Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2011

The Obama Administration in Contempt of Congress on Libya and the Underpants Gnome Theory of War

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:28 am

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

I know Ben Quayle suggested Politico was the worst media outlet in history, but truthfully they break a lot of interesting stories, which puts me in a bind because I want to respect Patrick’s boycott of the site, but I often want to talk about their stories.  So they had an excellent article about the briefing that Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates gave, and thus the workaround today is provided by Hot Air:

[Congressional sources] said one dynamic was very clear: The administration doesn’t much care what Congress thinks about the actions it’s taken so far.

Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress, attendees told POLITICO…

“If they didn’t need congressional authorization here in these circumstances, can you tell me under what circumstances you’d ever need congressional authorization if we’re going into a war? Nobody answered [that] question,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). “The administration and its lawyers believed they had the authority under the War Powers Act.

(emphasis added)  If that claim is accurate, that means that the White House’s conduct is unreal.  I am honestly not sure if they are absolutely incompetent in the law, or utterly contemptuous of it.

Let me pull that apart.  First, their lawyers supposedly said that this was legal, under the War Powers Act. Seriously have they read the thing?  Let me quote it to you:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to

(1) a declaration of war,

(2) specific statutory authorization, or

(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

If you are going to argue that the President can do this under his inherent powers under the Constitution, that is fine.  I will disagree with you, but you are within the realm of reasoned debate.  But you can’t pretend that the War Powers Act covers this—you can argue that this power is inherent in the office of Commander-in-Chief, but you can’t honestly and competently claim that the War Powers Act covers this.  This isn’t a foreign language.  Hell, this isn’t even lawyer-code-talk.  We were not in an emergency created by an attack on the United States, its territories or its armed forces when Obama started bombing Libya.  It is, simply put, a lie to say it lawful under this act.

And what the President argued the other day was that this was born out of extreme necessity:

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

Never mind that he also didn’t get Congress’ consent as things crept in that direction.  I mean can’t he walk and chew gum at the same time?  It took days to secure the UN resolution he thought was worth waiting for, but he couldn’t have also taken the same time to get a Congressional approval, too, as he waited for UN approval?  But okay, let’s just say that Obama is a really poor planner.  So then shouldn’t he get approval now?

Well, no, the story says.  To quote them again, because I can’t get over it, it is so unreal:

Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress[.]

What the hell?!

Indeed, the contempt of Congress—meaning the sentiment, not the crime—is laced throughout the Politico piece.  Normally I would just recommend reading the whole thing, but, well, we are trying to boycott them so let me pick out a few choice quotes.  For one the vaunted briefing sucked:

Lawmakers said they weren’t told much by Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that they couldn’t read in the newspaper or see on television.

And you know that story about secretly sending in covert forces on a mission that is not so secret anymore?  Well…

And, as if to add insult to injury, news broke during the House briefing that Obama had already signed an order authorizing covert action in support of the rebels. When asked about it after the first briefing, House members were unaware the president had taken that action….

Clinton, approached by reporters in a Capitol hallway, refused to say why the order was not discussed in the briefing[.]

Nice, so Jake Tapper knew before Congress.

And indeed, this “pound sand” attitude toward Congress is not even consistent with the President’s asserted authority under the War Powers Act, because even if the initial start of hostilities was legal, the President can’t keep the war going for more than 62 days.  Again, from the statute:

Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress

(1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces,

(2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or

(3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.

That report referenced above is required to be submitted within the first 48 hours, so he can extend himself at most for 92 days, max.  But that 30 day extension only applies to attacks on “the United States.” Since the provision involving the initiation of hostilities differentiates between attacks on “the United States,” and attacks on “its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” that means literally nothing less than an attack on one of the 57 50 states allows for that 30 day extension. So does the President believe that this war will be done in 60 days?

Ah, well, here’s one reason to think it will be over soon (H/t Geraghty):

During “In the Arena,” Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for The New Yorker reporting from Benghazi, Libya, tells Eliot Spitzer that the number of opposition fighters on the front lines are fewer than anyone would think and that they are poorly armed and badly trained. Anderson says, “Effective number of fighting men, well under 1,000. Actual soldiers, who are now in the fight, possibly in the very low hundreds on the opposition side.”

Now during the Revolution our military force was pretty pitiful, too, but usually the underdog loses.  That is why we call them the underdog, and why it is an inspiring movie cliché when they win.  Because they usually don’t win.  So we might end up blowing another hole in our deficit, with little to show for it.  Nice.

I have supported the idea of intervening from the beginning.  I think McCain was right to ask for intervention when he asked for it.  But if in our dithering the rebels have dwindled down to a force that cannot win, then we have to fish or cut bait.  We either do a full scale invasion—which I oppose—or we shouldn’t even bother.

But just having a no-fly zone (which apparently does include blowing up some tanks—huh?), is just half-assed.  It’s like the great Mr. Miyagi said:

Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” [makes squish gesture] just like grape. Understand?

Or to put it in a more Southern way, sometimes the worst place to be is in the middle of the road.

But I had been trying to put words to my concern about how this war has been run for days, and I think I finally found the best metaphor.  It’s the Underpants Gnomes theory of warfare.  Of course I explain the Underpants Gnome metaphor here, but this is Obama’s theory of how to win the war:

Step 1: Enforce a No-Fly Zone

Step 2: ?

Step 3: Regime Change!

So his second step is a question mark, because he is just hoping the Rebels do something to take down Qdaffy, but he has no idea what it would be, or apparently even if they are capable of doing it, with our help.  I support regime change and so on, but I am against half-assing it.

Anyway, Congress has to put its foot down.  At the very least he has to be censured.  That should be step one.  And if Obama continues to show this contempt of the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution, it would be impeachment time.  And some would say it was overdue.

—————–

Previously I wrote on the legality of the war (herehereherehere and here).

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

72 Responses to “The Obama Administration in Contempt of Congress on Libya and the Underpants Gnome Theory of War”

  1. From the Karate Kid video:

    Daniel – Hey were did all these cars come from?
    Miyagi – Detroit.

    Even then it was a back handed joke.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  2. Remember that Biden stated in public that if George Bush retaliated against Iran after a hypothetical attack on American troops by Iran,without first obtaining Congressional authorization, then he (Biden) would see to it that Bush was impeached.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  3. The messiest part of any “underpant’s theory” will always be-

    #2.

    madawaskan (4a33bd)

  4. Also remember that the entire foreign policy justification for Obama’s election was that Obama was just so much smarter than that idiot George Bush that the world just couldn’t help but be impressed.

    I’m not impressed.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. have

    i watched Karate Kid again about a year ago, worried that it wouldn’t hold up. but it really did. in fact it was smarter than i realized when i was a kid. here’s the secret of the movie. Mr. Miyagi is becoming Daniel’s father, emotionally if not legally. You learn in one scene toward the middle that Miyagi lost his wife and unborn son while his wife was interned in WWII, and he was busy fighting for the country that imprisoned his wife. and Daniel’s father is just out of the picture, for some reason never explained.

    And really Miyagi is teaching Daniel tons of guy stuff. Daniel wants to learn to fight or at least stop getting beaten up and miyagi is primarily there for that. And let’s not forget where Miyagi learned Karate–from his own father. So this was a father/son thing in the Miyagi family. But he is also there to teach daniel how to deal with girls and then he does the most fatherly thing of all: he gives Daniel his first car. not to mention all the sanding, waxing and painting. Stripped down from all that asian cultural stuff, he is being Daniel’s adoptive father.

    And of course the 80’s cultural stuff makes you cringe. But here’s the thing. it kind of works, anyway, because it contrasts badly with the more ancient and deep culture that miyagi is teaching him.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. Have Blue

    > Remember that Biden stated in public that if George Bush retaliated against Iran after a hypothetical attack on American troops by Iran,without first obtaining Congressional authorization, then he (Biden) would see to it that Bush was impeached.

    Yes, I do.

    As I said in another post, this is a willful violation of the law on Obama’s part.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. With respect to your comment about the text of the War Powers Act in the second paragraph of this post, I commented a week or so ago that I think your reading of the law is incorrect. The provision you cite is Congress’s interpretation of the Constitution; it is not an operative part of the law.

    The cited provision (subsection (c)) begins: “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities […] are exercised only pursuant to …” As you may note, this is a discussion of the “constitutional powers of the President”. That’s fine, and Congress’s interpretation of the Constitution should be respected, but such interpretation is not the last word in Constitutional law – the other coequal branches will have their own interpretations of the Constitution which are likewise to be respected.

    If Congress wanted to write operational statutory law, it would not have had a discussion of the constituional powers of the President. Instead, Congress would have written something to the effect “The President may not introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities unless pursuant to a declaration of war, statutory authorization, or if our country, territories or armed forces are attacked.” This is how the remainder of the War Powers Act and other statutes are drafted.

    Properly interpreted, the section that you cite is like a WHEREAS clause – a declaration of Congress, but not operative statutory law.

    I don’t support Obama, but this interpretation of the War Powers Act is not correct.

    (I do beliee your interpretation of the time limit provision is correct, although, IMO, the entire War Powers Act is unconstitutional.)

    A.S. (23bc66)

  8. The administration does not address constitutional issues because the constitution is deemed to be relevant in and of itself. No, the constitution is addressed merely as a public relations issue. The answers provided are not necessarily meant to be legal. All they have to do is sound reasonable to the public.

    It’s a losing battle for those who care about the written law, because the public is just not interested in or prepared for a serious constitutional discussion. The decisive battle was lost long ago in the public schools.

    Having a correct argument is useless if most people either don’t have a clue or don’t care. Or, as I suspect is true with the media and the liberals, would really prefer a different system altogether.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  9. Point taken, but this strategy is just a recipe for disaster, which may be the objective:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/31/rasmussen-21-think-the-us-mission-in-libya-is-clearly-defined/

    narciso (b545d5)

  10. it contrasts badly with the more ancient and deep culture that miyagi is teaching him.

    Great point!

    If Congress wanted to write operational statutory law, it would not have had a discussion of the constituional powers of the President. Instead, Congress would have written something to the effect “The President may not introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities unless pursuant to a declaration of war, statutory authorization, or if our country, territories or armed forces are attacked.” This is how the remainder of the War Powers Act and other statutes are drafted.

    AS, I don’t understand what you’re saying.

    Congress’s intent was to grant the president their permission to wage war in emergencies, such as when we have been attacked or are about to be. Your suggestions seem to go in the opposite direction.

    Furthermore, why would congress have to pass a statute barring the president from going to war without congressional approval, if they think that’s already what the constitution says? Under your logic, congress doesn’t think I have freedom of speech unless they pass a statute saying so.

    You haven’t actually provided any justification for your interpretation.

    Here’s how the war powers act works: congress grants the president permission to do something under certain circumstances. There is really no logical explanation for why they would do this unless they thought they had the power to grant this permission, and the president didn’t have this power.

    Besides, it’s beside the point. This is a constitutional issue rather than a statutory one. You haven’t found any statutory language that justifies this conflict. Obama and Biden have loudly backed this interpretation in the past, as did George W Bush. The only entities that ever seem to disagree are presidents who want to go to war without congress’s permission, actually.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  11. A.S.

    Feel free to say the statute is unconstitutional, or merely advisory. But don’t pretend he is adhering to it.

    And if you take away the war powers act, his case for power becomes weaker, not stronger.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. Back when liberals were talking about impeaching President George W. Bush, I had a pithy little counter-argument. It went something like, “I got two words for you to explain why you don’t really want to do that. President. Cheney.” I never got to use it in a face-to-face conversation, so I never got to see the look of horror that I imagined would result.

    Well, you know what? By this point, the words “President Biden” no longer scare me. That’s saying a lot.

    Robin Munn (5a1b2a)

  13. 10.The administration does not address constitutional issues because the constitution is deemed to be relevant in and of itself. No, the constitution is addressed merely as a public relations issue. The answers provided are not necessarily meant to be legal. All they have to do is sound reasonable to the public…. Comment by Amphipolis

    Is that how you meant it, or did you mean to say,“…because the constitution is not deemed to be relevant in and of itself….

    I appreciate the work that goes into documenting things like this, but none of it makes any difference other than to be a sad and perhaps frightening commentary on the state of affairs.

    In Barach Obama the people elected to the presidency someone who thought the US Constitution was seriously flawed, who viewed foreign opinion more important than that of the US public, and who was a friend and professional associate of domestic terrorists still committed to changing the United States into something resembling a Marxist state. A rational response would have been to let him no where near the presidency, the next rational response would be to impeach him and throw him out. #1 didn’t happen and I doubt #2 will. Hopefully, in spite of the politically illiterate conditions of our country as described by Amphipolis there will be enough sense and enough control of dishonesty and voter fraud in 2012 to turn him out.

    MD in Philly (f0e1bd)

  14. Sadly, Robin, “President Biden” scares me even more today than it would have in 2008. The man really is the dumbest VP we’ve ever had.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. Congress censured President Polk in 1848, for provoking the Mexican-American War, and this was when we were winning it. The Senate censured President Jackson in 1834, the next Senate expunged it. President Tyler was censured by a select Senate committee in 1842.

    Unlike impeachment, censure has no Constitutional status, and no legal consequence, it is “merely” an expression of displeasure, a formal rebuke. But to a narcissist like Obama, it would burn like fire.

    I doubt if the Democrats will ever have the stomach for impeaching one of their own, but they might get on board for a censure resolution.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  16. This is that superior temperment and judgment that he claimed to possess?!

    JÐ (b98cae)

  17. Larry

    > but they might get on board for a censure resolution.

    well, and bluntly that is a major consideration i have in pushing for it.

    Also censure has no official status, yes, but it is a way of saying to the president: do this again, and we will impeach you.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  18. JD

    of course it is. superior to congress, to the courts, to the constitution.

    didn’t someone say he was like God?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  19. @Narciso’s post about extreme schadenfreude–

    At the rate Obama’s onetime cheerleaders and apologists are letting go and falling along the wayside I’m starting to think he’s going to have very serious “narrative” issues for the 2012 election. Similar to Sullivan’s complaints, quite a few of the left leaning op-eds in the past week have focused on the administration’s lack of transparency, Barry’s utter contempt of congress, and the outright reversal of his 2008 campaign’s anti-war stances and promises. Regardless of how one feels about Libya, the fact that Obama is no longer being widely viewed with hope as the Messianic change agent– and instead is seen now by some with clearing eyes as just another power hungry, lying, smarmy politician– has to make his handlers and bundlers very nervous.

    Are they perhaps remembering and losing sleep over this childhood rhyme?

    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

    couldn’t put Humpty together again.

    elissa (a4964b)

  20. I think it’s a soft call whether he’s in contempt of congress. There is some precedent for a president acting without getting a war declaration, for instance.

    What is not such a soft call was his justification of the action as a humanitarian mission. This does not mesh with his bombing of cities already held by Khadafy. It might be argued NATO is calling the shots & not the US, therefore he is mistaken but not a liar. I think that argument is unconvincing, since america was running things then & even the NATO command structure is dominated by US officers. In any case, articles of impeachment against Nixon included a single count of lying to the american people, and determination of facts is, in part, what trials are for. It’s time to introduce articles of impeachment. Waiting for the level of corruption involved here to become Nixonian would be a mistake. Nip this one in the bud!

    JMHO,

    Another Aaron

    Aaron Cohn (e3528b)

  21. Um yea you peons are too blind to see

    /Chuckles johnsoless.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  22. Aaron,

    I am not saying the Obama is adhering to the War Powers Act or not adhering to it. What I am saying is that Section 2(c) of the Act is not an operational section of the law. It is Congress’s statement of Constitutional interpretation, but does not by statute require the President to do anything or prevent the President from doing anything. Accordingly, there is no issue of Presidential compliance with Section 2(c) (there is, of course, an issue of Constitutionality of Presidential actions, but Section 2(c) isn’t intended to alter the President’s Constitutional prerogatives. (See Section 8(d)(1)(“Nothing in this chapter – is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President…”).

    You should read the legislative history of the War Powers Act for more information on the topic, as well as the various CRS reports, such as this one:
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33532.pdf

    (Notice that the CRS report on “Presidential Compliance” with the Act doesn’t discuss compliance with Section 2(c); that’s because Section 2(c) is a statement of Constitutional interpretation and not an operational section that may be complied with (unlike the time limits and reporting sections, which are operational, and about which compliance is a relevant question).

    A.S. (23bc66)

  23. I have supported the idea of intervening from the beginning.

    Must be tough having to support the intervention but not Obama. Kind of like what Rand Paul said recently about Fox News:

    “There’s a big debate over there… Fox News can’t decide, what do they love more, bombing the Middle East or bashing the president? It’s like I was over there and there was an anchor going, they were pleading, can’t we do both? Can’t we bomb the Middle East and bash the president at the same time? How are we going to make this work?”

    You’re giving it the yeoman’s effort.

    Kman (5576bf)

  24. At the rate Obama’s onetime cheerleaders and apologists are letting go and falling along the wayside

    Give it six months and they will all be back on board, regardless of the outcome in Libya because they know it is their job to get him reelected. Our media darlings and others in the liberal spin world will work overtime to see that outcome. Ted Koppel has recently said that no president in his lifetime has had to face as many challenges as Our Messiah. This is the second time this meme has been proffered lately by a D media sock puppet. Expect more of it. Don’t let the false feedback fool you.

    BT (74cbec)

  25. Kman

    nothing difficult about it. Its like if an angry father kills a man who molested his child. Its not even difficult to say, “he shouldn’t have killed him, but I ain’t exactly broken up about it, either.”

    I know YOU think the ends justify the means, but I don’t. Which is why you think this is a difficult position to take and i don’t.

    And don’t say you DON’T believe the ends justify the means. When i argued that Lawrence v. Texas was not a correct reading of the constitution, you accused me of wanting gay people to go to jail. you make no differentiation between desired outcomes and appropriate methods.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  26. P.F.I. (pure fookin insanity)

    Madness

    Evil

    TREASON

    Bottom line it for us elmo:

    A) There is no f*cking way he will be reelected. Period. END of story [no need to be arguing about the candidates (let alone the Constitutionality of his actions [he ain’t even President (no, he ain’t)])].

    B) Tis wishful thinking, to hope he will be removed from office, before November 6, 2012 (find a hook to hang my hat on, and I will). But, things WILL go from bad … to worse (and the worst is yet to come).

    C) When the lid comes all the way off, the can of global Islamic revolution. I won’t be tellingya … I toldya so [and I won’t tell ya why (let’s just say I’m leaving my options open)].

    We’re f*cked (get strapped/stay sharp/watch your six).

    Elmo (4e2f35)

  27. Kmart not only eats boogers, but flicks them at AW. Plus, BUNNIES!

    JÐ (2da347)

  28. “Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people.”

    Too bad, so sad.

    That’s not our problem.

    One-worlder, liberal idiots, like Obambi, are the reason why hundreds of thousands of Americans died last century fighting in a bunch of wars in Europe and Asia that were none of our business. It’s not our job to fight wars on behalf of France or Libya or anyone else. If we fight a war, it ought to be on behalf of the people of America, not on behalf of a bunch of losers in Libya.

    This is the United States of America, not the United States of Libya.

    But, we still have good reason to crush K-daffy. Just not the reason Mr. “My church says Goddamn America!” is giving.

    We ought to smash Libya into red ruin, and THEN we ought to impeach this jackass.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  29. Dave

    > One-worlder, liberal idiots, like Obambi, are the reason why hundreds of thousands of Americans died last century fighting in a bunch of wars in Europe and Asia

    Please tell me you at least thought WWII was necessary…?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  30. “Please tell me you at least thought WWII was necessary…?”

    Yeah, it was after our moronic leadership provoked the Japanese into attacking us.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  31. Yeah, it was after our moronic leadership provoked the Japanese into attacking us.

    Okay, I’ll bite.

    Our “moronic” leadership provoked the Japanese how exactly? By putting our Pacific fleet in one place, creating an irresistible target?

    Kman (5576bf)

  32. Dave

    The Japanese had been fighting for half a century, until they focused on us in 1941 which proves they ar not the genius’ that everyone thinks

    EricPWJohnson (e8f48c)

  33. He means that the US, which at the time supplied 80% of Japan’s oil, perpetrated a complete oil embargo upon Japan in the middle of their war with China. This led to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The US’s oil embargo was caused Japan’s seizure of French Indochina; a direct attack on a US ally.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  34. You need sixty percent of the white vote when one demographic votes monolithically.

    Plus you need to quit pissing off the second largest demographic group.

    IOW it ain’t as unlikely as you think.

    Then when you consider that over fifty percent of the white vote is female…

    Democrats have been playing demographics for decades now and still some people haven’t woken up.

    madawaskan (c8be30)

  35. ‘Our “moronic” leadership…’

    You don’t have to put “moronic” in quotes. Roosevelt was the biggest dipshit in U.S. history. Obambi & co. look like Einstein/Bohr compared to Roosevelt in his crew.

    Of course, that’s largely situation dependent. Take the Great Black Dope back to 1940, and I’m sure he’d be just as much of an idiot as Rosevelt was.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  36. Isn’t the operative section 1542, not 1541?

    “The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.”

    And doesn’t Congress approve treaties? So wouldn’t action under a treaty already be statutorily approved?

    Jim (87e69d)

  37. “The US’s oil embargo was caused Japan’s seizure of French Indochina; a direct attack on a US ally.”

    You were doing pretty good up to that point.

    We weren’t allied with France.

    And we shouldn’t have been. Nor should we be now. We only are now because the United States has been run by leftoid nitwits who insist on meddling in things that are none of our business for generations.

    That’s why we’re in a formal defensive alliance with a nation of frog-eaters, who stab us in the back every chance they get, and also why the graveyards are full of Americans who are dead because we can’t resist getting involved in the affairs of the Chinese, or the French or the Israelis or whoever.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  38. Threadwinner: Comment by Robin Munn — 3/31/2011 @ 10:32 am

    Christoph (8ec277)

  39. It appears an unstable leader is causing enormous problems in the Middle East again. And Gaddafi may be causing problems too!

    WarEagle (08c61f)

  40. Dave

    I will say what i said before. Aggression in defense of aggression is aggression. There is no blaming us for what japan did.

    And let’s say for the sake of argument that we should have been able to avoid war with japan. okay, then that is a good thing? We needed to stop hitler. you think he would have stopped at conquering europe? we could have fought him over there or over here.

    And don’t say we could have waited until he was knocking on our door. that same attitude led to WWII being as bad as it was. if we strictly enforced the armistice, the war with germany would have lasted a month at most, if it occurred at all.

    Not to mention the small, unimportant matter of the holocaust.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  41. France was in the Vichy government at the time and said Vichy government rubber-stamped Japan’s takeover as they were controlled, obviously, by Germany.

    The UK and the US jointly issued the Atlantic Charter which made us de-facto direct allies of France as a point of stated policy goals.

    I ain’t saying whether it was smart or not.

    It just meant that FDR had to respond to Japan’s takeover.

    He could have been milquetoast and just froze Japanese bank assets like everyone else.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  42. Aaron, I think your interpretation is wrong.

    Here’s what Section 1541(c) says:

    (c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
    The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
    (1) a declaration of war,
    (2) specific statutory authorization, or
    (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    Here’s what Section 1543 says:

    § 1543. Reporting requirement
    How Current is This? (a) Written report; time of submission; circumstances necessitating submission; information reported
    In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—
    (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
    (2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or
    (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation;
    the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—
    (A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
    (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
    (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.
    (b) Other information reported
    The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.
    (c) Periodic reports; semiannual requirement
    Whenever United States Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities or into any situation described in subsection (a) of this section, the President shall, so long as such armed forces continue to be engaged in such hostilities or situation, report to the Congress periodically on the status of such hostilities or situation as well as on the scope and duration of such hostilities or situation, but in no event shall he report to the Congress less often than once every six months.

    How can (a)(2) or (3) ever come about if there’s no hostilities or imminent hositilities and no declaration of war–other than defense under treaties and other statutes approved by Congress?

    And wouldn’t an attack on an American citizen, like in Lockerbie, be an attack on America creating a national emergency?

    Jim (87e69d)

  43. The press in the tank for Obama may be griping now because he is not giving them the respect they think they deserve, but I’ll believe it when I see it for them to actually want to report the truth more than preventing a Republican getting elected.

    Nixon was under fire for covering up something of no consequence, not that I’m defending him. And though a Republican he certainly was not a conservative (price controls, pushing for socialized medicine, etc.) Other than he represents being ripe for impeachment I don’t think he sets the standard for presidential misconduct. I think the case could be made for Kennedy’s dependence on various drugs and having the Secret Service cover for his extra-curricular affairs were pretty bad in themselves (nice when your brother is the AG, isn’t it), FDR’s trying to take over the SCOTUS in some ways was a pretty nasty power-grab attempt. (His hypocrisy concerning income tax doesn’t win him many friends either, for those who bother to care).

    Military intervention. In principle it should be expected that at times, just as an aggressive individual needs to be forcibly stopped, an aggressor nation will need to be stopped. But in practice things get murky. I’ve heard some claims before that the US essentially “forced Japan’s hand” to start WW II because of economic policies, but I’m not so sure Japan was provoked as much as they would have sought Imperial expansion anyway.

    MD in Philly (f0e1bd)

  44. “And let’s say for the sake of argument that we should have been able to avoid war with japan. okay, then that is a good thing?”

    It would have been, if you ask me. I’m not any more interested in fighting a war to protect Chiang Kai Chek’s brutal dictatorship in China, or the French Colonial empire in Indo-China than I am in fighting to protect the Libyan people.

    I think we could have stayed out of WWII (and every other war we’ve fought for the last hundred plus years), and I think we should have.

    You can think whatever you please. Since we don’t have a time machine, we can’t go back and replay the whole thing, so we’ll never know for sure.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  45. MD in Philly, even if one has a different opinion on the merits of the Pacific War etc., the fact remains that Democrats today celebrate FDR as a great President even as they advocate standards for foreign policy that would call for impeachment for FDR’s conduct of same.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  46. You want to fight a war because K-daffy killed a bunch of Americans, I’m down for that.

    You want to fight a war because you feel sorry for the Libyans, then fuck off.

    That’s my basic policy.

    Since, K-daffy and his henchmen already DID kill a bunch of Americans, I’m on board for Obambi’s war, but’s that’s the ONLY reason I’m on board.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to the Libyans. If the rebels and K-daffy’s boys want to slaughter each other…good for them. I hope they both succeed.

    And, Obambi can take his touchy feely: we have to help the Libyan people crap and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Libya and the Libyan people are nothing to us, except enemies. I want to help them about as much as I’d want to help the Japanese people after their country whacked us in December 1941.

    Dave Surls (79a333)

  47. Dave

    i will just say that you have a strange and skewed view of the world where you think being self-centered is a virtue.

    we can and should have intervened to stop hitler’s rampage. it was a good in and of itself, even if he didn’t threaten america (and he did).

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  48. Obama waited too long and now a genocide will result. That is the story.

    A Conservative Teacher (b5229b)

  49. Actually. Obama and his peeps made a bet based on initial, apparent strength of an Arabic irregular militia.

    Irregular militias are always prone to fold and scatter when they hit serious resistance; Arabic militias doubly so for cultural reasons.

    Betting on them to undertake a disciplined campaign is one of the classic blunders, although I’ll admit it’s a ways down on the list. It’s a little below allying with an Italian army.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  50. So when will the left realize their sworn nemesis reagan first bombed Qaddafi their current nemesis.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  51. “I will just say that you have a strange and skewed view of the world where you think being self-centered is a virtue.”

    If virtue means millions of American boys drafted into the army and sent to fight in shitholes like Vietnam or France; if virtue means hundreds of thousands of our kids dying in those shitholes, because they’ll be sent to prison if they refuse to go into the army; if virtue means Dresden; if virtue means Nagasakai; if virtue means Hiroshima; if virtue means My Lai; if virtue means 11 year old girls flown into the side of the Pentagon as a result of our buttinsky foreign policies, well then you’re more than welcome to my share of virtue.

    I’d rather mind my own business, and stay out of it altogether, then pay the price that accompanies your “virtue”.

    Once the Japanese attack us, once K-daffy attacks us, then we’re stuck. We have to fight or else turn our backs on our own dead like craven cowards (which is mostly what we did do for the last 30 years or so, until George Bush II came along, and started getting serious about whacking out terrorists).

    But, if we had any brains, we wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place.

    Dave Surls (25a6ae)

  52. Belmont Club describes an Obama admin in WWII:

    “Obama plans surprise attack on Normandy Beach. Officials say deception plan will fool Nazis into defending Calais”

    “White House sources say the President has signed a secret finding declaring regime change in the Empire of Japan necessary to protect Malayan civilians.”

    “OSS agents discuss French cuisine, postwar cookbook authoring plans.”

    “Pentagon officials refused to confirm or deny that the super-secret B-29 bomber is carrying an Atomic Bomb. They say that while it remains a national objective to defeat the Empire of Japan, their primary objective remains the protection of Malayan civilians.”

    “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. America and all the s**t at sea.”

    “Courrage”

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. Dave

    > if virtue means 11 year old girls flown into the side of the Pentagon as a result of our buttinsky foreign policies,

    Perfect example. Like as if the Islamofascists would leave us alone if we just stayed here. Don’t you get it? They hate everyone who is not muslim, or isn’t the right kind of muslim. And you can deal with the problem when most of the problem is over there. Or you can wait for it to get over here.

    You think if we feed the crockadile we will be last on the menu.

    The mistake in WWII wasn’t getting involved. It was not stomping Hitler five years earlier. Our war-weariness and isolation cost American lives and the lives of millions of jews, and even germans.

    You really have to be off your rocker to think that WWII was not a necessary war.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  54. #56

    Well, we’re in agreement on one point, concerning this particular issue, that is.

    One of us is nuts.

    It just doesn’t happen to be me.

    Dave Surls (ac8a14)

  55. No, Dave, it’s not reasonable to blame US Foreign policy for 9/11. Just about every country on the planet has done a few things that later are cause for outrage, but 9/11 was not America’s chickens coming home to roost.

    9/11 was great evil coming here in hatred. This evil is hellbent on world domination, and murder of anyone who isn’t Islamofascist. We cannot isolate ourselves to the point where Islamofascists will leave us alone.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  56. “No, Dave, it’s not reasonable to blame US Foreign policy for 9/11.”

    The heck you say.

    But, it’s all a done deal now. We can’t go back and undo anything, so we’ll just have to go forward, and handle it the best way we can.

    Dave Surls (ac8a14)

  57. Like Truman, I have great faith in Israel as a beacon of civilization. Given the aftermath of WWII, it’s hard to see how to move forward without giving the Jewish people their homeland back (which is an errant use of the word ‘giving’). So the Jew haters also hate us. Beyond that, what do we do in a world with nuclear weapons and Mullahs who want them? What do we do about our need for the lifeblood of the economy, oil, and the thirst of Russia and China?

    Dave, what’s your solution?

    Great men have tried to figure it out, and as a result, Islamofascists are among our enemies. On a pure causation basis, the reason we are in conflict with radical Islam is because we did what we had to do.

    If you want, you can try to put a finer point of blame on it, such as blaming Clinton for not having the forsight to kill Osama, or blaming Reagan and others for cold war policies of supporting the Soviet’s enemies, but these aren’t the real causes of 9/11 so much as the points at which we happened to realize a much larger and less avoidable conflict that would have happened anyway.

    So I blame radical Islam for 9/11, instead of America.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  58. “Dave, what’s your solution?”

    Kill terorists. Destroy state sponsors of terrorism (like the government of Libya).

    That’s the only path we can tread at this point.

    Dave Surls (ac8a14)

  59. Were not doing that, I don’t know what we’re doing anymore, in contrast to Iraq and Afghanistan, there
    really seems to be no principle involved, it’s not justice, if Musa Qusa gets a free pass, it’s not security, considering the nature of the fighters, involved,

    narciso (b545d5)

  60. btw, new post tomorrow on how Obama’s contempt for congress has somehow managed to get worse. tune in.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  61. “new post tomorrow on how Obama’s contempt for congress has somehow managed to get worse. tune in.”

    A.W. – Is that the part where our limited scope, limited duration, kinetic military action, where we lead by taking a back seat to NATO, succeeds by attacking both sides in a civil war?

    Suh-weet!

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  62. At this point, I’m pretty sure Obama could find a way to screw up sex.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  63. daley

    sh*t, forgot about that part.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  64. At this point, I’m pretty sure Obama could find a way to screw up sex.

    [In this case, we’re (in self link) using the term ‘sex’ a lil losely (as it were)]

    Ask … oond ye shall receive.

    Elmo (bb95f3)

  65. Kill terorists. Destroy state sponsors of terrorism (like the government of Libya).

    Well, I can co-sign that plan, but I think it’s unfair to blame Clinton and Bush for 9/11 merely because they failed to take on the terrorists sufficiently prior to 9/11. I’m trying to imagine if they could even have managed to do so within the constraints of our government.

    Regardless, I do agree that taking them on as early as possible is the best way to minimize the harm they will do. I see I misunderstood you to some extent, but you think you’re right that all we can do at this point is recognize we’re at war, including with Libya, which we should be.

    If Obama would come up with a coherent war on terror plan, it would have to include Syria, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia… these countries aren’t allied, and this is a very impractical war effort, which explains W’s hearts and minds approach with Arab Democracy in Iraq.

    So I wonder if a plan of merely killing them would have prevented 9/11. Russia killed millions of Afghanis, Saddam killed a million Iranians and so many Iraqis. If we had killed a million more, I think 9/11 still would have happened, or something similar, or even something worse.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  66. “I think it’s unfair to blame Clinton and Bush for 9/11 merely because they failed to take on the terrorists sufficiently prior to 9/11.”

    I think it’s totally fair to blame several of our presidents for not waging all-out war on state sponsors of terrorism and terrorists, long before 9/11.

    They’d rather wage war on Panama, or the Serbs (who never lifted a finger against America), then go after the Islamo-trash that killed hundreds of our people in Lebanon.

    The truth is that up until 9/11, we were ruled by morons, guys who thought that issues like the Serbs and Albanians fighting over a scrap of land in the Balkans is a reason for an all-out American air offensive, but attacks on American embassies and the cold-blooded murder of Americans by hostile foreign powers isn’t a reason.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  67. I can’t argue with that point, Dave,

    narciso (b545d5)

  68. Yes, Dave has a great point that Clinton’s choice of where to fight was poor.

    But again, let’s not forget that the 1980s were not a simple time to clearly wage war in the middle east. We were winning a bigger conflict at that time.

    Dave’s right that if a state sponsored terrorism, we should have gone to war. Perhaps Carter’s waffling on Iran created the idea we were a paper tiger, and Reagan’s deal to get our people back helped create an impression that the USA was safe to pick on, but at several points, such as Libya’s bombing of a civilian plane, we had a freer hand and failed to use it.

    Would that have prevented 9/11, Dave?

    You blame us for not facing our enemies earlier, and several times I have agreed you have a point, but you have ignored my point that killing millions of these people did not thwart them from 9/11. Merely assassinating Qaddafi wouldn’t make Libya our friends. It would make Libya an Al Qaida state.

    So again, I point to a more complete strategy (W’s) that has the disadvantage of taking a lot more work than the USA can apply to the entire middle east at once.

    Until you can explain a strategy that would have avoided a massive terrorist attack on US Soil, I don’t think you can blame the USA for 9/11. Replying that you can blame them for mistakes is true yet inadequate.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  69. As I’ve noted before, as over-lawyered as our military leadership structure has become, this has to have been staffed so that the various generals and admirals don’t have legal exposure on this.

    This is called limited warfare. Which is kind of an elastic term, as it’s defined more by what it’s not (it’s not unlimited warfare, in other words).

    Congress doesn’t seem to be having many problems with this thus far, aside from one or two Members raising the issue.

    If U.S. involvement escalates (think “boots on the ground”) or we start to take losses of men and materiel, and it could become katie-bar-the-door time in D.C.

    I’ve quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms2.blogspot.com/2011/04/re-obama-administration-in-contempt-of.html

    Consul-At-Arms (dcde1b)


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