A Few Belated Thoughts on Obama's "End" of the War on Terror Speech: Congress Needs to Say the Safe Word:
There's times in a particularly extreme BDSM session where you just want the submissive to say the safe word. You're looking at the pathetic bastard, trussed up, hanging from the reinforced bar in the ceiling, ball gag suffocatingly tight, chest covered with welts and semen, nipples clamped tight in the vices that are attached to the electrified neck chain, nuts dangling low because of the weighted ball stretcher, ass bruised and bleeding a little, but with a vibrator stuck in it. And still, still, the sub's got a boner, one that you won't allow to come, but, c'mon, this has been fun, but you've got work tomorrow. Say the safe word. Frankly, you've moved on from the more obvious fucking (the floor is littered with paddles and whips and fisting lube and butt plugs and a spreader bar) and you're just straight out punching the sub. Maybe if you didn't use leather gloves.
What is the safe word? "Repeal," of course.
The Rude Pundit's been shocked at how many people on the left thought that President Obama's speech on counterterrorism last Thursday indicated a major shift in policy or the beginning of the end of the dumbly named "War on Terror" (which, thankfully, like "illegal alien," has no practical use as a term anymore). It did nothing of the sort. The only thing Obama said that he'd definitely do is "I will not sign laws designed to expand [the Authorization for the Use of Military Force's] mandate further." Otherwise, everything else is, like too many things with this president, up for discussion. But until Congress says the safe word, well, he's got no other choice but to keep on drone murdering people, including underage Americans, should they get in the way.
What was even the purpose of the speech? Just for Obama to tell us, "Don't worry. I think really hard about all of this shit that I do"? Otherwise, all Obama said was that he'll get back to us. He would ask his administration to "review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of warzones that go beyond our reporting to Congress" and directed Attorney General Eric Holder to "review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters" and "engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate" to go bugfuck insane over "terrorists."
It's that last one that is just galling as hell. See, the 2001 AUMF is pretty clear that all the decisions regarding the, you know, use of military force are to be made by the President. It says that "he determines" who or what needs to be attacked. Look, it's great that President Obama has decided that one of the goals of his administration is that Congress, which rolled over and allowed George W. Bush to fuck it freely during the bulk of his term, needs to get back to doing its fucking job. But Congress ain't gonna. Right now, Congress is tripping over its own tits trying to avoid a conference committee on budget bills that acutally passed both houses. You really think these crazy motherfuckers are gonna repeal the AUMF when they think that Chris Christie or Marco Rubio might get to use it next?
If Obama really wanted that "this war, like all wars, must end," he could fucking end it. The AUMF doesn't hinder him from doing so. He admitted that he can change the rules of engagement when he announced that he has "now codified [the rules for using forced against terrorists] in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday." Hey, that's groovy, setting limits, providing guidance, that nice-sounding shit for when you can drone missile a village. Except, as Conor Friedersdorf writes, "Why does Obama seem to think his successors will constrain themselves within whatever limits he sets? Won't they just set their own limits? Won't those limits be very different? What would Chris Christie do in the White House? I have no idea, but I'm guessing that preserving the decisionmaking framework Obama established isn't what he'd do."
By admitting that America has targeted Americans for extrajudicial murder, Obama is saying, flat-out, that we just need to take his word for it: Anwar al-Awlaki was bad. We can't know how the administration reached that conclusion. We're not allowed to see the evidence. It can't be heard in open court. But Obama can tell us, "He helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices on two U.S.-bound cargo planes. He was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009." Show us. Make us understand that this is true. Make us understand that there was no way to stop him. Because, see, it ain't like he was on a battlefield and killed.
And if this seems like too much of a stretch, to ask that the Obama White House provide us with these detailed answers and evidence, then you just need to go to the simplest of questions: "Do you want President Ted Cruz to make these decisions freely?"
So Obama wants to repeal the AUMF in order to prevent President Generic Republican or President Random Psychopath from having the massive powers that he and George W. Bush were granted. And to demonstrate how massive those powers are, the Rude Pundit supposes he's just going to keep pushing and pushing it, with drone strikes and surveillance tactics, until Congress says that safe word. It seems strange and, yes, a bit sadomasochistic. Congress will remain silent. Congress will merely tell Obama to bring it, even harder, and how dare he even talk about ending this war.
Of course, back in the BDSM room, you don't have to keep waiting. When you get too tired, you can untie your sub and tell him, "I'm done. Hope you had fun. And you're not allowed to masturbate." And then you can put your toys away, finding them finally exhausting and unnecessary.