Patterico's Pontifications

4/1/2011

“Shame On Us If We Allow This Act to Stand Unchallenged Any Longer;” McClintock and Congressman Paul Fight the Good Fight on Libya

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:22 am

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

In my last post on Libya, I said there was a bright light of hope in this debate over the Constitution and Separation of Powers, and here it is.  You might remember Tom McClintock from the recall election that took down Gray Davis, as the guy they should have chosen to be governor of California, rather than Ahnold.  Yesterday, Mr. McClintock gave a firey but firm speech on Libya, and really it is worth listening to the whole thing:

And for those who cannot watch teh Youtubes, Big Government has apparently a word-for-word text copy of it, here.  Just to give you a taste:

When the President ordered the attack on Libya without Congressional authorization, he crossed a very bright Constitutional line that he himself recognized in 2007 when he told the Boston Globe “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The reason the American Founders reserved the question of war to Congress was that they wanted to assure that so momentous a decision could not be made by a single individual. They had watched European kings plunge their nations into bloody and debilitating wars and wanted to avoid that fate for the American Republic.

And indeed, he sent a letter to similar effect, which concludes:

With all due respect, I can only conclude that your order to United States Armed Forces to attack the nation of Libya on March 19, 2011 is in direct violation of the War Powers Resolution and constitutes a usurpation of Constitutional powers clearly and solely vested in the United States Congress and is accordingly unlawful and unconstitutional.

Let’s hope this is a sign of a rising tide against this power grab.

And this wasn’t the only challenge. Senator Paul threw a shoe into the Senate works yesterday in a delicious way:

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), a Tea Party favorite, has boxed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) into a corner. After a quiet day of quorum calls and speeches, Reid abruptly adjourned the upper chamber Thursday and postponed votes until Monday. According to numerous Hill staffers, Paul deserves some credit for the impasse.

Here’s the back story: On Wednesday, Paul, with little notice, attached an amendment to the small-business re-authorization bill. The amendment, which chastises President Obama for his actions in Libya, urges members to adopt the president’s own words as “the sense of the Senate.”

To make his point, Paul quoted, in the legislative language, from Obama’s 2007 remarks on the subject: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” According to Paul’s office, “the measure aims to put the Senate on record affirming Congress as the body with constitutional authority on matters of war.”

GOP sources tell National Review Online that Paul’s proposal flummoxed Reid, who does not want his members to have to weigh in on Obama’s dusty quote about congressional authority, even if the vote is only to table the measure.

“Paul’s Libya amendment has brought the Senate to a standstill because Reid doesn’t know how to handle it,” one GOP aide tells me. “If he allows a vote, Democrats are forced to either disagree with then-senator Obama or with President Obama. It’s possible that Reid just yanks the bill or files cloture, seems he may do anything to avoid a vote on Paul’s amendment.”

Still, during a testy floor exchange Wednesday with Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), the Kentucky freshman argued that his amendment deserves a vote, and fast. “In Afghanistan and Iraq, with all the complaints from many people on these wars that we were involved in, President Bush did come and ask for the authorization of force,” he said. “We’ve had two to three weeks of this issue. They had time to go to the U.N. They had time to go to the Arab League. They had time to go to everyone. I think you should be insulted the way I am insulted they never came to Congress.”

I’m not a big fan of Ron Paul, although I am willing to tolerate him in Congress because of his desire to radically reduce federal spending would exert a gravitational pull toward reduced deficits, if not toward reduced debt.  But I am starting to really like Rand Paul.

Keep fighting the good fight, gentlemen, and let’s hope other Congressmen join you. This is a willful violation of the Constitution on Obama’s part, as in he is doing what he knows to be unconstitutional, and it has to stop.

Read the whole thing.

————————

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

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

92 Responses to ““Shame On Us If We Allow This Act to Stand Unchallenged Any Longer;” McClintock and Congressman Paul Fight the Good Fight on Libya”

  1. He should have also included Biden’s threat to impeach Bush. (Sorry to keep harping on that Aaron, but that one really bugged me, even at the time. )

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  2. harp away, but i think actually he is right. going to war unconstitutionally is an impeachable offense. but strategically, i think we have to repudiate this, make it clear he has to stop and then show him still being defiant, or else there will be no support for impeachment. my censure proposal was one way of doing that.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. Aaron’s point that this violation is willful is a very important and powerful point.

    We see lefties and some righties try to make these arguments complex enough that some people wind up thinking this is all pure sophistry. They think political parties are shamelessly pushing points ad hoc. In this case, it’s easy to prove that Obama is willfully, knowingly, and egregiously violating one of the most serious parts of the constitution.

    Biden’s threat to impeach Bush helps underline how seriously the democrats should take this breach.

    Obama made a snap decision to make a 180 on Libya to save face, and now he’s screwed if the American people pay attention.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  4. “When the President ordered the attack on Libya without Congressional authorization, he crossed a very bright Constitutional line….”

    Haiti (2004), Kosovo (1999), Bosnia (1995), Haiti (1994), Somalia (1992), Panama (1989), Libya (1986), Lebanon (1982), Iran (1980) and dozens more — not to mention the biggest of them all, Korea (1950).

    Not so bright a line, given the number of times it has been trod upon.

    Kman (5576bf)

  5. Kman

    ah, so now you have decided to support the war now that you see conservatives coming out in opposition.

    I wish i was more surprised.

    Anyway, can you prove each and every one of them were without congressional approval?

    Not to mention that mcclintock, in his full statement, accounted completely for your argument.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. AW:

    ah, so now you have decided to support the war now that you see conservatives coming out in opposition

    Where the hell did I say that? Ah, you’re reading between the lines apparently. And sadly, “between the lines” is where you become reading disabled.

    I don’t support the Libyan action, if you must know. But I don’t think it is any more impeachable than the actions of prior presidents.

    But I love these Yoo-loving conservatives who want nothing more than to impeach Obama over this.

    Kman (5576bf)

  7. Kman can pretend it’s not a bright line, but Biden and Obama thought it was a bright line when Bush was president.

    And it is a bright line if you read the constitution.

    His defense is that other people broke the bright line, so therefore there is no bright line. And some of his examples are just lies.

    I would go down his list, but just his first example, Haiti, is a lie.

    the President should have sought and welcomed Congressional approval before deploying United States Armed Forces to Haiti; […] Congress supports a prompt and orderly withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Haiti as soon as possible.

    Pub. L. 103–423, Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4358

    Now, in at least a couple of his examples, he’s probably right that congress didn’t authorize action. But it was that easy to prove Kman is a liar. Just take the first thing he says and do a 30 second google of it.

    Of course, that’s what Kman wanted. He knows he can’t win an argument, so he’s settled for telling attention getting lies.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  8. I guess I should make my point a little more clear:

    Kman’s citing cases like Haiti as proof there is no bright line despite the government loudly condemning the violation of the bright line.

    In most of his examples, either there is some authorization, or the violation led to a very clear response noting the bright line’s existence. Kman wants to pretend the idea Obama needs congressional authorization never existed, and we’re just making this up, and his citation of Haiti and other examples shows he wasn’t paying attention to the reaction.

    It’s like complaining to the officer that everyone is speeding, by citing someone else who actually got a speeding ticket. It’s so lazy.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  9. Kman

    > And sadly, “between the lines” is where you become reading disabled.

    I would removed that for the personal insult, a reference to the dyslexia that you know I suffer from. But instead I will leave it up to show the world what kind of person you are.

    No more needs to be said.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  10. I don’t think the War Powers Act is the place to fight the battle over Obama’s lawless behavior. First, it has been the Republican’s position that it is unconstitutional since it was passed by a leftist Congress to chastise Nixon over the Vietnam War, which he did not start.

    Second, it does little to restrain the president, as you see.

    Obama will get his fingers burned but that is no reason to forget 40 years of policy.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  11. Mike

    if you ignore the war powers act, then all you have is the constitution, which gives him even less help.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. Second, it does little to restrain the president, as you see.

    True, but Obama is knowingly flouting the law. It’s easy to compare his own words to his deeds. This is a powerful indictment on his leadership character.

    Furthermore, you say the War Powers Act is considered unconstitutional by some, which is quite fair. But if that is the case, then Obama’s actions are even worse. He has fewer powers, not more, if this act goes away. The Act lent congress’s permission to go to war in certain emergency situations (that as you note were meant to contrast with Vietnam).

    Bush expended tremendous political capital to get the USA back on the right track, where a president answers to congress about whether he is authorized to go to war. That is important, and we should stand up for it. It’s not just about the short term issue of shaming Obama, but rather about the idea of giving a single man the power to engage in any war he wants.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  13. Kman’s attempt to find hypocrisy in the Obama critics is nothing short of mind-boggling.

    And yet another example of his utter lack of integrity and seriousness.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. Is anyone else creeped out when Kman says things like:

    ….Yoo-loving…

    I’m trying to decide if it is self-referential or something else.

    Anyway, Aaron, the guy is just a jerk. His goal is to annoy you.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  15. Dustin:

    It’s not just about the short term issue of shaming Obama, but rather about the idea of giving a single man the power to engage in any war he wants.

    Actually, that’s an apt description of the Authorization to Use Military Force, passed by Congress after 9/11. The AUMF wasn’t about Congress declaring war; it was more like “If the President deems it necessary to go to war, then we’re behind it.” If you are against “the idea of giving a single man the power to engage in any war he wants”, then you should have been against the AUMF at the time.

    If you are (as I am) truly interested in having war powers rest with Congress (as the Constitution says), then you’ll condemn anything that Congress does to punt that tough decision to the President.

    Kman (5576bf)

  16. You should probably apologize, Kman, for being, well, what you are.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  17. Kman found a new squirrel to point at.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Dustin – I think you misunderstand the claim that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional.

    My understanding has been that the general conservative complaint is that the War Powers Act is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s inherent powers as commander in chief. See, for example, This news report which quotes Vice President Cheney as saying just that. See also “The Constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution”, by Stephen L. Carter, Virginia Law Review #70 (1984), which notes that people claiming the WPA is unconstitutional argue that the Constitution only delegates part of the war power to Congress.

    Or this article, which quotes a state department document alleging “Under the Constitution, the President, in addition to being Chief Executive, is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. He holds the prime responsibility for the conduct of United States foreign relations. These duties carry very broad powers, including the power to deploy American forces abroad and commit them to military operations when the President deems such action necessary to maintain the security and defense of the United States… .”

    So I’m puzzled to see conservatives suddenly complaining that the executive doesn’t have the power to bomb a foreign country without Congressional authorization. I mean, I agree, but it seems like a shift; I thought the conservative theory was that the President, by virtue of his inherent powers as commander in chief and his inherent powers as the sole font of responsibility for external relations, had the power to engage in military action whenever he thought doing so was necessary for the security of the United States.

    Now, you’ll note, because you’re a smart dude, that there’s a way to reconcile these: the issue isn’t that President Obama is bombing Libya, it’s that he’s doing so without arguing that it’s necessary for the security of the United States. Which is to say, if President Obama had bombed Libya because there was evidence that Libya had well-developed plans, close to fruition, to invade Italy, then there would be no problem. The problem arises entirely because he’s doing it as a humanitarian mission on behalf of a revolution (and, to be honest, on behalf of a revolution that many don’t trust to not be a front for either a new caliphate or al Qaeda).

    But that point seems to be getting lost in the rhetoric. Rep. McClintock, for example, appears to be saying that it’s never ok for the President to bomb a foreign country without advance Congressional approval. I happen to agree with that, but I’m puzzled at the fact that he – and others – aren’t making the distinction I just laid out.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  19. Here’s another short snippet that I particularly liked from the National Review’s excellent coverage:

    “Durbin fired back that Bush, by coming to Congress, actually “broke precedent.” Paul looked on, bemused.

    Durbin asserted that Obama acted within the law. “The senator from Kentucky has the right to express his point of view, debate it on the floor of the Senate, and the right to pursue the War Powers Act, which gives Congress the authority for a hearing and a decision,” he said. “But what I would, I guess, disagree with the senator from Kentucky is on the characterization that the president did not follow the law. He did notify Congress. I think the circumstances moved so quickly with human life hanging in the balance the president made that decision and now stands with the American people making judgment as to whether it was the proper decision to make.”

    With Durbin so confident in Obama’s words and actions, you’d think Reid would hustle to have Senate Democrats back him up on the floor.”

    Yeppers. That right there pretty well sums up the limited intellectual capabilities and lack of integrity of my state’s senior senator, Dick D.

    elissa (8a5f44)

  20. I should note that what irritates me the most about President Obama’s behavior on this is not that he didn’t get advance approval – he should have, but sometimes you have to act now and get permission later, or there’s no point in acting.

    But it’s been almost two weeks and he hasn’t sought permission yet. Once he started bombing without advance approval, he should have flown home from Brazil on day one, and immediately taken his case to Congress, and asked them to approve his action.

    Maybe his administration would have persuaded Congress to say yes. Maybe it wouldn’t have. But his responsibility to the citizenry was to do so.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  21. Congress can take a vote on this any time they want…only they don’t seem to want to too much.

    Looks to me like they’d rather posture than actually do something.

    As usual.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  22. Durbin lies. Effortlessly. Timmah and kmart just follow suit.

    JÐ (d56362)

  23. aphrael, I really can’t figure out how many “conservatives” criticizing the President think that Obama lacks the authority to do what he is doing, how many think that it is poor policy but he has authority, and how many think that he has authority but is extremely hypocritical in suddenly deciding he has it.

    I’m in the latter two camps.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. Well said, Aphrael. There is a world of difference between telling congress, consulting with congress and asking congress for approval.

    elissa (8a5f44)

  25. “My understanding has been that the general conservative complaint is that the War Powers Act is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s inherent powers as commander in chief…”

    Looks more like an attempt by Congress to avoid having to take responsibity for deciding whether or not to go to war, from where I’m sitting.

    That would be my complaint, anyway.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  26. aph

    and you know what? if obama did that, i would ask for merely a slap on the wrist, a censure and a “don’t do this again.” but he says he is not going to seek their approval. he says if they pass a resolution against this war, he will ignore it. he said that this is lawful under the war powers act (it isn’t), and having lied about when it says he can go to war, he plans to ignore it on the subject of how long he can carry it out.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  27. Kman stay classy.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  28. Missile strikes against Libya began on March 19.

    It’s now April 1.

    Feel free to assemble and take a vote any old time, Congresscritters.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  29. Looks more like an attempt by Congress to avoid having to take responsibity for deciding whether or not to go to war, from where I’m sitting.

    Dave is right about this too.

    Much of the reason the executive has grown in power, with the attendant administrative law growing in importance, is that congress is happy to pass the buck.

    It’s not just Obama who is the problem. In particular,

    a) every Republican who is pleased with the war against Libya but not acting to authorize that war in their professional name.

    b) Every congressman of either party who isn’t loudly moving to censure Obama taking power that isn’t his.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  30. Maybe his administration would have persuaded Congress to say yes. Maybe it wouldn’t have. But his responsibility to the citizenry was to do so.

    I think he’s playing the Reagan gambit.

    In 1986, Reagan started bombing Libya without an express Congressional resolution. It was done in response to the Libyan bombing of a Berlin disco that killed several American soldiers.

    Reagan, like Obama, informed Congress about the engagement against Libya, but didn’t seek authorization. Why not? He thought it would be over in less than 90 days (which is how long a “war” can go, technically, before Congress can pull the plug). And Reagan was right. The limited engagement ended before the 90 days.

    I think Obama’s thinking is: “We can oust Gaddafi in under 90 days. So technically, I don’t require approval.”

    The problem, in my view, is that Obama miscalculated Gaddafi’s staying ability.

    Kman (5576bf)

  31. UN – check
    Arab League – check
    US Congress – FU

    JÐ (29e1cd)

  32. My understanding has been that the general conservative complaint is that the War Powers Act is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s inherent powers as commander in chief.

    My thought was some object to congress granting its powers to the executive generally. I understand this objection to be that for congress to authorize the president to ‘act now’ and ask permission later would take a constitutional amendment.

    That’s because the constitution is not ambiguous. The Congress has the power to decide who to war against, from pirate to sovereign legitimate leader, it doesn’t matter. The president merely executes those decisions.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  33. You know, you can’t even parody this administration when they do things like accept an award for transparency (evidently from an organization of morons) in a event closed to the press.

    Beyond parody.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  34. which is how long a “war” can go, technically, before Congress can pull the plug

    This is an extreme view of the law. Only some wars can legitimate be made without advance authorization, under the war powers legislation. Libya is not one of those situations.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  35. Actually, that’s an apt description of the Authorization to Use Military Force, passed by Congress after 9/11

    Except hundreds of congressman made the decision to give the President that latitude, so no, Bush didn’t act alone by any stretch of the imagination.

    Furthermore, since Bush asked for permission, that permission can be later revoked by the same congressional body.

    You grasp so desperately for straws to say Bush acted alone while defending Obama actually acting alone.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  36. You grasp so desperately for straws to say Bush acted alone while defending Obama actually acting alone.

    Well, the Senate did pass a resolution calling for a no-fly over Libya. Not the same as an authorization, but it does indicate that Obama wasn’t “acting alone”.

    Anyway, I still don’t quite understand why this is an impeachable offense by Obama. Isn’t the ball in Congress’ court now? Isn’t it up to them to vote this military action with approval/disapproval?

    Kman (5576bf)

  37. Kman agreed with us until a sufficient number of conservatives agreed with him. all his politics is about hating the other guy, hence his personal insult of me.

    There is no principle in his argument. you all give him way too much credit.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  38. The Senate can pass legislation alone?

    I guess Boehner heard that one, since he recently claimed the House could set the budget in the absence of Senate action (if I understood him correctly… and yes, that’s absurd).

    Anyway, I still don’t quite understand why this is an impeachable offense by Obama.

    Well, you should listen to Obama and Biden explain it.

    “I asked them to put together [for] me a draft, which I’m now literally riding between towns editing, that I want to make clear and submit to the Untied States Senate pointing out the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran. And I want to make it clear, I want it on the record, and I want to make it clear, if he does, as chairman of the foreign relations committee and former chair of the judiciary committee, I will move to impeach him.” (Biden)

    The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. Obama

    the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action — including any kind of strategic bombing — against Iran without congressional authorization. -H Clinton

    Kman, Nixon thought that anything he authorizes is automagically legal, but honest people recognize that this is despotism. I can’t imagine a more legitimate justification for impeachment. He swore an oath not to do this. Obama’s oath combined with his statement that this action is unconstitutional is proof he is knowingly breaking a legally important promise.

    Remember how Obama obnoxiously had Chief Justice Roberts administer the oath because some word was misspoke? The idea was that without the correct oath being said, he’s in legal jeopardy. Well, now we have proof he broke his oath, Kman.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  39. Dustin

    I can say as a lawyer, it is exceedingly rare when you have a person who actually tells you that what they did later was illegal. proving “willful” lawbreaking in court is a pain in the @$$–almost never that easy.

    And when you do have a client who actually told you that their conduct was illegal, you bang your head on the table and then start talking a significant plea deal or settlement, depending on whether we are in civil or criminal court.

    Willfulness is not required to impeach, but God, if you have that, the defendant is f—ed.

    At least if we are being at all fair.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  40. AW:

    Kman agreed with us until a sufficient number of conservatives agreed with him

    For, like, the 20th time, I still think Obama’s act was unconstitutional. You’re the one trying to put me on the opposite side of the fence. I’m just not as exorcised about it, because (unlike some here) I didn’t just discover (or pretend to discover) that presidential instigations of war are unconstitutional.

    Dustin:

    Remember how Obama obnoxiously had Chief Justice Roberts administer the oath because some word was misspoke? The idea was that without the correct oath being said, he’s in legal jeopardy.

    Hahahaha. No he wasn’t in “legal jeopardy”.

    But that was funny.

    Kman (5576bf)

  41. Well, you should listen to Obama and Biden explain it.

    Yes, that is hypocritical, but it doesn’t change the legal status of the issue. Whether this is legal or not shouldn’t change based on who’s in front of the TelePrompTer.

    non-suckitude Puritan (00428f)

  42. he should have, but sometimes you have to act now and get permission later, or there’s no point in acting.

    Obama’s administration had time enough to obtain a call for a no-fly zone from the Arab League, and then to get a UNSC resolution. They certainly could have pursued an authorization request from Congress in parallel, but they didn’t even try.

    If Gaddafi had attacked American citizens or forces, or was about to, then there would be a case. But then there wouldn’t have been time to ask the UNSC, either.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  43. No he wasn’t in “legal jeopardy”.

    Of course not. But Obama’s team was full of amateurs who were eager to do something, so they were ridiculously cautious about this sacred little oath error.

    And now we see the oath was a lie on Obama’s part. He did not intend to observe the constitution, since he and you are right that his current action is not constitutional.

    And thus, he is a despot. And if you argue that this doesn’t rise to impeachment level, I’m not sure what could. The president can despotically authorize any crime, and he can despotically command the lack of enforcement of any crime. he could insist the DOJ no longer protect elections from voter intimidation, or fire IGs because they discovered corruption. He could take a bribe and have the evidence expunged. He is the commander of federal law enforcement, after all. If he can’t be impeached for using that authority beyond what is legally allowed, he really has a blank check.

    He could have G Gordon Liddy back in the FBI, raiding political files. He’s the commander!

    That’s why he has to be held strictly to the constitution. For some reason, some people do not agree with my interpretation of the constitution. Smart folks like Aphrael and SPQR. Fine… but Obama agrees with me, and thus he knowingly intended to act beyond the law.

    Kman’s position is the hardest for me to understand. He thinks Obama violated the constitution, but that this isn’t enough for an impeachment? Wow. I think that was Obama’s calculation. Be as lawless as you can get away with, to ensure an agitated and screwed up country that is ripe for big government solutions.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  44. but it doesn’t change the legal status of the issue.

    That’s true, but given that the legal status is that congress establishes who we go to war against, under Article I section 8, from pirate to other nations, and has only conceded this power to the executive for emergencies, I think the legal status, unchanged, is what Obama said it was in 2007.

    And Bush agreed with that, which is why we still have a nuclear Iran. We pay a high price for being a constitutional republic.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  45. Obama has had plenty of time to take this to Congress. The fact that he hasn’t done so leads me to believe that he thinks he won’t get approval, or the Constitution and the War Powers Act are just so much junk getting in the way of his job. I know what his excuse is (incompetence), but what’s Congress’ excuse? Are they just going to sit around and let Obama stomp all over the Constitution, the War Powers Act and their own authority?

    Rochf (f3fbb0)

  46. Kman’s position is the hardest for me to understand. He thinks Obama violated the constitution, but that this isn’t enough for an impeachment?

    That’s because I know the difference between an opinion and a fact. It is my opinion that Obama violated the constitution; it is not, however, an uncontroverted fact that he did.

    You like to throw around words like “despot” and “criminal”, but that doesn’t actually make some an actual despot or a criminal. There are certain objective standards that one has to pass in order to become those things. Same with acting “unconstitutionally”. Where there is a gray area — and there CLEARLY is a gray area here (since people disagree about it) — I just don’t think you can hold somebody legally accountable.

    Plus, what AW said about “willfulness”. Ditto.

    Kman (5576bf)

  47. Dustin: as for #44, on the contrary. I completely agree that this action is unconstitutional. Only Congress can declare war. I recognize that in an emergency, retroactive approval may be necessary. But even if there were an emergency the day the bombing began, there’s been enough time for retroactive approval.

    I like President Obama. I voted for him twice. But he’s operating outside the law – and as puzzled as I am about the motives and beliefs of many of those complaining – I want him to stop. Now.

    —-

    Dave Surls: I completely agree that Congress is choosing to not take responsibility for authorizing or de-authorizing the war. Congress has long been comprised of cowards.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  48. All i can say is if Bush were advocating for a war in libya the shrieking harpies at Code Pink would fight him all the way.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  49. All i can say is if Bush were advocating for a war in libya the shrieking harpies at Code Pink would fight him all the way.

    Well, give ’em time.

    Kman (5576bf)

  50. I’m starting to think this is Obama’s reelection strategy: put Congress in a position where it has no choice but to impeach him, and then make that the issue in 2012, hoping to repeat Clinton’s success in 1998. He will keep slapping Congress in the face, breaking the law, exceeding his powers, and seeing how far Congress will let him go. He’ll ignore censure votes, or else make hay with them. The question is, what can Congress do about this?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  51. Here’s language from the NATO treaty, which was approved by Congress:

    Article 5
    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

    Article 6 (1)
    For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

    on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

    on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

    Can you explain why that language doesn’t cover the Lockerbie bombing?

    Jim (ad29d8)

  52. It is nice of people like timmah and kmart to prove to us, once again, how fundamentally unprincipled their positions are. Compare and contrast with aphrael, who I usually disagree with, but I respect.

    JD (318f81)

  53. Aphrael, I apologize for mistaking your position. I have no idea where that came from.

    JD is right that even when we disagree your behavior warrants out respect.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  54. You like to throw around words like “despot” and “criminal

    I’m not throwing that word around at all. It means what it means. Power that is concentrated too far in one man’s hands. If Obama flouts the Constitution and Congress, he is a despot.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  55. I should note that what irritates me the most about President Obama’s behavior on this is not that he didn’t get advance approval – he should have, but sometimes you have to act now and get permission later, or there’s no point in acting.

    Except that in this case he delayed acting for three weeks after Republicans were calling for him to act. He took the time to consult the UN and the Arab League. How can anyone suggest that he didn’t have time to go to Congress? He could have gone to Congress the day the issue arose, got approval, and started bombing the next day. Or he could have gone to the UN and the Arab League and the French, after going to Congress. Bush faffed around for six months after getting Congressional approval to go after Saddam Hussein, with the result that Hussein had time to prepare for resistance, to send something to Syria, and we may never know what else.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  56. All i can say is if Bush were advocating for a war in libya the shrieking harpies at Code Pink would fight him all the way.

    All I can say is that hearing anyone use the non-phrase “advocate for” turns me into a shrieking harpy. Or Harpo.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  57. I like President Obama. I voted for him twice.

    You should move to Illinois. I voted for him like 12 times, and I’m nominally a Republican.

    *I was an election judge and was helping old ladies vote

    carlitos (00428f)

  58. Kman

    > That’s because I know the difference between an opinion and a fact. It is my opinion that Obama violated the constitution; it is not, however, an uncontroverted fact that he did.

    So let me get this straight. You think its unconstitutional.

    You know that Obama himself said it was unconstitutional.

    So can’t you at least say that it is an uncontroverted fact that Obama violated the constitution as he understands it? And how can you not say he has violated the oath of office?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  59. “I voted for him twice.”

    Democrats have been doing that for generations.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  60. Napoleon Obambiparte’s latest…

    http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/04/01/us-to-pull-close-air-support-aircraft-out-of-libya-fight/

    God, these people are idiots.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  61. Baracko Obamalini just another marxist pig like his protege Benito.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  62. Dave: by ‘twice’, of course, I mean once in the primary and once in the general election. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  63. I hope your joking. 😯

    DohBiden (984d23)

  64. Why can’t we IMPEACH the Mighty Obama?

    In the case of Libya – the Child President doesn’t even know which side to attack.

    Mitch Rapp (d6ef8d)

  65. And when you do have a client who actually told you that their conduct was illegal, you bang your head on the table and then start talking a significant plea deal or settlement, depending on whether we are in civil or criminal court

    Even better, a client who admits the crime and then offers ways to attack the evidence that he was the criminal.

    As happened to me very very early in my legal career, while interning with the PD’s office. I was interviewing him in preparation for the revocation of probation hearing….

    kishnevi (2d88a8)

  66. Yes and next we will invade Ireland and kill the IRA terrorists…..Oh wait like the british government and maobama they are pro-palestinian.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  67. Madam Speaker?

    Ghost of Pelosi.

    PC14 (4a4ed3)

  68. Yikes–Rand Paul just gave Harry Reid the worst beatdown since Ken Norton stepped out of his corner saying to himself: “How tough can some guy named Gerry Cooney be?”*

    * anyone under 35 should just YouTube it–it isn’t pretty.

    M. Scott Eiland (27aed4)

  69. It isn’t pretty

    What Anthony Wiener’s girlfreind said about his sexual drive.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  70. The amendment, which chastises President Obama for his actions in Libya, urges members to adopt the president’s own words as “the sense of the Senate.”

    Alinsky Rules are a b*tch when they’re being used against you.

    Another Chris (129d96)

  71. Honestly the media has more important things to do like talk about Todd Palin’s lovechild.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  72. OK, before anybody else says it, SHAME ON ME. I should be willing to research this before I post, but I have a toothache, and I just lack the stamina. If I’m mistaken in my memory, somebody will doubtless tell me.

    That said;

    I seem to recall that shortly after 9/11, in a fit of “If we don’t DO SOMETHING we’re gonna get lynched at the polls”, Congress (bless their black flabby hearts) voted President Bush an authorization to use military force so vague as to amount to a blank check. it didn’t mention specific theaters of war, or targets, it was just a “go get ’em!”. Bush knew better than to use this when he wanted to get into Iraq, the heat of the moment had passed and a lot of Liberals were having Buyer’s remorse by then, so he went back specifically on that one and got permission again. But an argument could certainly be made that he didn’t need to from a legal (rather than politically tactical) point of view.

    OK. Bush passes out of office and is replaced by Obama. Obama doesn’t need Congress to authorize the use of military force in Iraq or Afghanistan; those conflicts were ongoing when he came to the office. But the broad “go get them terrorist bastards” that Congress granted Bush, and Bush wisely didn’t rely on, is still technically in force. So technically Obama can use military force anywhere in the world that he can make a halfway reasonable argument is a part of the global war on terror, without having to go back to Congress to get authorization. It certainly isn’t enough to keep his political enemies from hamstringing him with hearings, budget constrictions, and blovation, but Impeaching him must almost certainly fail on this point.

    OK, having said this, which came to me in the half-light of bleary dawn; what’s wrong with it? Anybody?

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  73. CSP

    read the document itself. that authorization to use force doesn’t apply to libya, unless gdaffy was supporting or harboring AQ.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  74. CSP,

    You’ve got a good memory to bring that up, and I agree that’s probably Obama’s best angle.

    However, the problem with applying that is that Qaddafi is basically fighting against Al Qaida right now, rather than helping them. Further, he reacted to that AUMF by abandoning his nuclear program, and this negotiated Bush changing our relations with him as regards his status as a terror state.

    The truth is, the diplomatic solution worked with Libya. He wasn’t going to attack us, he wasn’t going to support Al Qaida, and he wasn’t building nukes. He still was a bastard, but in an area with so many other bastards that are helping our enemies and are a threat to us, he isn’t the right target.

    Obama’s targeting Libya instead of Iran and Syria sets a horrible precedent, where dictators who threaten America, support terrorists, and build nukes are much safer than dictators who stop WMD production and fight against Al Qaida.

    The rebel leadership we are supporting fought against us in Afghanistan and is as linked to Al Qaida as the Iraqi Al Qaida were. In effect, by supporting them, we have made a mockery of that AUMF you’ve cited. We are supporting the enemy we said must not be supported.

    So an additional effect is that it will be much harder to argue that states cannot align with Al Qaida, since we are. Thankfully this problem is minimized by recent stories that NATO is talking about bombing both sides of this civil war. I guess they are voting present.

    The one element that makes all this mess make sense is that this effort was not undertaken with the long term war on terror in mind, and perhaps without any long term planning at all. If there was long term planning, it was to undermine the war on terror.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  75. Dustin, Aaron;

    I’m not suggesting that Obama knows what he’s doing. I think he’s given in to the impulse to “do something” without much thought. I simply think that, when push comes to shove, he can’t be successfully impeached and convicted for being an idiot (or we’d have had Jimmy Carter out in his first year)

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  76. Long term planning on Libya….
    that stretches out to November of ’12.
    Everything the Bamster does is predicated on winning that vote.
    He will betray any friend, screw any ally, just to bamboozle the voters enough to be sent back for another 4-year vacation based at 1600 Pennsyvania Avenue.

    I surely hope that Mr.Ryan’s FY-2012 Budget blueprint excises any and all funding for the “Czar” staff at the WH & EOB.
    Any funding should be conditional upon Senate confirmation.

    AD-RtR/OS! (215f54)

  77. Jim, even if it covered the Lockerbie bombing, the Lockerbie bombing was now twenty-three years ago. Reacting today to an attack twenty-three years ago is unjustified.

    Carlitos: thank you for having the integrity as an election judge to help old ladies vote in what you consider to be the wrong way. :)

    CSP: I agree that Presient Obama has the authority to go after the terrorists responsible for 9/11, wherever he finds them. But he would have to be able to make a reasonable case that Libya was involved in 9/11 in order for it to cover Libya, which he hasn’t done, probably because he can’t.

    aphrael (fe2ce4)

  78. CSP – I almost made the same point yesterday, but i think I agree with Aaron – it only works if Ghaddafi is harboring terrorists. And I agree with aphrael – you have to reach back pretty far to indict Libya for this kind of stuff.

    Wait, did I just write that? “If?” If he’s harboring terrorists? I’m sure Obama could come up with something if he looked, right?

    Didn’t Reagan help the rebels fight the Libyan gov’t via Chad back in the 80’s? Did that require authorization from Congress?
    —–

    aphrael – I was texting a buddy who’s a Republican precinct captain the whole time, and he was heartbroken. I think I mentioned it here in the live chat that night; it was actually a pretty cool experience, seeing these old black ladies come in to vote for Obama. Forget the politics; a black president is something that they couldn’t have imagined as children.

    carlitos (00428f)

  79. ________________________________________

    when he told the Boston Globe “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

    Utter, total, unbelievable gall on the part of the guy now in the White House.

    I’m reminded of some liberals I know who for the past several years, during various conversations, including at lunch or dinner, will regularly express indignation about Bush and Iraq. But as is the case with Obama, I frequently detect these same people being guilty of limousine liberalism—although Obama is both so ridiculously phony and inherently dogmatic, he’s actually more of a limousine leftist.

    Pathetic and a bit deranged.

    It’s another reason why I no longer believe it was unfairly ascribing hidden motives or meaning to Obama, as one example, using his middle finger to “scratch” his nose.

    It’s too bad that the careful analysis of Aaron regarding Obama and the constitutionality of what he’s doing with Libya isn’t being duplicated to a greater degree in the public arena—eg, finding links to such assessments at highly trafficked sites like the drudgereport. In fact, patterico.com is one of the few locations I’ve run into that lays out just how arrogant, disingenuous, two-faced and even illegal Obama has been in sending the US military into Libya.

    BTW — and ironies of irony — one of the liberals I know personally, and mentioned above, apparently got so frustrated the other day in dealing with a co-worker who is not known for being prompt — and who also happens to be black — that he spouted off something about “no wonder black people have a reputation for always showing up late.” This “leftie” is the same person who I once heard excoriating Clarence Thomas for being bad to women, yet who also expresses admiration for Bill Clinton.

    Observing the behavior of folks on the left: You can’t make this (or their) sh** up.

    Mark (411533)

  80. . I simply think that, when push comes to shove, he can’t be successfully impeached and convicted for being an idiot

    Well of course you weren’t defending Obama so much as trying to be intellectually honest.

    And no, he can’t be successfully convicted after impeachment… for anything. It is clear that there is absolutely nothing he could do right now, least of all something war related, that would bring the Senate to act against him.

    It’s interesting you mention Carter, whom many say was one of the most intelligent presidents we’ve had, along with Herbert Hoover. At the very least, Carter thought he was brilliant, and this explains his arrogance. Whether Obama is brilliant or not, he certainly thinks he is.

    This “leftie” is the same person who I once heard excoriating Clarence Thomas for being bad to women, yet who also expresses admiration for Bill Clinton.

    There’s a lot of that, and it is extremely frustrating.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  81. “Reacting today to an attack twenty-three years ago is unjustified.”

    No, what’s unjustified is our worthless government not doing anything about it for 23 years.

    Dave Surls (70848b)

  82. Who are these many people, Dustin, where is the proof that Carter was so intelligent, Of Hoover, it can be said, he had a significant c.v, in industrial
    and even philanthropic work, before he attained high
    office, Gerald Ford was a star athlete, had risento the top ranks of legislature, that one flub about the WArsaw pact, and one stumble, was all it took,
    to cement his image,

    Mind you, I think he was too accomodating the Democrats on the war, on law enforcement and intelligence operations, part of the reason that
    Cheney and Rumsfeld, reacted the way they did in later years,

    kathy windel (b545d5)

  83. Stoopit gotcha:

    No, what’s unjustified is our worthless government not doing anything about it for 23 years.

    They did … Obama acted directly, on behalf of al Megrahi, towards his release by the Scots. And afters … upon arriving home … Kuhdaffy threw him a party!

    man myth legend enigma (c0a8c4)

  84. Who are these many people, Dustin, where is the proof that Carter was so intelligent

    His resume was inflated drastically to where people described him as a brilliant nuclear engineer.

    The proof he is intelligent doesn’t exist. I doubt we’ll be past the consequences of his stupidity in my lifetime.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  85. Fook, thought I changed that back already [good enough reason not to put on the sock (and/or not being funny)].

    Elmo (c0a8c4)

  86. As I recall the tale, Reagan had put forward a psyops campaign against Kaddafi, that included leaks of a joint Egyptian/American intervention, that was revealed by Bob Woodward, and ultimately derailed by Iran-Contra, then came the tanker war,
    and ultimately the Gulf War.

    On the British side, MI-6, had made contacts with members of the LFG, which were an early AQ affiliate to assasinate him, but that operation was aborted, and ultimately blown by Tomlinson

    narciso (b545d5)

  87. So what we have learned that BHL, that cooky French
    philosopher, really drove the discussion that led
    Sarkozy to intervene, that the core of the Libyan rebels are fmr?? AQ like Hasadi, and his protege, Yummu, an actual Gitmo detainee, released by the
    pressure of the Levick Group, and then released by Quaddafi himself, at the same time, he had bought up a good chunk of the British security establishment, (Dearlove, Allen) and American commentariat (Barber, Nye, Fukuyama, apparently
    the end of history had a paycheck attached)

    narciso (b545d5)

  88. Thomas Sowell makes some observations on what’s going on in Libya, and on the nature of leftard pols in general, and hits the nail squarely on the head, as he usually does…

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/263357/measuring-force-thomas-sowell

    Dave Surls (70848b)

  89. _____________________________________

    i>Thomas Sowell makes some observations on what’s going on in Libya

    I admire Sowell’s assessment of Obama and Libya in particular, Obama and his presidency in general. Straight to the point, very much 2+2=4, and so very sensible.

    I like the following comment that appears in the readers forum under Sowell’s essay:

    cmacrider, 03/30/11 00:42

    As a Canadian, I have a simple question for my American friends “if it was necessary to elect an African American as president as propriation for historical mistakes, why didn’t you elect Dr. Sowell??


    Attaching the issue of race to the race of a commentator like Sowell does bother me only because it seems somewhat patronizing. But not if one also realizes that the only “race” that far too many on the left care about is the race of, if you will, liberalism. IOW, if racial background and liberalism are detached from one another, the only thing progressives will care about is whether their liberal biases remain nurtured and loved. Even if that somehow ends up hurting black America, the left will say “c’est la vie.”

    Mark (411533)

  90. As far as I’m concerned, this congress can go down in history as the gutless wonder congress of 2011.

    J (2946f2)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 1.0858 secs.