Public law 107–40 enacted by the 107th US Congress on September 18, 2001 authorised the US President to use "necessary and appropriate against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons".
There was NO LIMITATION prescribed in this law on the use of force. The President was to determine the appropriate level. There was no requirement that the President would have to justify this "appropriateness" to the people of America through a detailed monthly report. No requirement that a magistrate would need to accompany all armed forces and provide detailed reports justifying the killings. And no checks or balances were imposed, not even a requirement that this law will be reviewed within, say, 1 year or 2 years. An open blank cheque.
Under the terms of this blank cheque NEVER can the US President come back and say that ALL future acts of terrorism against USA have been prevented.
This doesn't sound like a defensive authorisation AT ALL. It effectively amounts to a unilateral determination by ONE MAN (President of USA) of the value of life of ANYONE ELSE in the world. For ever. That's not very defensive!
This is effectively an authorisation for PERPETUAL WAR.
I'm deeply disappointed to learn that a nation that issued the Declaration of Independence – a document that guides the whole o fmankind in the defence of liberty – allowed a MONSTER to be created in the name of self-defence.
Most problematically, it doesn't define terrorism. In my definition of things, terrorism is largely a POLICE matter, a matter for INTERPOL. Close coordination between international police forces should be able to deal with most forms of terrorism which is organised like a crime, not like a warring army. [I have personal and extensive experience of dealing with violent terrorism in Assam, which was dealt with - at least on my watch - as a POLICE not defence matter. I understand that it is difficult to engage police across borders, but there is no reason why the mechanisms of police action can't be applied even when it temporarily involves occupying a foreign nation.]
There is a BIG difference between war and police action. Terrorism should fall into the police action category after immediate defensive punishment has been imparted (e.g. the bombing of Tora Bora). Police action would automatically have in-built checks and balances of judicial oversight.
My family recently returned from a holiday in the USA. One of the gifts they got for me was a replica of the Declaration of Independence, and a mug bearing the likeness of Thomas Jefferson. I consider these to be precious gifts.
I'm afraid I might have to review my generally positive opinion of USA if this is the end result of its defence of liberty: a perpetual war with the rest of the world.
This law, 107–40, seems to have NO RELATIONSHIP with the Declaration of Independence.
Has anyone read this book: Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal practices of liberal regimes after 9/11 Edited by Didier Bigo and Anastassia Tsoukala? I'm going to read it if time permits.
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