Illegal fireworks reined in by sexless tactic
Illegal war made good by acting on the SOFA?
To end war, Greek women once called for a sex strike. This New Year’s, Italian women organized the same tactic. New Year’s Day, the US war in Iraq became officially illegal. Time for another strike? We trim, blend, and append two recent articles, a 2008 one on the sex strike from the BBC on Dec 31 and a 2009 on the illegal war from the Daily Beast, posted on AlterNet Jan 3, by Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway, professors of law at Yale and the University of California Berkeley, respectively.
by BBC and by Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway
Naples sex strike over fireworks
Hundreds of Neapolitan women have pledged to go without sex unless their men promise to refrain from setting off dangerous illegal fireworks.
Local authorities are backing the women and have sent out text messages urging the men to "make love, not explosions".
"Setting off illegal fireworks isn't celebrating, it's dangerous," Carolina Staiano, a founder of the campaign.
Mrs Staiano, 44, has spent her life caring for her father, who was left partially paralysed and with epilepsy after a firework exploded next to him at New Year's Eve party before she was born.
''If a sex strike is what it takes in order to get the attention of our men, husbands, partners and sons, then we're ready for it," Mrs Staiano, 44, said.
Doctor and local councillor Vincenzo Sorrentino, who has long campaigned against the illegal fireworks, said previous attempts to prevent the New Year's Eve mayhem had proved unsuccessful, but a sex ban was "an issue that men are particularly sensitive to''.
The move was inspired by the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex unless their men folk forge a truce with their rivals from Sparta.
JJS: What negotiation tactic or agreement will it take to get the US military out of Iraq? Its presence is no longer even quasi-legal, since the invasion was rationalized on trumped up charges. Would American and Iraqi women go on strike together?
The Iraq War Is Now Illegal
The US’s continuing military intervention in Iraq has been based on the second clause of Congress’ 2002 grant to Bush of its constitutional war-making power: “enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” Coalition troops have been acting under a series of Security Council resolutions authorizing the continuing occupation of Iraq.
But this year, Bush allowed the UN mandate to expire on December 31 without requesting a renewal. At precisely one second after midnight, Congress’ authorization of the war expired along with this mandate.
Bush is trying to fill the legal vacuum with the new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) he signed with the Iraqis. But the president’s agreement lacks the approval of Congress. Bush even refused to allow Congress access to the terms of the deal. By contrast, Prime Minister al-Maliki followed his constitution and submitted the agreement for parliamentary approval. While the Iraqi parliament debated its terms, leading members of Congress were obliged to obtain unofficial English translations of texts published by the Arab press.
The SOFA creates a joint US-Iraq committee and gives it, not the president, broad control over the use of American combat troops. It thereby asserts the authority to restrict President Obama’s powers as commander in chief throughout most of his first term in office. But under the Constitution, no president can unilaterally limit his successor’s authority over the military.
SOFA cannot serve as a valid substitute for the congressional authorization. It is up to Congress to authorize continuing military action. Gaining the consent of a foreign power is not constitutionally enough.
SOFA does contain withdrawal timetables that are compatible with Obama’s goals: all combat troops out of Iraq’s cities by July; all troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. As a consequence, Obama may be tempted to accept the agreement that Bush has left behind. But if he does, Obama will legitimize ending the role of Congress in waging war. Future presidents will cite the Iraqi accord as a precedent whenever they choose to convert Congress’ authorization of a limited war into an open-ended conflict.
There is another way. As president Obama could submit the Bush-Maliki agreement to Congress on January 20 and urge its speedy approval. This request is likely to win broad bipartisan support. Rapid congressional ratification will fill the legal vacuum threatening the constitutional integrity of our military operations in Iraq.
JJS: What’s to fill the moral vacuum of our national integrity? If America is to ever again claim the moral high ground, it must quit being the world’s policeman, help the UN fulfill that role, and end any material ambition as an excuse for war by spreading prosperity far and wide. That is a role tailor-made for the world’s biggest economy. Make our economy just -- by implementing geonomics, including real free trade -- and the rest of the world would soon follow suit. Just as our constitution, our revolution, our movies, music, and fashions all became the global culture, so could a renewed love for justice.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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