Plan for military intervention greases skids for war throughout the region, says Harvard professor
Paul Joseph Watson
September 3, 2013
The Obama administration’s draft resolution for military intervention which Congress is set to vote on next week is so broad that it would authorize boots on the ground as well as regime change and open ended war throughout the entire region, according to Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith.
Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003–2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002–2003.
In an article for the Lawfare Blog, Goldsmith reveals how the White House’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) would give Obama the power to deploy ground troops in Syria, despite the administration’s claims that it is only seeking to carry out “limited” strikes that have no connection to regime change.
“The phrase ‘The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate’ would include authorization for ground troops, should the President decide they were ‘necessary and appropriate,’” writes Goldsmith.
Goldsmith points out that although the resolution authorizes the President to use the US military to “protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by (chemical weapons),” it does not limit the countries or groups against which this mandate applies.
“The proposed AUMF focuses on Syrian WMD but is otherwise very broad. It authorizes the President to use any element of the U.S. Armed Forces and any method of force. It does not contain specific limits on targets – either in terms of the identity of the targets (e.g. the Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Hezbollah, Iran) or the geography of the targets,” writes Goldsmith, emphasizing that the language does not limit military force to the territory of Syria, merely that it must be connected to WMD use in the Syrian conflict.
The AUMF also contains no time limit for when this mandate expires without further congressional approval, meaning it creates the pretext for an open ended war that would “permit the President to use military force against any target anywhere in the world (including Iran or Lebanon) as long as the President, in his discretion, determines that the the target has a connection to WMD in the Syrian civil war.”
In response to complaints that the authorization is far too broad and would possibly be rejected by Congress on this basis, the Washington Post reports the the administration may be preparing to, “rewrite the proposed resolution to clarify that any operation would be limited in scope and duration and would not include the use of ground troops.”
Former vice chief of staff of the US Army General Jack Keane told BBC Radio 4 today that Obama’s claim that the planned missile strike on Syria will merely be an act of punishment for the use of chemical weapons and not intended to sway the course of the conflict or damage Assad’s military capacity is not the case.
“What he has told the two senators is that he also intends to assist the opposition forces, so he is going to degrade Assad’s military capacity and he is going to assist and upgrade the opposition forces with training assistance,” said Keane, adding that the attack plan has “much more substance than we were led to believe”.
Secretary of State John Kerry and another unnamed senior State Department official have both made it clear that the Obama administration will proceed with an attack on Syria whether Congress gives the green light or not.