This piece originally appeared on Antiwar.com.
Most New Year’s resolutions last but a few days. By late January, the crowd in the gym dwindles down to its normal size. Most resolutions are fantasy, a simple act of wishful thinking. We all know this. Still, dreams are what make life tolerable. So, in that spirit, let’s take a break from the standard critique of existing U.S. foreign policy and conjure a world as it should be, not as it is. Consider this the ultimate New Year’s make believe – a resolution to swear off militarism and forever war in the Greater Middle East.
It would begin with a restructuring of the entire legal framework for American war-making. US soldiers still kill and die – and bomb at least seven countries – under two outdated Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). One, in 2001, authorized the president to battle the culprits of the 9/11 attacks, the Al Qaeda organization. The other, in 2003, approved the tragic-comic invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. Neither resolution is relevant to the fights at hand, which, therefore are only of dubious legality. In 2019, the US Congress should reassert its constitutional primacy in warfare, overturn the old AUMFs, and demonstrate the courage to debate and vote on each of America’s ongoing wars. If the people’s representatives truly believe any of the ongoing shooting wars – in Syria, Libya, Niger, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – are worth fighting, then let them say so publicly and declare war.
My guess is that most congressmen, knowing the prevailing public skepticism of ongoing overseas interventions, wouldn’t authorize the continuation of these disastrous campaigns. America’s forever warfare state might wither under the light of legitimate oversight. Nevertheless, no matter how Congress voted, the very act of public debate and accountability would be a refreshing change for our ostensible republic. When it comes to the momentous decisions of war and peace, more, not less, transparency should be the norm in 2019.
Read complete article on Antiwar.com.