There was a hearing on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces on the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that I suspect went unnoticed by most Americans.
Fortunately, Common Dreams staff writer Lauren McCauley did a great job of summing it up here.
She also embedded a very telling bit of video of some of the testimony. Both her article and the video will be helpful the next time “small government” conservatives, Libertarians, and Republicans complain about federal overreach and want to accuse someone outside their own party of trying to rewrite the Constitution.
The statements made by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Michael A. Sheehan, and independent Maine Senator Angus King pretty clearly reveal which of them are the actual advocates for federal overreach and a Constitutional rewrite.
For the record, I am completely in opposition of Obama’s drone strikes. Presidents are not kings, judges, or juries, and they ought not to be executioners, either. We are supposed to be a society of laws, not of ruling men and women. The fear and xenophobia of 9/11, however, still seems to have a very firm grip on some of us. After 12 years, it also seems that some of us have used that fear as the basis for growing far too accustomed and even comfortable with the idea of endlessly being at war with anyone and everyone our elected leaders tell us we should fear and hate. I don’t think this is what the Founders had in mind, but I suspect those are social norms George Orwell would recognize immediately.
So the next time the conversation turns to federal overreach, the Constitution, and endless wars, it would be a good idea to pull up the recorded testimony of Graham, Sheehan, and King and point out who it is who seems to want to rewrite the rules. It’s not liberals and progressives, and it’s not who we elect as legislators. It’s people like Graham and his party who seem intent on undermining the Constitution, redefining the word “war”, and opening up endless fronts on which to wage it.