Monday, March 03, 2008

No Sonar For You

The 9th district court recently upheld a ruling about the Navy's use of high-power sonar while training. Opponents stated (and the military does not deny) that the use of high-power sonar deafens marine animals in the vicinity, and can cause permanent hearing damage.

The part that caught my eye was the justification for continuing training even with the knowledge of the harm it was causing:
"We're a country engaged in two wars. When we send America's sons and daughters into harm's way, we must ensure they have the best possible training," [Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Moore] said.

We're a country engaged in two wars. Since "war" gets tossed around an awful lot these days, I thought I'd look it up.

It turns out we haven't had a formal declaration of war since 1942. Apparently declarations of war are passe, and have been replaced by a more ambiguous (and more defensible to your constituents) "Authorization of Use of Force". Also, we have a long and colorful tradition of congresionally-unauthorized miliary actions.

Just in case y'all thought the war (oops, sorry, military action -- it's so easy to make that mistake when, after all, your own president can't keep it straight) in Iraq was something new.

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