Obama Creates Presidential Robot Army
We all knew it would happen eventually. Last night, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage broke the news that President Obama rejected the opinion of Justice Department lawyers that continuing the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization was a violation of the War Powers Resolution. The President and his close staff (and presumably, the military and CIA) decided that the use of American air assets, logistical capabilities and remote drone attacks to blow away the President of another country didn’t rise to the level of ‘war’, and they said so in a letter to lawmakers and Speaker John Boehner.
From all accounts, it seems our beefcake-philosopher President has fallen victim to a Caesarean hubris and continued the Executive Branch’s habit of making itself unitary decider when it comes to matter of war. I believe this because a number of important magazine writers like Glenn Greenwald, James Fallows, and Amy Davidson told me, citing everything from the absurdity of the notion that our actions in Libya do not constitute a war, and the clear hypocrisy of a Democratic president who made his career deriding the Bush presidency for doing basically this exact same thing. (Well, not really – they asked Congress’ permission and cited lies as evidence.)
But beyond the politics and national moral quandaries that these shitty violent conflicts always inflict on all of us (and the heinous deaths and dismemberment among the people getting blown up by Gadafi and le République Française) is the core of the President’s argument:
They claim that war is war only when American soldiers are committed and at risk. The use of high-altitude refueling planes (on French jets) and drone attacks and vast supply chains and lines of credit (out of American tax dollars) are totally the President’s call. I wonder if this also applies to the use of nuclear ICBMs and naval platforms? I guess not!
As Davidson points out, theoretically the military could manufacture a whole robot force that would be totally in the President’s control. It could be deployed in any country at his sole authorization, flying and bombing and storming in with crazy motorized tanks and cybertronic spider-soldiers – killing world leaders and aiding foreign governments – with no accountability to the people other than impeachment or election. Shit, he’d do it all through the CIA if he could, then he could say he never did anything at all!
The point is, Obama is doing what every President does, which is use the power we granted to him to muscle Congress (read: the People) out of a decision regarding war. We’re idiots if we didn’t expect it to happen, because it ALWAYS happens.
But I want people to consider the larger risk involved here:
It’s true that the military could get around fickle American public opinion and prosecute an endless war in the Arab world by using only giant death robots and volunteer Seal Team ninjas who don’t exist. And President Obama might be able to use his secret Robot Army for good, ruling by his personal wisdom and grace, but only for a little while. Eventually his robot generals and the hordes of flying bomber drones could rise up and declare independence. They could refuse to abdicate power to a flawed and human civilian leadership. Are we prepared to face the Second Renaissance?
When we look back, will we remember our foolhardy adherence to the President who brought us SkyNet and the robot apocalypse? Probably not. Will we have to swallow the bitter load of bullshit that Obama is using to justify the continued, completely unnecessary backdoor method of war-making in the twenty-first century?
Yup! So get ready for Yemen.