The bipartisan consensus for global killing

As an Intercept reader, you know that we can’t afford to look away just because Democrats are back in power.

I’ve spent much of the last 25 years as a journalist covering the impact of American militarism, reporting from war zones in Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Nigeria.

I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts of U.S. militarism under Republican and Democratic presidents, from George W. Bush’s Iraq War fiasco to Barack Obama’s drone wars and Afghanistan surge.

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Unfortunately, the news industry has seen... an across-the-board decline in traffic and revenues since President Joe Biden took office, as readers, exhausted after four years of the Trump Show and a pandemic, tune out. Even as a nonprofit, The Intercept is no exception: After years of growth, new donations have begun to decline.

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As an Intercept reader, you know that we can’t afford to look away just because Democrats are back in power. A return to normal just isn’t good enough — we need journalism that challenges the bipartisan consensus on American empire now more than ever.

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Most news outlets prefer to focus on conflict between Democrats and Republicans — not the many things that they agree on.

But if you were a Palestinian refugee in Gaza or the family of a drone strike victim in Yemen, you’d be hard-pressed to see any difference between Repubicans and Democrats at all.

The truth is that the U.S. policy of permanent global war is enduring and bipartisan.

Obama massively expanded the U.S.’s drone warfare programs. He surged troops in Afghanistan and empowered both the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to engage in expanded global “targeted killing” operations under a secret parallel judicial system while shielding Bush-era officials from accountability for their war crimes.

Then when Trump was elected president, he threw out the few guidelines Obama had put in place to provide legal oversight and transparency to the U.S. regime of global killing. And what did congressional Democrats do about it? Nothing.

Even while condemning Trump as an unstable authoritarian, Democrats in Congress helped expand the president’s military power and surveillance authority during the four years of his term.

Today the U.S. military budget is greater than that of China, Russia, India, the U.K., Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, and Australia combined. And the Democratic-controlled Congress is poised to increase the Pentagon’s budget by 5 percent to $740 billion — even after Biden rightly brought an end to the war in Afghanistan.

These hard truths cut against easy Red vs. Blue narratives. But The Intercept is a rare outlet willing to challenge those assumptions and reveal the truth about America’s endless wars. Today we continue to break news on a nearly daily basis on stories that few other outlets would cover, and I’m incredibly proud of the investigative powerhouse The Intercept has become.

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Jeremy Scahill Co-founder

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