticism from legal scholars across the US political spectrum. As Tess Bridgeman wrote for Just Security following Biden’s February airstrikes:
With former President Donald Trump’s term in office over, it’s time to evaluate his war powers legacy and where it leaves the Biden administration as it begins to grapple with how and when to use force abroad in the absence of congressional authorization. The picture that emerges from Trump’s war powers reporting to Congress is one of an extraordinarily broad vision of the president’s authority to use force abroad without congressional authorization, and of a willingness to exploit loopholes in reporting requirements in a way that obscures information on the use of force from the public.
A willingness to exploit loopholes is right. But as long as acts of mass military violence serve as the glue which holds a globe-spanning empire together, death finds a way.3
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- It took a slow learner like me a while to realise this, but life is not simple. There are those I disagree with sharply on politics, but love dearly. And a few whose political outlook I broadly share, but find cold-hearted and mean-spirited. Heigh-ho.
- See my king is dead and dancing in the streets posts last November.
- For why US forces (in uniform or out of) are in Iraq and Syria in the first place, against the express wishes of both, see my recent post, Reading the Middle East …