None Dare Call It Treason

Article III Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States:

“Treason against the United states shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

The United States is at War in Afghanistan, declared or not. That’s where American military personnel are, as the phrase goes, In Harms Way. The War is against the Taliban, not the Afghan nation-state or government. A foreign power, namely Russia, is paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers. It’s not clear why they need payoffs to do this, but let’s leave that for now.

On the basis of reporting from intel sources so far, the most likely scenario seems to be this: The American President has been apprised of this state of affairs. If money counts, and when and where does it not, the Russian government is effectively allied with the Taliban in the Warlike activity of killing those soldiers. So the President, knowing of this, makes friendly phone calls to the President of Russia, who has authorized these payments, does not complain to or threaten him, and therefore allows the activity to continue (though that’s of course unlikely now that it’s been exposed). Indeed, he strives to strengthen the position of President Putin in the international community. Thus, in a word, “adhering” to him (not, to be sure, for the first time).

In today’s strangely entangled international world, it’s difficult to know who is levying War against whom, and who is being given Aid and Comfort. I will offer the following tentative conclusion–“tentative,” because in the absence of hard evidence (“two witnesses,” as Article III Section 3puts it), my summary of the situation is filled with speculation. That being said:

The President of the United States has adhered to, or given “Aid and Comfort” to, Russia, through its personification in its President. Through its payments to the Taliban, Russia has allied itself with the Taliban against the United States, with the apparent permission or absolution of that U.S. President, Donald Trump.

I leave it to specialists in International Law to sort out the responsibilities of the various actors involved in this triangular relationship. I note only that the ultimate beneficiary of all this activity is, or has been, the Taliban. What shall we call this?

I apologize to everyone for borrowing my title from the1960’s Right-wing conspiracist John Stormer. But there it is:

None Dare Call It Treason.

Emeritus Professor of Gov’t, Smith College, Visiting Professor, The New School, Editorial Board, The Nation,