Great article from TomDispatch on ‘post-legal America’. For the U.S., whether an act of war (from CIA drone strikes, to intervention in Libya, to Osama’s recent assassination) is ‘legal’ or not is now sadly irrelevant and beside the point. Appeals to the Constitution or even International Law come secondary to ‘national security’ and the Global War on Terror. Keeping us safe is not only profitable, it’s enshrined within a sprawling bureaucratic apparatus:
“Here is the reality of post-legal America: since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the National Security Complex has engorged itself on American fears and grown at a remarkable pace. According to Top Secret America, a Washington Post series written in mid-2010, 854,000 people have “top secret” security clearances, “33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001… 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks… [and] some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.”
“The Intelligence Community with its $80 billion-plus budget, the National Security Complex, including the Pentagon and that post-9/11 creation, the Department of Homeland Security, with its $1.2 trillion-plus budget, and the imperial executive have thrived in these years. They have all expanded their powers and prerogatives based largely on the claim that they are protecting the American people from potential harm from terrorists out to destroy our world.”
Taken from: Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, May 30 2011.