The real effects of war are mostly unseen by the American public. We don’t see the bodies dug out of shelled out buildings, or the salvaged of body parts of victims from a car bomb. In fact, I was watching a documentary one day about the realities of war, and my grandmother asked me to change the channel. Her question was, “Why would you want to watch that?”

Now, it was not the repulsive violence in the documentary that caught me off guard. It was something even more insidious.

If you have ever watched the Boondock Saints, you might remember the line, “Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

Current mainstream media blares out the war propaganda as sort of hero worship, forbidding questions and running through  play-by-play to prove how we are ‘winning out there.’ But often, it’s some anchor safely reporting from their home studio with awesome graphics playing in the background pontificating about the American war machine. Or maybe, just some “Redshirt” pulled off the road surrounded by some sand in the background, commenting of what may be happening far off in the distance. We never see anything. There is no blood. No bullets. No body parts strewn about. No ravaged cities. No harm. No Foul. Just some sand.

While death tolls climb from disease and poor sanitation, we rarely see images showing what happens when armies move on and leave infrastructures completely decimated. No trash pick up. No electricity. No medical supplies in hospitals. No clean water. In fact, about a half of million people have been reported dead in Iraq just from deteriorated conditions and no available medical treatment. In fact, scientific academic collaborators want to create a health board to determine the aftereffects of war.

I just started reading Aftermath: The Remnants of War. It’s a book publish in 1996 by Donovan Webster, and it starts with bomb removal in the late 80’s early 90’s in certain parts of France. They were nowhere close to removing them all. And the bombs are left over from World War I (about a 100 years ago) and World War II (about 70 years ago). Some areas are so bad, that they have been sealed off from the public.

Fast-forward through time and watch Generation Kill. One of the very first scenes captures the shocking remnants left after the Gulf War in 1990, prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

If a picture can say a thousand words, the bloodless war image and military propaganda from American news channels has instilled the wrong perception. It has transformed good men into people indifferent to the atrocities of total, unending, undeclared war

Here’s the funny thing: few rarely have the spine to watch the real affects of war and the aftermath that takes place.

Now, I come from a family very apologetic to government’s justification of war. And I’m a veteran. So is my grandfather. But, like many of you, I have wandered into the land of unapproved opinion. I kinda like it here.

Still, the sad fact is, even as a veteran, or a blogger for the Tenth Amendment Center, my voice in my own home apparently holds little sway. My grandmother is a good woman, but the mainstream media has brainwashed her into accepting that every act an American does on another land is acceptable. To her, it’s perfectly acceptable that rule of law is null and void. The mention of the Constitution or the Geneva Convention never even makes a dent in her argument. Now, I usually just sit at the opposite end of the couch, completely speechless. I’m dumbfounded by the indifference. I’m a deer in headlights.

I mean, seriously, I’m sitting right next to my grandma while she tries to convince me that torture and murder are acceptable side effects of war, and children are considered viable targets – that it’s perfectly fine that the world is a battlefield. But, please change the channel because I don’t want to watch that.

And the lame excuse comes down to the most childish response ever. “That’s what the other side does.” This is the woman who took me to the library every week! Seriously, this is my grandma’s reasoning?!? But, she is one of the indifferent. If you hoped for a clear and concise answer from the indifferent, you are going to be disappointed. When logic can’t enter into an argument…well…I am just not educated enough to debate irrationality.

But now is the time we must must stop being dumbfounded by the indifferent. Even if the indifferent are blood relatives, sitting on the other side of the couch, telling us to stop watching a documentary about an unconstitutional war funded by our tax dollars.

How do we wake the indifferent up from this childish reasoning? We need to start educating each other. Turn the questions around on them. And hopefully, we can turn those news channels off, and be guided by a moral and constitutional reasoning when it comes to war.

Is it Constitutional?

After 9/11 and the invasion of the Afghanistan, federal entities, not entirely all representative, quickly scrambled to start the next invasion. Shortly after, another document was hastily written up, and Iraq was invaded and occupied in 2003.

In both Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress relinquished its enumerated power delegated in article 1 section 8 to the executive branch. The initial Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001 states, “That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force 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.”

The 2001 AUMF was followed by the 2003 AUMF. The 2003 AUMF states, “The president is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

Now, imagine that. Imagine you are applying for a job. Below the job description, is a list of duties (see article 1 section 8). You say you are going to do these duties by declaring an oath. But, after you have been hired, you create a document to relieve yourself of your duties. The document is not only considered legal, but you still get paid. And you have about a 90 percent chance of keeping your job till retirement age. These are childish dreams made into reality by the indifferent.

Not only was no war declared after an act of war was committed against us, the responsibility of declaring a war was transferred to the president with virtually no limitations. Instead, we looked for a “just war”  led by the president. Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 25, “We must receive the blow, before we could even prepare to return it.”

However our “enemy” is a terrorist. It is not representative of a people, but is a small radical subset of people using violence to get their political point across. Terrorists are not necessarily defined by geography or signed treaties. In fact, the 9/11 hijackers were not Afghani or Iraqi. Afghanistan, a country consisting of many tribes, not united by any means, was where terrorists based themselves and set up training camps.  And yet, Afghanistan was invaded as if the country had declared war on us.

As for Iraq, we only have lies as to why we invaded that country.

The Afghanis nor the Iraqis struck us. These wars are more than just unconstitutional. They are unjust. Instead of bringing a few to justice, we went to war with foreign peoples in an act of blind vengeance.

Have we recognized the laws of nations?

In 2003, the US used a decade old UN Resolution to justify war and an invasion of Iraq. Yet, UN Resolution 1441, was brought to the UN Security Council and even clarified to other countries as a resolution not a means to justify war with Iraq but as a means of peace. Yes, that has to be one of the most contradictory statement ever uttered. A peace resolution was cited to justify war.

The Geneva Convention is observed by many countries, including the US. Still, the president has used the 2001 and 2003 AUMF’s and the NDAA to legitimize indefinite detention even though it is in violation of Article 5 of the Geneva Convention. But that’s not all; enhanced interrogation, or torture, is also in violation of the Geneva Convention in Convention 1 and 3.

In reality, the UN does not authorize the use of force unless it is for self defense. By invading these countries that have not attacked us, the US has not observed the laws of nations, and has even perverted the rule of law to mean whatever it thinks it should mean.

Adhere to the Rule of Law

When one kid suffers a wrong and retaliates, he tends to blame the other kid. “He did it firs!” Adults usually respond, “Two wrongs do not make a right.”

And yet, the eye for an eye tactic is commonly used by adults seeking vengeance.

Vengeance does not seek justice. It inspires more violence. Suicide bombers, an unimaginable concept in Iraq before 2003, now terrorize the country on an almost daily basis, and people are now divided in sectarian violence, wading through trash covered streets, and dying of once preventable diseases.

The vengeance pursued by the executive branch has eroded the war powers, the Geneva Convention, and even international law. It did not spread democracy. We were not greeted in foreign lands with open arms. The blowback continues as the regard for human rights is ignored. And the current status in Iraq will haunt us in the future.

Do not be indifferent to the powers eroded and the rule of laws ignored. Liberty and the defense of a people will always be at risk if indifference persists.

Kelli Sladick

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