Obama Remembers That Secret War is Illegal

John Glaser, June 18, 2012

Chris Woods of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that the Obama administration seems to have officials notified Congress of the hostilities they’ve undertaken in Yemen and Somalia, which seems to hint of some law-abiding principles pursuant to the War Powers Resolution:

News of the surprise acknowledgment came in a letter from President Obama to Congress on the evening of June 15 – a six monthly obligation under the War Powers Resolution passed in 1973, in which he is required to inform politicians about US military actions abroad. Obama openly described ‘direct action’ – military operations – in both Yemen and Somalia.

[Obama's letter said:] “The U.S. military has also been working closely with the Yemeni government to operationally dismantle and ultimately eliminate the terrorist threat posed by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous affiliate of al-Qa’ida today. Our joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP operatives and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests.”

There were similar references to operations in Somalia, with the President noting that in ‘a limited number of cases, the US military has taken direct action in Somalia against members of al-Qa’ida, including those who are also members of al-Shabaab, who are engaged in efforts to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States and our interests.’

Previously any such details were reported only in a confidential annex to the reports, with US officials refusing to confirm or deny even the existence of military strikes – an increasingly bizarre stance given the widespread reporting of such operations.

The Wall Street Journal noted that much of the impetus for the partial disclosure came from General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

His spokesman told the paper: ‘When U.S. military forces are involved in combat anywhere in the world, and information about those operations does not compromise national or operational security, Gen. Dempsey believes the American public should be kept appropriately informed.’

Unfortunately, the chances the Obama administration will consider using force in Yemen and Somalia as at all up to Congress is essentially zero. That they disregarded these legal obligations in the war in Libya last year is evidence enough. Doubly unfortunate, is that Congress is not likely to exercise its authority in this respect or to even have the inclination to end hostilities in these countries. Anyways, as Woods notes, the WSJ article noted that “officials said details about specific strikes in Yemen and Somalia would continue to be kept secret.”




6 Responses to “Obama Remembers That Secret War is Illegal”

  1. why are they using the fanatics in libya and syria as proxy fighters them? the americans obviously have a working relationship with them? scandalous criminality

  2. why are the so called anti war movements doing nothing about NATO's illegal attack on Syria.? they did not protest about the genocide in libya. seems they do not mind war if its under the fig leaf of a ''humanitarian '' intervention. such hypocrites who have lost all credibility. amnesty international and human rights watch are similarly compromised and corrupt. hand in hand with the western media presstitutes, they cheerlead every war.. we are awake to your agendas. you have betrayed humanity

  3. Ummm, David? "Antiwar movements?" In Amerika? That does seem to be your inference. You see, Amerikan "antiwar movements" outside the confines of Antiwar.com are dead and gone. Gone the way of an Obama discarded old red tennis shoe. Laid down with the Obama dogs-of-war and summarily lapsed into a flea-bitten coma.
    You see someone inside the Obama 'command-and-control console', after conferring with Professor Juan Cole, came up with the term "humanitarian intervention" and progressives and their ilk were comfortable with that. Fait accompli.
    After all, warmongers the world over hold R2P in strictest sanctimony.

  4. The spread of democracy will continue until all who oppose the US are dead.

  5. Mitt Romney just declared that he, if he becomes president wouldn't need an authorization to go to war with Iran. There is no doubt that US foreign policies has been and is based on wars, that is to say that US has become a militarism regime living behind its values wanting to become the "superior nation” engaging in all kind of atrocity around the world.

    For US is the militarism, is the way forcing the US “ideology" in capitalism to nations around the world. Years passed and US been living the mark of its inhuman act and there are many, to many enemies created by such manipulated system where every president needs to have or creating a war for last 60 years just to satisfy its underdogs, the tyrants, the dictatorial and other form of brutal regimes, knowing that ICC is about other guy and not George W. Bush or Tony Blair or Bill Clinton and etc. the action thus far taken by ICC shows how manipulated the entire capitalism system is and what is stands for.

    In the other hand, the true meaning of the word democracy – social democracy itself has been sucked into the system where the action regarding the words (democracy or social democracy) been about militarism, proving that democracy or social democracy is an act of aggression and supremacy when the rise of Germanism was born and the freedom of choice of other nation was ignored.

  6. Anti-war movements are having great difficulty with our generation because every time the U.S. starts another war, those who are against the ultimate agenda have to start from the beginning to explain the nature of U.S. imperialism in the world. The revolution that took place in the late 60s was the result of nearly a decade of networking and rallying, which is something that the modern activists have had a tough time doing, probably because there is no draft and therefore a lot less sensitivity to deaths of G.I.s. The wealth of the U.S. and the standard of living offered to the majority of its citizens has done a remarkable job of manifesting complacency in the masses. As long as there is overwhelming indifference in international affairs, you can count on current anti-war movements continuing to do very little.