A top US military official has emphasized that the American so-called “war on terror” on Muslim world will continue for ‘at least 10 to 20 years.’
Assistant US Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Michael Sheehan made clear at a Senate Arms Services Committee hearing on Thursday that Pentagon has no intention to put an end to its 12-year-old wars and military actions against predominantly Muslim targets around the world under the pretext of war on terror for “at least 10 to 20 year.”
In response to grilling questions by members of the committee about future of the American self-serving ‘war on terror’ actions overseas, Sheehan told Senators that the extent of the US counterterrorism program stretches “from Boston to the FATA,” in an apparent reference to the region in Pakistan that the US military has persistently claimed as a ‘terrorism hotbed.’
In a hasty, controversial move, US Congress granted the nation’s previous President George Bush the power to go after the shadowy al-Qaeda terror group in 2001 by signing the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), a legislation that basically authorized the use of American powerful military to avenge, by any means necessary, the September 11, 2001 incidents, which Washington conveniently blamed on the still obscure al-Qaeda group.
Over 12 years after the 9/11 incidents, however, Some US Senators have raised concerns that the very broad powers extended to the country’s commander-in-chief through the AUMF are being manipulated to justify a widening US-led military actions that now target militants in a growing list of Muslim nations, including Yemen and Somalia.
While some of the lawmakers suggested that it was time to revise the AUMF, Pentagon officials insisted the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) updated the law to grant the nation’s president the power not just to target assumed “terrorists” overseas, but also those suspected to be ‘associated forces.’
Robert Taylor, the acting general counsel of the Department of Defense, reportedly testified during the same that the NDAA’s update to the Bush-era bill means that even suspects born after the September 11 attacks may be targeted as warriors in the US military’s ‘war on terror.’
“As long as they become an associated force under the legal standard that was set out,” Taylor reportedly said.
Independent member of the committee, Senator Angus King of State of Maine, challenged that notion by suggesting that the Pentagon was uninterested in changing the AUMF since they are using it to justify a US-led war that wouldn’t otherwise be legal.
“This is the most disturbing hearing I’ve been to in some time,” Senator King said. “You guys have rewritten the Constitution today.”
“You guys have invented this term, associated forces, that’s nowhere in this document,” he emphasized. “It’s the justification for everything, and it renders the war powers of Congress null and void.”
King further insisted, “I assume [the AUMF] does suit you well because you’re reading it to fit everything, and it doesn’t, the general rule of war applies.”
US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of “war on terror,” removing the ruling Taliban regime and bringing peace and stability to the war-torn nation. Over 12 years later, terrorism, mass displacement of civilians, narcotics production and distribution and corruption has drastically climbed across the country.
Washington also wage another major war against Iraq in 2003 under the false claim of removing nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in the country. Although US forces were pressured to withdraw for the country in 2011, they left a trail of massive destruction, massacres of civilians as well as detention and torture of many residents that they suspected as anti-American.