The US launched air strikes on the soil of another country this week. Again. According to the Pentagon, “defensive precision attacks” hit their targets in Iraq and Syria. Big victory, big success, everyone shrugs their shoulders and goes about their day.
If almost every other country in the world had fired missiles outside its borders, it would have been a crisis; it was sunday here.
It bears pointing out that this is not a great way for a country to handle matters of war and death, especially not the most powerful country in the world, and especially not a country that espouses the power of democracy. The U.S. government is basically allowed to conduct military operations on autopilot with only the slightest oversight and accountability.
And while Congress is finally moving to do the bare minimum to curtail the White House’s ability to conduct “private wars,” there’s no sign that the executive branch is willing to dismantle the system that made these strikes a casual affair.
The aerial attacks were against “facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated. Honestly, the who and what of the attack are almost secondary in this case because it bears almost no impact on the how of the matter. Which is to say, “How is it that the Biden administration has the authority to fire off missiles without there being a peep of debate in Congress or among Americans?”
Kirby offered up two defenses of the legality of the strikes in his statement: