Patterico's Pontifications

3/24/2011

More Fallout From the Illegal War on Libya

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:13 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Of course I first drew the conclusion that it was an illegal war here, and have since talked about it here and here.

Well, first, I found myself completely outclassed by the argument by Mike Ramsey over at The Originalism Blog.  We arrive at just about the same conclusion, but bluntly he just has a deeper understanding of the material.  Here’s one choice paragraph to give you a taste:

The answer is that in founding-era terminology war could be “declared” either by formal announcement or by military action initiating hostilities.  John Locke’s classic Two Treatises of Government from the late 17th century referred to “declar[ing] by word or action.”  Blackstone and Vattel, two of the 18th century legal writers most influential in America, also used “declare” in this way.  Vattel wrote: “When one nation takes up arms against another, she from that moment declares herself an enemy to all individuals of the latter.”  Johnson’s dictionary gave as one definition of “declare” to “shew in open view” – which, applied to warfare, would obviously encompass military attacks.  (References are found in my Chicago Law Review article, Part III; for a more comprehensive account, see this outstanding article by Saikrishna Prakash). Thus in 18th century terms initiating an attack was as much “to declare war” as was making a formal announcement; Congress’ Article I, Section 8 power is not narrowly about issuing formal announcements, but broadly about authorizing the sorts of actions that begin war.

So go read it, if you are inclined.

Meanwhile Gallop reports that 47% of Americans approve of the mission, 37% disapprove and 16% have no opinion.  Of course the problem with those numbers is that some people’s responses are more complicated than that.  For instance, I wanted the president to do this, but legally, by asking for an authorization to use force first.  So I consider this war illegal, but the ultimate goal to be desirable (if the President actually wants to get rid of Qdaffy). Still its worth noting that the Gallop report also says that the approval rating “is lower than what Gallup has found when asking about approval of other U.S. military campaigns in the past four decades.”  Certainly as a political matter, the sudden and badly explained decision to go to war appears to be hurting him—a reason to follow the Constitution, if the fact that it is the Constitution isn’t reason enough.

But of course the President is trying to avoid explaining himself to the American people:

President Barack Obama is resisting pressure to deliver an Oval Office speech explaining his policy on Libya — in part, because he doesn’t want to equate what he regards as a smaller, time-limited mission with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Which is stupid.  I remember when Reagan dropped bombs on Gdaffy, a one off affair, and Reagan was on that night, explaining why he decided to drop them.  Here, take a gander:

That’s what Presidents do even if it isn’t a full scale war.  Seriously, who is advising this guy?  And is he listening to their advice?

And is there any hope for some real blowback over this, at least resulting in the censure resolution I am advocating for?  Well, consider this.  First that the LA Times reports that there is a “Constitutional Firestorm” over the thing, discussing in part Boehner’s letter to the President.   And George Stephanopoulos writes:

Here’s an indication of how angry are Congressional Democrats that President Obama put the U.S. in the mix in Libya without consulting them:

A top Congressional confidant of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat Rep. George Miller, suggested this morning that President Obama acted outside his Presidential authority by engaging in military action without consulting Congress.

An MSNBC anchor asked Miller if he thinks the President acted with proper legal authority in taking military action.

“Well, I’m one of those people who believe that when you’re not defending the shores of the United State, you have an obligation to come to the Congress and ask for permission. So no, I don’t agree with that,” Miller said. He later said he thinks Obama would have gotten permission from Congress.

Of course, the White House responded angrily to all that pushback:

The White House fired back Thursday at criticism over the Libya military mission, saying lawmakers were briefed and consulted at length before air strikes began.

White House press secretary Jay Carney read off a list of dates when administration officials briefed members or testified on the Hill during an off-camera briefing held the day after President Obama returned from a trip to South and Central America.

The press secretary also said the U.S. had to act quickly when air strikes began Saturday because further delay would have “cost lives.”

Cost lives?  Are you fraking kidding me?  You have sat on your hands, Mr. President, for over a month about this, so don’t pretend to me that this was such a sudden emergency.

And Barney Frank is not buying this line about consultations, either:

But in an interview with POLITICO, Frank, the liberal congressman from Massachusetts, said “consultations are no substitute” for seeking Congress’s permission to go to war.

“Consultations, schmonsultations,” Frank said.

Frank also didn’t buy Carney’s argument on Thursday that Obama couldn’t ask Congress to go to war because doing so would have given Muammar Qadhafi time to slaughter Libyans in Benghazi. “They should have asked earlier,” Frank argued, also suggesting that publicizing a request for war could have even spooked Qadhafi.

Still, Frank said, Obama can make some amends by asking Congress to approve further attacks in Libya before authorizing them. “I wish he had done it differently, and it’s not too late for him to do it differently,” he said.

Meanwhile the euphemisms continue, including my unfavorite:

U.S. officials avoid describing the operation as a war. White house press secretary Jay Carney said it was “a time-limited, scope-limited military action.

(emphasis added.)  Hey, can we come up with a power-limited, scope-limited President?  Please?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

59 Responses to “More Fallout From the Illegal War on Libya”

  1. I can’t believe he did this all on his own. If it goes south, his fingers are the only one’s on it (from America) except maybe Clinton’s and she ain’t the President.

    Not to do an address? To tell Americans why their military is bombing Libya, day in, day out. Yikes.

    I can’t imagine that will help him politically in the end. It doesn’t hardly look Presidential, does it? Oh, that COMBINED with not getting Congressional authorization, and skipping down to Brazil to play soccer with kids as the bombs began to fall?

    Wow. That is not going to endear him to swing voters, I think, when the righteous political ads are made about this.

    Just compare him to Reagan! On air attacks in Libya, no less.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  2. Right or wrong it is definitely an illegal war. And there has been no case made that the instability in Libya has any impact on the U.S. Obama has no clear goal here. And I don’t agree that we should have our troops lead by non-U.S. commanders.

    Arizona Bob (911aa5)

  3. free libya don’t free libya hey sucker punch comes out this weekend

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  4. If it quacks like a time limited scope limited duck, or quacks like a kinetic military duck, it’s still a duck.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  5. “That’s what Presidents do even if it isn’t a full scale war.”

    Yeah, that’s what real presidents do.

    But, you’re talking about Obama in this case.

    Dave Surls (b851ad)

  6. Ha! Obama has pissed off his fellow Dems, eh?

    Hopefully, we’ll get the best of all possible solutions.

    Obama wipes out K-daffy and destroys Libya’s state sponsor of terroism regime.

    Obama and Biden are then both impeached and removed from office (in Biden’s case, just because he’s a dumb liberal mutt, just his very existence ought to be an impeachable offense) for not getting a vote from Congress before doing it. The Republicans take over the White House the easy way.

    It’ll never happen in a million years (the second part I mean)…but I can dream, can’t I?

    Dave Surls (b851ad)

  7. __________________________________

    Reagan was on that night

    Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican — eg, Truman or Reagan — I sure do miss having decent, sensible, or at least somewhat honorable, people in the Oval Office. Even Jimmy Carter, while a flop both ideologically and charismatically, didn’t have a closet full of skeletons the way that Clinton (Mr & Mrs, for that matter, referring to our current Secretary of State, who as First Lady was famous for her heroic dodging of sniper fire on airport tarmacs) and Obama do.

    Mark (411533)

  8. Even Jimmy Carter, while a flop both ideologically and charismatically, didn’t have a closet full of skeletons

    BCCI anyone? Not to mention the antisemitism.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  9. Congress wouldnt have approved what is going on now

    EricPWJohnson (dda0dd)

  10. A “time-limited, scope-limited military action” is still an act of war. As such our POTUS displayed his arrogance, his lack of respect for law, his lack of respect for Congress, and his unsuitability to hold the office of President of the United States of America.

    Personally he should be impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate and removed from office. Biden is looking more and more promising as a marginally saner and vastly more pro-American substitute for the criminal in the office at the moment.

    {^_^}

    JD (bcdcf2)

  11. Obama is hitting Libya with UN approval and without Congressional approval precisely for the purpose of establishing a precedent. If Congress lets him get away with it, Congress will have ceded critically important authority to the UN.

    Failure of Congress to act strongly against this will sharply weaken ‘imperialist’ America while empowering the socialist/islamic dominated UN. There is no way Obama is not doing this on purpose.

    He has put those defending the Constitution in the position of defending Khadaffi, a truly despicable animal. The politics of it are delicious.

    Roland (ab3879)

  12. You buried the lede, Aaron. You said:

    “Seriously, who is advising this guy? And is he listening to their advice?”

    It is amateur hour from top to bottom. There is just no experience in this whole outfit. This administration is looked upon as an opportunity to try out trite and previously untried ideas and we keep getting the same insane results.

    Rick Caird (0ceb78)

  13. Obama withers in comparison to the Great Communicator.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  14. These were the people who opposed every Reagan policy, Biden was objectively pro Sandinista,(in his opposition to the Contras, to whom we were providing logistical and supplies, but no ground troops, pro-nuclear freeze, against the Gulf War, which was the largest such coalition effort since the Korean War. Obama was even worse, he thought ‘the nuclear freeze, didn’t go far enough’ in articles in the Columbia Sundial,was referring to Reagan’s ‘dark doings’as his reason for community organizing. If there was a lesson in the last 30 years, they always learned the wrong one.

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  15. To counter a tyrant splenetic
    “The One” launched an action kinetic
    But since Team Obama
    Wants us to stay calma
    Their verbiage has become emetic.

    Papa Whiskey (730757)

  16. Frank also didn’t buy Carney’s argument on Thursday that Obama couldn’t ask Congress to go to war because doing so would have given Muammar Qadhafi time to slaughter Libyans in Benghazi. “They should have asked earlier,” Frank argued, also suggesting that publicizing a request for war could have even spooked Qadhafi.

    They had time to get public consent from the Arab League and the UN, they could have pursued an AUMF from Congress at the same time. Or can’t Obama’s administration walk and chew gum at the same time?

    I doubt if the Democrats can stomach trying to impeach one of their own, but censure should be possible. And it’s not unprecedented, President Polk was censured by the House for the Mexican-American War.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  17. U.S. officials avoid describing the operation as a war. White house press secretary Jay Carney said it was “a time-limited, scope-limited military action.“

    These are the same geniuses who describe sewer workers as “subterranean engineers” and garbage men as “sanitation removal specialists.”

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  18. Hillary: “We’ll call it a ‘kinetic military action.’ No one will mind.”

    Barak: “You mean spin it like, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ Sounds good to me.”

    Arizona Bob (911aa5)

  19. “I remember when Reagan dropped bombs on Gdaffy”

    Me too.

    I don’t seem to remember Congress taking a vote and authorizing military action, though.

    Guess that makes Reagan’s action an illegal war.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  20. Apparently the rules have changed! Apparently it is now possible to publicly criticize Obama without being publicly accused of being a flat out “racist”. This is a very good and healthy thing, in my opinion. Just wish our troops were not in harms way in the process.

    Have Maddow or Matthews for instance had anything to say about this sudden and obvious development? Do they think Barney Frank and George Miller are now merely expressing their heretofore closeted feelings about “having a black man in the White House”? That has been the mantra for any past criticism of Barry. I hope somebody calls them on it.

    elissa (30948a)

  21. Dave Surls:

    You may recall that Reagan bombed Libya following a terrorist attack by Libya again US persons. That at least skirts the “self-defense” clause of the War Powers Act.

    Newtons.Bit (922da8)

  22. It might be time for Obama to go back and bow again to the King of Saudi Arabia after he finishes his visit to the U.S. this week. Apparently they are getting sort of pissed off at the U.S. support for overthrowing Mideast regimes. Be a shame to lose their oil when we won’t drill for any new here. Might explain Obama’s reluctance to comment forcefully on Syria to date.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  23. narc

    that kucinich article was helpful. what a weenie, pretending he wasn’t calling for impeachment.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  24. Someone disagrees with your premise.

    No offense, but I’m going with Professor Yoo.

    steve (369bc6)

  25. Oh by the way this has been some awesome foreign policy success with this kenetic action thingy. The North Koreans are learning a ton of lessons here,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/world/asia/25korea.html

    Way to go Department of State!

    Charles B (84ebcd)

  26. Steve

    An appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, just like an ad hom. And in fact they ran a whole symposium on the subject with many differing views. there are plenty of authorities on both sides. i prefer quality of argument over “who said it.”

    but that being said, I would find it hilarious if the left decided that John Yoo was correct on the issue of the exercise of presidential power.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  27. Just like they adopted Scalia’s dissent on Olson, nothing would be surprise me A.W.

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  28. Why aren’t we stopping the thug that heads syria?

    Forgot he is a jew-hating lefturd.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  29. Barack Obama, making George Bush look better and better, one f*cked up decision or non-decision at a time.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  30. So, at this point are we willing to contemplate the possibility that things are actually even worse for America with Rahm, Gibbs, and Axelrod gone from the west wing? Who could’ve guessed that one?

    elissa (30948a)

  31. are we willing to contemplate the possibility that things are actually even worse for America with Rahm, Gibbs, and Axelrod gone from the west wing?

    That is a very interesting point. You have to wonder why they are all gone. I know I would have much more gray hair if I were working for someone as indecisive as Obama. It’s probably chaotic behind the scenes.

    I hear the leader of the Libyan rebels is affiliated with our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has fought against us. Why is our military helping him?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  32. “You may recall that Reagan bombed Libya following a terrorist attack by Libya again US persons. That at least skirts the “self-defense” clause of the War Powers Act.”

    Indeed I do recall that. This is also true of Mr. Obama’s air strikes against Libya.

    And, it will also be true of any other attack we make against the Libyan government, since the past can’t be changed, and the terror attacks carried out by Libya against American citizens took place in the past.

    Seems to me like President Reagan should have gone to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against Libya, same as President Obama should have done, but I’m willing to forgive both of them, since fighting a nation that has murdered totally innocent Americans is a lot more important than whether or not they’re following the proceedure laid out in the Constitution for opening up hostilities against Libya.

    It looks to me like President Reagan is the primary offender here (of the two presidents, that is, see below for who the real offender is), and that President Obama didn’t really initiate hostilities against anyone. He’s simply continuing the war initiated by President Reagan, and he’s doing so because Reagan didn’t finish the job (by destroying a government that dared to attack and kill innocent Americans, that had fired on our aircraft over international waters, that was supporting Pal terrorist groups that, like agents of the Libyan government, also murdered Americans, etc., etc.), thereby leaving us with unfinished business with the government of Libya.

    It also looks to me like our Congress has failed, time and time again, to do what it should have done every time Americans are attacked and/or murdered by foreign governments or terrorist groups, which is to immediately convene and declare war on the offending parties.

    Instead, what they’ve done, just about every single time America has been attacked, is to sit there with their collective dicks in their hands, staring off into space, and then wait for whoever is President to do something about it, so that they don’t have to.

    Who has the power to declare war? Congress. Then why the hell don’t they get off their fat asses and do so, instead of always waiting for the President to do something first. Do they have to be led around by the nose before they’ll do what they’re charged with doing?

    What happened after Al Qaida blew up our embassies in Africa a few years back? Did Congress immediately gather and declare war on Al Qaida and their backers in Afghanistan? No, what they did was fuck off, and dump the decision making process into the lap of President Clinton, who then ordered missile strikes against suspected Al Qaida targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan, without getting a vote from Congress first.

    So, who’s fault is it that President Clinton acted without a vote of Congress in this case? Is it President Clinton’s fault for taking action against a bunch of assholes who blew up two American embassies, killing dozens of innocent people, or is the fault of the worthless turds in Congress who can’t be bothered to assemble and declare war on people who attack us?

    The truth is, in regard to our current problem with Libya, is that Congress should have declared war on Libya 25 years ago, and we should have continued to make war on them until K-daffy’s government was destroyed.

    If anyone is to blame for irregularities in initiating hostilities against terrorists and state sponsors of terrorists, the blame lays squarely in the lap of Congress, not in the laps of President Reagan, President Clinton or President Obama.

    And, if our Congress won’t do what it’s supposed to do, which in this case is to declare war on people who attack this country, then I’m glad we have presidents who will step up and take action anyway.

    I’ll slam on President Obama when he has it coming, but not for going after K-daffy, because he’s doing the right thing (even if he is doing it for all the wrong reasons…which he is).

    Dave Surls (509777)

  33. “I don’t seem to remember Congress taking a vote and authorizing military action, though.

    Guess that makes Reagan’s action an illegal war.”

    – Dave Surls

    Thank you.

    Of all the instances you could’ve cited, Aaron, why in the world would you cite one where the President didn’t ask for a Congressional AUMF, when that’s what you’ve been objecting to so strenuously for the past few days re: Obama?

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  34. The truth is, in regard to our current problem with Libya, is that Congress should have declared war on Libya 25 years ago, and we should have continued to make war on them until K-daffy’s government was destroyed.

    I do agree with this. I may fudge the year a bit, but as soon as we knew that Libya was behind the attack, we should have declared war.

    And I think not doing so has resulted in more terrorism.

    Just as not taking out Saddam in 1991 was horribly expensive, we need to nip these bastards in the bud.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  35. So you guys think Reagan should have gotten authorization before launching a surprise attack against a terrorist leader of a terrorist regime?

    Seriously?

    Roland (ab3879)

  36. Well, if the case to case specifics don’t matter all that much, then yes.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  37. No.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  38. Of course, I think the case to case specifics do matter, very much. And I think Reagan was justified in bombing targets in Libya, and I don’t think that made it a “war”. In an era of increasingly unconventional warfare – bombings and assassinations by terrorist groups, namely – our own standards for what constitutes “war” need to be adjusted accordingly, so that we can have the appropriate flexibility in our responses. If they can break the rules outright, we need to be able to flex them to stay on level footing.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  39. They had time to get public consent from the Arab League and the UN, they could have pursued an AUMF from Congress at the same time.
    Comment by LarryD — 3/25/2011 @ 6:01 am

    I think the problem with this is that Obama did not want to look like he was contemplating this action prior to the approval from the Arb League and the UN. If Congress approves and the Arab League does not he looks bad when he does nothing despite Congressional approval.
    If the Arab League approves but Congress turns him down he looks weak to his allies there and in the UN.

    The important point is that he gets the approval of foriegn bodies that are not legally required while ignoring his Constitutional requirements.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  40. Why is there an “Authorization of Military Force”? Presumably there’s a semantic or functional difference between an Authorization of Military Force and a Declaration of War, or the AUMF wouldn’t exist? So, if this is all about a strict adherence to the Constitution as written, why isn’t everybody up in arms about the AUMF? Last time I checked there wasn’t anything in the Constitution about an “Authorization of Military Force”…

    The President takes an oath to defend the values enshrined in the Constitution as much as he takes an oath to abide by the document itself. If a President acts in defense of democratic values, and says as much, then (at this point in my life) I’m more or less cool with that. My assessment of Bush’s intervention in Iraq has softened considerably in the past few years – I was way more partisan when I was younger. If he hadn’t tried to chalk the invasion up to seemingly nonexistent WMDs; and if he’d made it his mission to systematically clean house on any regime that was oppressing and murdering its citizens as a matter of policy, then I would’ve had an even better assessment of the whole deal. Honestly, that’s my problem with Obama on this issue at this point: he’s going out of his way to protect the Libyans from their “government” without offering the same protection to the Sudanese, the Congolese, the Nigerians, etc.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  41. The important point is that he gets the approval of foriegn bodies that are not legally required while ignoring his Constitutional requirements.

    Precisely. That way he creates a precedent enhancing the power of the UN and diminishing the importance of getting approval from Congress (assuming Congress lets him get away with it, which it certainly looks like it will).

    Too many conservatives are badly underestimating Obama. He’s not stupid. He has completely different priorities than we generally assume a President has.

    What he is doing is brilliant, if you understand what he is really trying to do.

    Roland (ab3879)

  42. So, if this is all about a strict adherence to the Constitution as written, why isn’t everybody up in arms about the AUMF? Last time I checked there wasn’t anything in the Constitution about an “Authorization of Military Force”…

    Last time I checked, there wasn’t anything in the Constitution about the format or definition of “declaration of war”. Maybe you can point out the relevant passage? Or maybe you can find the section in the United States Code that defines what form a “declaration of war” must take?

    Or maybe you can realize that the Congress authorizing the President to use the military against a country or countries is, in fact, a declaration of war.

    Some chump (4c6c0c)

  43. and he’s doing so because Reagan didn’t finish the job

    The It’s Bush’s fault meme morphs into the It’s Reagan’s fault meme.

    Hoo-kay….

    Comment by Roland — 3/25/2011 @ 10:37 am

    You’re giving him credit for long term thinking which I believe he doesn’t do.

    He’s just going for the short term political gain, and operating off the premises he’s learned all his life, such as, The UN is a good thing and We need to get other countries [to go along with] what we want.

    His only long term goal is to be relected in 2012.

    [Ftfy –Aaron]

    kishnevi (4fe729)

  44. alonw it

    along with. Must make that appointment with the eye doctor…..

    kishnevi (4fe729)

  45. “Why is there an “Authorization of Military Force”?”

    Leviticus – As I have said on other threads, I believe we have adopted that form over substance document because it does not automatically trigger various treaties which have been written with provisions that activate in the event of a declaration of war. Your mileage may vary.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  46. Leviticus – There are also all sorts of commercial contracts which contain war provisions, no idea if this was part of the thinking either.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  47. ‘Why is there an “Authorization of Military Force”?’

    Mainly, for the same reason we have a Department of Defense these days instead of a War Dept., like we used to have.

    Liberal types didn’t like to face the reality of what they were always doing (namely fighting wars and killing folks), so they started reinventing words to make themselves feel more comfortable, and also so that they could fool our more credulous citizens into buying into the absurd fantasy that right wing Republican types, who rarely fight wars and never fight big ones (not since the Civil War, anyway), are Godawful warmongers, while left wing Democrat types, who have slaughtered millions with a whoop and a holler, are just warm and squishy peaceniks. Incredible as it may seem, some people actually believe that.

    Thus, wars become police actions or humanitarian interventions (unless a Republican is POTUS, then they’re back to being wars again), civilian deaths become collateral damage, etc., etc.

    I’m not sure what the latest word gamery is, but I think I heard someone say, that they’re calling this one a kinetic display of Democrat Party love for the oppressed masses of Libya…or something equally silly.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  48. “The It’s Bush’s fault meme morphs into the It’s Reagan’s fault meme.”

    Spare me that partisan b.s.

    Reagan was POTUS, it was his job to finish off K-daffy, and he didn’t do it. He left K-daffy in power, and that was a bad mistake. A mistake that directly led to the deaths of almost 200 Americans, when the Libyans blew up an airliner over Scotland.

    I like President Reagan, and I think he was a pretty good president (not as good as Bush II, though, at least not on foreign policy), but he screwed the pooch big time when it came to dealing with terrorists.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  49. I like President Reagan, and I think he was a pretty good president (not as good as Bush II, though, at least not on foreign policy), but he screwed the pooch big time when it came to dealing with terrorists.

    It’s easier to forgive him when you realize he was playing a big picture cold war game. He was beating the Soviets. He knew that some of his choices were leaving problems for a future America to tackle, once the Soviets were beaten.

    I think that isn’t Reagan’s failure. We failed to take advantage. George HW Bush’s begging Russia to sign on to the UN action against Saddam in 1990-1991 was a great example. We should have simply fought the war without the UN, but with a different coalition, noting that the UN is broken. We should have removed Saddam from power instead of leaving him there to appease Russia and France’s corrupt leadership (that made a fortune off Oil for Food).

    And we should have had Russia removed from the Security Council.

    I don’t think Reagan expected to have to solve every problem, when he was solving so many. I admit, he didn’t lead perfectly on Lebanon or Libya, but he did a great job.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  50. Presumably there’s a semantic or functional difference between an Authorization of Military Force and a Declaration of War, or the AUMF wouldn’t exist?

    There may be a semantic difference, but there is no legal difference.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  51. C’mon, fellas.

    I liked Ron Reagan, but he did a Godawful job dealing with Muslim terrorists.

    Our guys were getting bumped off right, left and center by the Islamo-loons, and he basically blew it off (ably assisted by our do-nothing Congresses).

    Playing tilt-a-whirl power-politics with the Russians while essentially ignoring hundreds of Americans being killed by REAL enemies don’t cut the mustard.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  52. Dave, the Soviet Union were our real enemies. I can’t believe you’re claiming they weren’t. That is absolutely insane.

    No, Reagan did not blow it off. The Cold War required a lot of hard calls. He didn’t have clairvoyance. You forget that the Afghanistan invasion by the Soviets was a major reason we won the Cold War.

    What we needed was follow through. It’s BS to blame Reagan for not fixing everything. He left America so much better than he inherited it, and his successors dropped the ball because Bush 41 was a diplomat and Clinton thought foreign policy didn’t matter anymore.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  53. Wait, wait, don’t tell me….
    The Soviet Union was not a Real Enemy? They weren’t holding Eastern Europe, as well as most of their own peoples, under a totalitarian thrall? It did not have a Really Big Army and Really Big Navy and Really Big Supply of Nuclear Weapons which considered its most likely antagonists to be China and the USA?

    (I might point out that the jihadis still don’t have anything that can be called a Really Big Army or Really Big Navy, and at least not yet, a Really Big Supply of Nuclear Weapons.

    Call it prioritization, call it triage: Reagan made a judgment about where the danger lay, and so far he seems to have judged correctly.

    In fact, I would still say that the Russians and Chinese still present a greater danger to the long term interests of the US than the jihadis do.

    kishnevi (4fe729)

  54. “The Soviet Union was not a Real Enemy? They weren’t holding Eastern Europe, as well as most of their own peoples, under a totalitarian thrall?”

    What’s that supposed to be, an act of war against the United States?

    Hundreds of Americans are blown up in Lebanon, and we’re going to blow that off, so we can spend our time worrying about how the mean old Russians are camped out in Estonia?

    Pardon me, but hundreds of dead Americans are a little bit higher on my priority list than the fate of a bunch of non-Americans in Europe, and they should have been a little bit higher on President Reagan’s list too.

    Reagan dropped the ball, and that’s all there is to it.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  55. AW: I wasn’t making the appeal to authority logical fallacy, but rather (1) pointing out that there are well-respected voices in opposition of your position, and (2) saying that I find Professor Yoo’s arguments more persuasive.

    steve (254463)

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