While we\'re busy redefining words...

Since the Bush administration is telling us to refer to warrantless spying on US citizens "terrorist surveillance", I'd like to suggest a few more redefinitions on the same note. From now on I suggest that we refer to suspects and defendants as "criminals," acquittals as "technicalities," and police abuse and wrongful imprisonment or execution as "collateral damage." After all, this is a war on poverty/drugs/crime/terrorism, right? And of course we can't afford pesky impediments like rights in times of war! Oh wait, we should be calling those "conveniences" or "privileges."

Just one question: what should we call it when one nation-state engages in a legally declared armed conflict with another nation-state?

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Wow, I'm first. I'll call it

Wow, I'm first. I'll call it liberation, since we've liberated the Iraqis from a dictator and Osama is trying to liberate us from our busy body of a government.

Oops, I just noticed the "legally declared" half. I'll stick with liberation.

Just one question: what

Just one question: what should we call it when one nation-state engages in a legally declared armed conflict with another nation-state?

Awwww...that's freedom, baby!

- Josh

International espionage is a

International espionage is a different ballgame, Pete. The government of the United States is here to protect the rights of its citizens, primarily within the geographic bounds of its jurisdiction, but to a lesser extent, abroad.

On the contrary, the government of the United States is not in existence to protect the rights of foreign nationals on foreign soil.

Ho hum. And I suppose we

Ho hum. And I suppose we ought not to spy on Al Qaeda either, eh? Wouldn't want to violate their rights.

I mean, if you want to play the reductio ad absurdum game, bring it on. But don't foist it off as anything but.

what should we call it when

what should we call it when one nation-state engages in a legally declared armed conflict with another nation-state?

Regime Change

what should we call it when

what should we call it when one nation-state engages in a legally declared armed conflict with another nation-state?

How about "World War II"? There haven't been any of these since then.

Joe, Granted I'm not a

Joe,

Granted I'm not a lawyer, but from every article I've read on the subject of "authorizations of force", the people involved all agree that they are the functional equivalent of a declaration of war.

If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and swims like a duck, most folk call it a duck, but in the case of "authorizations of force" people say "nope, not a duck, because it has a white head instead of a green head, and ducks have green heads like in the Duck Head logo."

Also, after the United Nations treaty, technically speaking isn't using the words "declare war" formally illegal?

I think Joe knows that an

I think Joe knows that an AUMF is the legal equivalent of a declaration of war. I'm guessing that Joe is trying to make this point:

1. Presidents (e.g., Truman in Korea) have acted without the consent of Congress (even if under cover of the UN), or

2. Congress has illegally authorized the use of force because it hasn't first received the approval of the UN.

It's sort of a Catch-22 isn't it? But let's ignore point 1 for the moment and ask why (regardless of our "obligation" under the UN Charter) the sovereignty of the U.S. should ever have been placed in the hands of the UN? As I said here:

It seems unlikely that a court (the U.S. Supreme Court, in particular) would find that the constitutional grant of power to declare war, which is so fundamental to America's sovereignty and to the protection of Americans' interests, can be ceded by treaty to an international body that cannot be relied upon to protect our sovereignty and our interests.

If push were to come to shove, I expect the Supreme Court would nullify U.S. membership in the UN on the ground that that membership amounts to an unconstitutional cessation of sovereign power.

Tom, The UN Treaty is law in

Tom,

The UN Treaty is law in the US (per the constitution), but all law in the US is subordinate to the US Constitution (i.e., where there is conflict between the law and the constitution, the constitution wins). Therefore, if I understand correctly, regardless of the UN treaty the US (legally) retains the right to go to war (meaning my Q to Joe was indeed ultimately rhetorical/moot) since (a) the US did not transfer sovereignty to the UN/throw away the constitution upon signing the treaty, and (b) the constitution explicitly enshrines warmaking capacity within the US Congress.

It may be that the customary practice of issuing AsUMF vs. ye olde "I Declare War on You" is a bow to international opinion and a sign of respect to the idea of the UN treaty which outlaws war; the UN was, after all, an exercise in the Americanization of the world and so the US initially had a great interest in making the UN project work. That project has since been grotesquely hijacked, but the customary practice still remains.

As far as making US membership in the UN a nullity (or nullifying the UN treaty completely), I doubt the Supremes would ever go that far or even need to; the Supremes often will narrowly rule against laws and invalidate just the offending portion rather than going whole hog, unless the entirety of the law is offensive to the constitution in the court's opinion. I believe that was the reasoning behind the recent abortion non-decision, is that they found the circuit court to have acted too broadly in nullifying the whole law when they could have simply excised a small part and left the rest intact, or otherwise modified it. So I think that push comes to shove, the Court would simply ratify the status quo and say that the portion of the UN treaty construed to forbid the US from waging war without permission is a dead letter, leaving the rest of the treaty intact.

Wow, that was meant to be a

Wow, that was meant to be a joke. Guess you never know what will spark a nice discussion. My response is posted (shameless self-promotion coming) here.

"What should we call it when

"What should we call it when one nation-state engages in a legally declared armed conflict with another nation-state" was intended to point out that the government has basically made the term "war" completely meaningless, because now it's used as justification for any rights-violation they want to perpetrate.

Doinkicarus, it appears from your comment that you believe it's OK for a government bureaucrat to violate the law entirely on their own recognizance as long as you approve of their justification after the fact. However, if you don't support the rule of law now, it will be much harder to support it later when "national security reasons" expands to include anything that might undermine the authority of the President, like unfavorable news reports or independent investigations of Presidential wrongdoing, or even getting the opposing party elected. I'm sure there are plenty of people already who believe that our national security depends on having Republican in the White House. If that's something you believe also, then you really have nothing to add to this discussion.