A War We Don't Need

Why is America intervening in a Libyan civil war?

Contrary to pithy bumper-sticker truisms, war is occasionally the answer. But can anyone explain why it's the answer now? At the moment, at least, polls insist that Americans are generally supportive of the United States' intervening in the civil war now raging in Libya, so someone must have an ironclad case.

President Barack Obama pins his rationale for intervention on a "humanitarian threat." A noble cause, no doubt. It's too bad that the folks in old Darfur missed out on those laser-guided missiles American and French fighter jets deploy to help avert massacre and man-made hunger. Maybe the victims didn't say please. Maybe the city dwellers of Pyongyang will be more convincing.

But this mission is creeping. Only days after suggesting the goal wasn't to remove Moammar Gadhafi, the White House now says the objective is regime change and a democratic system. If the past decade has taught us anything, it's that democracy projects tend to be expensive, open-ended investments. So when we're invested without there being any perceivable threat to the United States and without our having had a debate or congressional deliberation on the topic—by a president who sprang to national prominence voicing exactly those grievances—it seems that we'd be more outraged or inquisitive or, at least, cautious.

When queried about military interventionism (thanks to Gene Healy at The Washington Examiner for the tip) before the 2008 election, in fact, Obama explained, "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."

No, he didn't affix the phrase "unless we see humanitarian threats" or "except if the French and British find some good reason."

Then again, maybe one of the problems is we now place too much stock in world opinion when making decisions. Democrats were so intensely focused on the lack of international support in Iraq that perhaps Obama confuses global approval with our interests. What's worse than letting your "allies" or the United Nations decide whether you can go to war? It's letting them tell you that you should go to war.

And when is that, exactly? The president hasn't said. Yemeni forces have fired on protesters. Syrian forces have shot down protesters. Security forces in Tunisia have killed protesters. Why no help for those freedom fighters? What happens when Saudi Arabia royals are forced to use violence to hold power? Or when Iran cracks down on another popular uprising? An argument can be made that stopping the Iranian autocracy would be more consequential to stability and peace than removing Gadhafi—even if he is a few dirham short of a dinar.

Do we even know that the insurgency we propel to victory will be successful in liberalizing Libya? Foreign policy is infested with black swans. When The New York Times asked Paul Sullivan, a Libya expert at Georgetown University, what we should expect, he answered: "It is a very important question that is terribly near impossible to answer. It could be a very big surprise when Gadhafi leaves and we find out who we are really dealing with." Comforting, no?

Is Libya more vital to our national interest than Iran or North Korea or the Kurds of Turkey? After recent experiences with conflict and social engineering, how can anyone believe we can effectively institute democracy in the Middle East? And how can so many Americans be so sure we're doing the right thing?

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post. Follow him on Twitter at davidharsanyi.

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  • Tim||

    What are we fighting for?
    -remove Qaddafi?
    -impose no fly zone?
    -blow up tanks?
    -protect Bengazi?

  • ||

    Why Libya and not other countries? Because it should be easy to beat? Because the leader is a well-known tyrant? Because we covet Leptis Magna?

  • M. Porcius Cato||

    Ceterum censeo Libyam esse delendam.

  • ||

    Which begs the question, why not Tunisia?

  • Warty||

    It already got delendaed, dude. Don't you read the news?

  • ||

    I meant when it was going on.

  • Warty||

    Well, then, we didn't get involved because Scipio Africanus is a scary dude. Seriously, don't piss him off.

  • ||

    I think we could beat him.

  • peachy||

    We wouldn't have beaten him once Polybius got done writing it up, though...

  • ||

    Are you saying that Polybius was unobjective and pro-Roman?

  • All we are saying...||

    ...is give despotism a chance.

  • H man||

    Why Libya? Two reasons one is pictures. The opposition was able to get pictures out of the attacks on them. We have a foreign policy based on what television is showing. The other reason is that it looked like the rebels were going to overthrow the government in a way that's not apparent in Iran and then Qaddafi was able to turn the tables on them. Americans like a happy ending.

  • ||

    Ah, I see.

  • Old Salt||

    If you're looking for a "happy ending" I suggest you watch a Disney movie or find a massage parlor otherwise it just ain't gonna happen.

    Which is exactly what my last "e-harmony" date told me...

  • ||

    cause e-harmony dates wanna get married which doesnt lead to happy endings. hence massage parlors

  • ||

    The only time I am ever likely to agree with you is now.

  • Cruz||

    You're a wise man

  • West Texas||

    The other reason is that it looked like the rebels were going to overthrow the government in a way that's not apparent in Iran and then Qaddafi was able to turn the tables on them. Americans like a happy ending.

    This is the truth right here. It's this simple.

  • DLM||

    You got it right the first time. Obama wants to make a name and is looking for the easiest kid on the block to push around. He doesn't even have as good a rationale as Bush had.

  • ||

    Maybe to protect Fugazi?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Qaddafi is a patient boy...

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    NO way, no way, no way, no way.

    Love that song.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I thought it was "I wait I wait I wait I wait"

  • Teve Torbes||

    yeah, sitting in the waiting room. I wait, I wait, I wait...

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    I stand corrected... I fail at remembering sonf lyrics I used to listed to 15-20 years ago.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    I also fail at typing apprently. : /

  • Chupacabra||

    I thought we were fighting to bring them universal health care?

  • sasob||

    And Social Security. If we can just get some more suckers contributors paying in, then both scams programs can be saved.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Honestly, I think Obama is bombing Libya precisely BECAUSE Libya is no real threat and BECAUSE we have no interest in it. It is an act of pure selfless charity to an oppressed people, and since no one can say that Obama was "after" something, no one can accuse him of self-interested imperialism. For the opposite reason, he gave no support at all to the protesters in Iran. Since the Iranian regime is an ACTUAL threat, it could be seen as crudely self-assertive and opportunistic to take advantage of a popular uprising against a ruler who actually seeks America's destruction.

    But hey, this is coming from a guy who thinks America actually SHOULD be crudely self-assertive, opportunistic and take advantage of popular uprisings against a rulers who seek America's destruction.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Fiscal Meth,

    Honestly, I think Obama is bombing Libya precisely BECAUSE Libya is no real threat and BECAUSE we have no interest in it.


    Are you suggesting he is merely being a run-of-the-mill bully?

    No! There must be some plan! Socialists don't even go to the crapper without a plan!

    Not that their plans ever work, but still...

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Socialists don't even go to the crapper without a plan!
    Not that their plans ever work, but still..."

    Are you saying socialists are all constipated?

  • ||

    No. If they don't have a plan, they just shit anywhere.

  • ||

    There isn't anything new or unconstitutional about this attack on Libya. And that's the problem: with such a long history of presidential uses of military power, it's difficult to argue against Obama's right as President to do what he is doing. Instead of whining about it, though, why not advocate a Constitutional solution, that is, an amendment which spells out (in ways the original text of the Constitution does not) the precise steps for authorizing force which is less than a full war. Strangely enough, I haven't seen anyone suggest this solution. I think it would almost certainly garner bipartisan support. But trying to argue that this situation hasn't been the status quo for nearly our entire history of a nation is getting very old with me. Bush at least got Congressional authorization and tried to convince people there were American interests at heart in Iraq. Unless we want this trend to continue, we need Constitutional authority to stop it. If Obama will use this Constitutional fuzziness, anyone will.

  • ||

    Congress gas the authority to this with out an amendment to the Constitution.

    Under Article 1, section 8, the congress has the power to:

    * Declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    * Make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    * To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Congress attempted to address this with the War Powers Resolution. I would agree that the resolution should be updated to provide clearer guidelines to determine when force can be used.

    We should withdraw from any international agreements that require military cooperation. Obama was able to slip past congress because the War Powers Resolution provides for "situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances". Article 45 of the UN charter states "in order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement action". This is how Obama will be able to argue that Libya presented a situation that required our "imminent involvement in hostilities".

  • ||

    Aren't we being lawyered to death already?

    I wish I could get this idea across to somebody!

    If you write a law that explicitly gives the President the right to use military force in certain circumstances without Congress declaring war?

    That will be an expansion of his power! ...not a circumscription!

    Using Congress to legitimize any president's power grab does not circumscribe the power of the president.

  • ||

    Unless, or course, congress has the constitutional authority to create laws that outline how the powers of the congress shall be executed, or to enact rules and regulations outlining when and how the military can be used.

    It may not be the smartest thing to do, but the Constitution does give congress the power to delegate anyone of their powers.

  • ||

    Um no it doesn't. A power once delegated unless there is a provision to do so may not be re-delegated.
    Thanks for your ignorance though. Another reminder of why our country is lost.

  • ||

    americans like the fog of war so NO to ur clarity.

  • ||

    I'm just curious... What do you do with the energy you save by communicating the word "your" through two keystrokes instead of four?

  • ||

    use the 2 keystrikes to type "fu"

  • ||

    B

  • db||

    It's amazing what 2 strokes will do for Orrin.

  • ||

    A+

  • ||

    ok that's funny

  • Pro Liberace||

    A winrar is you!

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    it's difficult to argue against Obama's right as President to do what he is doing

    No it's pretty easy. See old Obama comments. He was right then, he is wrong now.

  • ||

    It is difficult to argue against Obama, though, since he has contradicted himself consistently, in so many areas.

  • Rich||

    he has contradicted himself consistently, in so many areas

    Doesn't that make it *easy* to argue against him?

  • cbmclean||

    Ern's point was that precedent all the way back to Thomas freaking Jefferson seems to be on Obama's side (although I am unsure what sort of Congressional authorization, if any, TJ got before he sent the Marines to the shores of Tripoli). Ergo, if we want to stop this sort of thing, we have to amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit. Perhaps something along the lines of not allowing any use of force for ANY reason (except REACTIVE self-defense) without a Congressional declaration of war. Of course, that stuff starts to get fuzzy when you start talking about fighting non-state actors like Al-Quaeda etc, but at least its a start.

  • jkp||

    Jefferson's conduct in the Barbary Wars was, pace Obama, consistently respectful of Congress' war power, if the Wikipedia is correct.

    From the Wikipedia, First Barbary War:

    "Immediately prior to Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, Congress passed naval legislation that, among other things, provided for six frigates that 'shall be officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct.' . . . In the event of a declaration of war on the United States by the Barbary powers, these ships were to 'protect our commerce & chastise their insolence — by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them.'"[14] On Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha (or Bashaw) of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the new administration. (In 1800, Federal revenues totaled a little over $10 million.) Putting his long-held beliefs into practice, Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, in May 1801, the Pasha declared war on the U.S., not through any formal written documents but in the customary Barbary manner of cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate. Algiers and Tunis did not follow their ally in Tripoli.

    In response, "Jefferson sent a small force to the area to protect American ships and citizens against potential aggression, but insisted that he was 'unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.'"[14] He told Congress: "I communicate [to you] all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of this important function confided by the Constitution to the Legislature exclusively their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.'"[14] Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed American vessels to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli "and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify."

  • sasob||

    chastise their insolence

    That has a nice ring to it. Hopefully the American People will see fit to chastise Obama's insolence come 2012.

  • ||

    There is no "Constitutional fuzziness". Nowhere in the Constitution is the president given the authority to start a war.

    Aside from that, any rule that is established will be broken with utter impunity. The notion that this country is a "democracy" or a "republic" is wishful thinking.

  • db||

    Even if an Amendment were necessary to clarify this (it isn't, for reasons F2B states, above), there is absolutely no way it would pass. Congress is way too happy to shirk this responsibility. They would much rather have a strong leader in the Executive Branch tell them what to do and then demagogue the pros or cons later, during the next campaign cycle. They absolutely do not want to have to hold a serious debate on starting a war, much less take firm action either for or against.

  • ||

    I (congress) was for the war before I was against it. I was also against the war before I was for it. I was both for and against the war before I was against and for the war.
    And finally, please insert every possible caveat for every possible exigency for both for and against.
    And than pulse in a blender for 30 minutes.

  • The Fringe Economist||

    doesn't matter, they'd pass some other bill for emergencies that ignore everything in the constitution

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Whenever I see that guy I think he should be selling expensive rugs or marble flooring in Westwood.

    "For you my friend I give good price."

    Later, after the sale: "No dog food for Muammar tonight!"

  • Greer||

    I'm just thinking that no head of state should be as ugly as that motherfucker

  • Doktor Zombie||

    C'mon, it's not his fault that his mouth is upside down.

  • Come on now||

    He does sport some of the best-looking uniforms of any leader.

  • Ice Nine||

    I pretty sure he used to be an extra in Sergio Leone movies.

  • Dead Michael Jackson||

    I agree!

  • ||

    Wait, that isn't you?

  • ||

    I think he's on the Sergeant Pepper's cover.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I thought it was the missing Bee Gee. The one they kept in the attic. Not sure why they didn't keep Robin up there too.

  • creech||

    I don't want to argue, I want to impeach the son of a bitch.

  • ||

    impeachment's one thing. conviction's another. keep us posted

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: OhioOrrin,

    impeachment's one thing. conviction's another. keep us posted


    Who's asking for a conviction? Tarring and feathering would suffice, thank you very much.

  • Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi ||

    Ha, dog, you'll never impeach me!

  • ||

    Kick Obama's ass all the way to the lecture circuit, so he can earn half a mil per speech.

    Poor bastard.

  • Paul||

    On my way home last night, Renee Montagne on NPR was a bit aghast as to the administration's responses when trying to ascertain our mission in Libya.

    During an interview with some administration official (I came into the middle of it) she was asking about the whos, whats, whens and hows, and when she got to the 'who' question as in who are we protecting, the administration official said (and I'm parapharasing), "Several officials, Sec. Clinton and others have spoken to him..."

    Renee Montagne actually did a 'radio doubletake' and asked, "Him? Like, one guy?

    Administration official: Uh, well, yeah, it is one person but...

    Renee Montagne: One person?

    Official: Well yeah, but he's been picked as a representative by the rebels.

  • ||

    They're talking about me. I represent the rebels. Not that I've ever been to Libya.

  • Ky Voter||

    I heard the whole thing. That "administration official" was John Kerry. Yep.

  • Paul||

    Ah, thanks for that.

  • Lurch||

    Reporting for duty!
    *salute*

  • Swiftly.||

  • Ice Nine||

    That is quit too philosophically befuddling, I'm afraid.

  • Ky Voter||

  • Jess Asken||

    Is his code name "Knuckle Ball"?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Knuckle Head, maybe.

  • ||

    Wow! You even SUGGEST that we stop flowing NPR government money, and they stop sounding like Pravda, just a little.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If you missed it this past Sunday, check out the most recent edition of "On the Media" with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. They analyzed the age-old question of whether NPR had a liberal bias. They had Ira Glass on, and he insisted that no way, NPR of course did not have a liberal bias.

  • ||

    Well, if Ira says so, who am I to disagree?

  • ||

    His glasses give him authority.

  • ||

    They do, of course, have a liberal bias, but an even stronger NPR bias is towards statism and the idea that the Beltway is the Center of the Universe.

  • DJF||

    They do have disagreements, between those who think that the center of the universe is the beltway and those who think it is located at the UN.

  • ||

    Not as irrational as you think. Just ask any cosmologist. The universe appears the same in all directions, so any place appears to be the center.

  • ||

    There isn't anything new or unconstitutional about this attack on Libya.

    Even if it isn't new, that doesn't mean its Constitutional. By 1950, Jim Crow laws and school segregation weren't new either, but that didn't mean they were Constitutional.

    the precise steps for authorizing force which is less than a full war.

    I continue to be mystified by the notion that attacking a foreign countries armed forces and bombing its capitol is somehow not a war.

  • ||

    Constitutional or not, does the US need a fourth war right now?

  • affenkopf||

    What's the third? Pakistan?

  • Rich||

    *A* third is the War on Drugs.

  • ||

    The Korean War?

  • ||

    The War On Obesity.

  • ||

    The War on Teabaggers.

  • jkp||

    Don't forget the War on Christmas and the War on Cancer. There was a war on poverty, too, but I think that was lost about the same time as Vietnam.

  • The War on Airline Passengers||

  • DJF||

    Don’t forget our bombing missions in Yemen.

  • Virginia||

    Krugman said it's for broken windows 'n shit.

  • ||

    pan am 103. pay-back's a bitch

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Virgina,
    With Krugnuts, everything good comes from broken windows.

  • ||

    I don't see the point on getting hung up on the use of the word "war" in any resolution authorizing force. OK, I do see the point, but no one is arguing that their is a difference between "war" and "force". We know that they are one in the same.

    Under a formal "declaration of war", the US military becomes subject to international law in way that it wouldn't under a formal "authorization to use force".

    I can get over not using the word war, but I think that the an "authorization to use force" needs a stronger legal definition, making the term analogous to "war" without having to use the word "war."

  • jkp||

    You're correct - Congress can always issue a resolution okaying the use of force, which is called an imperfect declaration of war. GWB got this before Afghanistan and Iraq, GHWB did likewise before the Kuwait War, and LBJ did this after the Gulf of Tonkin. Congress gave those Presidents authority to conduct military actions without a formal declaration of war. And in the case of Vietnam/Indochina, Congress exercised its war power by restricting the President's authority, specifically limiting his ability to deploy forces/use airpower in Cambodia and Laos, for example.

    Notably absent was Harry S. Truman in Korea. WJC also failed to do this before the Kosovo War and Desert Fox. Of course, neither of them were Constitutional Law scholars - one would expect a Constitutional Law scholar to do better.

  • cbmclean||

    By 1950, Jim Crow laws and school segregation weren't new either, but that didn't mean they were Constitutional.

    Since Brown wasn't decided until 1954 Jim Crow was Constitutional in 1950.

  • Dylan||

    The supreme court hasn't declared that you exist yet, therefore you don't exist.

  • Cruz||

    It's not a war until John McCain drops a bomb on a child. Until then it's a police action.

  • ||

    Lincoln asked if a dog's tail was a leg, how many legs would a dog have?

    "I continue to be mystified by the notion that attacking a foreign countries armed forces and bombing its capitol is somehow not a war."

    You are probably unaware that our cruise missiles have been rejiggered, and now contain only rainbow colored unicorns, passing peace farts, that make everybody love everybody and break into spontaneous renditions of "YMCA"

  • ||

    You know, in that uniform, the Colonel would find it easy to get gigs as part of the chorus in Pirates of Penzance.

  • ||

    He looks like an apartment building doorman just back from a bender.

  • ||

    I'm hoping for a Village People reunion tour, myself.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    he does look like the very model of a modern major general, doesn't he?

  • ||

    Remember, he is a colonel - if he were a general, you wouldn't be able to see him.

  • ||

    "Contrary to pithy bumper-sticker truisms, war is occasionally the answer."

    Oh, ok, well that settles it, then. David Harsanyi has declared that war is sometimes necessary.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    It was pretty necessary to establish the US as an independent country. It was also pretty necessary to stop the expansion of Germany and Japan.

  • ||

    dont forget us

  • ||

    It's not a war until troops hit the ground.
    Right now it's an action. Or missile-testing scenario. Or justification to continue funding the military at astronomical levels in perpetuity.
    Or something. But it's not a war.

  • ||

    inventory rotation. the tomahawk 1's were expended to make room for the 2's.

  • ||

    Damned annual inventory tax. They really should exempt the military.

  • .||

    Since many of the components of the Tomahawks are made in Japan, there may not be any "2's" for awhile - what with Japan's present difficulties.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Bullshit. When we send in how many cruise missiles? And drop how many bombs?

    When Japan did that to Pearl Harbor, it rightly was recognized as an act of war and Congress and the president responded accordingly.

  • ||

    Once again, the magical "boots on the ground" formulation.

    Just as if, say, Canada decided to bomb Maine. Wouldn't be war until that first Canadian solider step over the border.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    As a Mainer, I welcome our new maple-scented overlords. This state needs a good poutine.

  • ||

    there is a joke buried somewhere in here about Khaddafi's female bodyguards and "pants on the ground" instead of boots......

  • ||

    Desert booties call?

  • sevo||

    jcalton|3.23.11 @ 12:40PM|#
    "It's not a war until troops hit the ground."

    Pretty sure Nixon tried floating this one about bombing Cambodia.
    No reason it should work now, either.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Well, war IS sometimes necessary. We did fight a war of independence, right? We also liberated Europe from Hitler. However, when it comes to Libya there is no excuse.

    #1. US troops should NEVER be under the command of the United Nations. I am not a citizen of the United Nations, neither are our troops.

    #2. CONGRESS should authorize our wars.

    #3. Bring back the concept of "spoils of war." If we're going to spend our money invading someone else, let's make some money in the process. It's time for Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for their freedom.

    OBAMA VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION WITH THIS WAR.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....-with.html

  • Rich||

    Bring back the concept of "spoils of war."

    Kudos for using the proper term.

  • Bratted Spoil||

    IAW pithy bumper-sticker truisms, "Nuke their ass and take the gas."

  • ||

    Or, gas, grass or ass, nobody rides for free.

  • ||

    Twelve empty missile tubes, a mushroom-shaped cloud, now it's Miller time.

  • affenkopf||

    It's time for Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for their freedom.

    Which freedom?

  • ||

    shut-up & hand over the gold, spices, n drugs fool

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Gregory Smith,

    We also liberated Europe from Hitler.


    To be clear, the U.S. liberated Europe for Stalin and the Comintern.

  • Cruz||

    Hey didn't we liberate europe from a stalemate and forced the Germans into the worst treaty in european history? Didn't we pretty much ensure Germany would have no recourse but military action in future years and the destruction of the currency by taking their precious metals? Didn't we also help ensure the creation of the middle east? Yah war was just what we needed.

    Congress authorizes war? Or declares war?

  • Virginia||

    I'd settle for prima nocta as justification if this were eastern Europe... but northern fucking Africa? Who are we now, the Dutch?

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    Vandaag zijn wij Nederlands allen.

  • ||

    nee, ich bin ein berliner

  • Imperialist||

    I've always preferred that we would work our way down through Mexico and Central America on the way to the oil in Venezuela. But if we're going to take over all of Northern Africa and the Middle East, we should at least be open about our intentions.

  • ||

    If I were going to enlist in the American Foreign Legion, I'd really prefer the food down there to what I'd get in Africa and, to a degree, the Middle East.

  • ||

    wait a sec, u dont like hummis, spiced dates, & shiskaboobs?

  • ||

    shiksa boobs?

  • ||

    When playing the board game "Risk" I always found the key to world domination was first to owning Australia. The rest is easy.

  • ||

    Only because the people you played with didn't understand strategy.

  • ||

    Because we can.

  • anarch||

    Serious and lighter approaches, each fine.

    Helmet-tip to Lew (who doesn't agree with much else his sources promote).

  • Max||

    I wonder how Harsanyi feels about the underwriting Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Really, just wondering.

  • jtuf||

    Max, the only building settlements we are funding in the West Banks are the ones the PA builds with my tax dollars. America really should stop funding the PA.

  • Old Mexican||

    Love some red herring in the morning,
    Love some red herring in the night!

    With lentils and sausage,
    with cream and wine!

    Love some red herring all the time!

  • jtuf||

    A War We Don't Need

    That's the entire point. From the Leftist perspective, a war we don't need is well worth the sacrifice, because it is an opportunity to brag about how selfless we are.

  • ||

    yep there's nothing in it for us so lose the dogs of war babieeee !!!!!

  • jkp||

    It's always disturbing when Ayn Rand is proven right by events. :-(

  • Perfect opportunity...||

    ...no one would object to the R majority voting to cut funding for Obama's Bloody Adventures, right?

  • Perfect opportunity...||

    Something the D majority never got around to doing for Bush's Bloody Adventures.

  • ||

    It has been interesting listening to my libtard acquaintances explain to me why it's okay when their guy uses the military.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Nooge,
    For humanitarian purposes, Nooge, what else? The reason to applaud the use of force to blow brown people to bits is humanitarian reasons - the Obamaphilics are good with that.

  • MNG||

    "The reason to applaud the use of force to blow brown people to bits is humanitarian reasons"

    This is utterly simplistic considering they they are blowing some brown people to bits in an attempt to get those brown people to stop blowing other brown people to bits...I'm curious OM, if a police officer shoots a person that is attempting to murder another person is that officer acting in a bllodthirsty, immoral way?

  • ||

    Depends on the political affiliation of said police officer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    I'm curious OM, if a police officer shoots a person that is attempting to murder another person is that officer acting in a bl[o]odthirsty, immoral way?


    How does the police officer know the person is attempting to murder the other person? What if each is attempting to murder each other for ownership of the house dog. How does the officer know which one to shoot?

    We're not talking about a clear perpetrator here, we're talking about a civil war and the US choosing sides. Whatever one may think of Qadaffi, MNG, there are people that genuinely support him and are fighting for him. Who is any of us to indicte THEM?

  • Secret Travel Agent||

    MNG, you're a paranoid bigot, you have no business weighing in on matters of race. Anything you say on the matter instantly cancels out.

  • ||

    It's that these are people who were frothing at the mouth with rage when we went into Afghanistan and Iraq. I never supported Iraq (I did Afghanistan, but mission creep of course bit me in the ass), but I wasn't enraged by it. I disagreed. My friends were calling for impeachment and removal of office.

    Now I'm getting lectured on how using the military to shoot missiles at Libya is so much different and better than what we've done in Iraq and Afghanistan and how I'm so wrong to oppose military action there. Blows my fucking mind.

  • ||

    *er, removal from office.

  • ||

    Yeah, OM, that's what they're telling me. Giving people the chance to have freedom. But I remember GWB droning on about freedom, and libtards didn't care. If they would just admit to me that it's because their guy used the military, I probably wouldn't even care- but they keep spinning and rationalizing.

  • MNG||

    Well many on the left are upset about this. But yes not as many, but that is to be expected considering that at the moment there are some big differences between this and Iraq...

  • ||

    Yeah: Gaddafi gave up his WMD program clearly and definitively and has not used poison gas on his own people.

    But if you are going to try and justify this on the basis of violent and cruel suppression of a rebellion, tell me if you think that, when the Shias rebelled after GW1, the forces then present in Kuwait should have protected the rebels? (I've always felt a little sick about the way Bush the Elder tacitly encouraged them to rebel then stood by while Saddam Hussein massacred 300,000 people.)

  • sasob||

    That was one of the very few times in my life I have ever actually felt ashamed of my country. Bush the Elder was/is a hypocritical son of a bitch. I've always thought the man was a prick - even way back when he was seeking the Republican nomination against Reagan.

  • Secret Travel Agent||

    Clinton shares that blame too. He had opportunities to whack Saddam and support the Kurds but sold them out to keep foreign countries and their UN food-for-oil scam running.

  • MNG||

    I still don't get why a minarchist who would support having a tax funded police department to intervene to protect the rights of someone surrounded and attacked by thugs but not support a tax funded military strike to aid a foriegner in similar peril. I thought this nation stuff was 'lines on a map?'

  • MNG||

    Don't get me wrong, I can understand a minarchist being opposed because all too often "war is the health of the state" and because it leads to entangling alliances and hatreds that can cause blowback and also because we very likely will make things worse, but it strikes me that if minarchist libertarianism is about more than just "hey don't touch my stuff" then protecting and promoting liberty based rights of all people would not be off the table.

  • Imperialist||

    Because police forces cover a certain jurisdication and are funded by the residents of that jurisdication. Do you really expect the residents of Illinois to fund roving police units to protect the people of Iowa?

    Since the civil war in Libya is an internal matter for Libyeans, they are not our problem.

  • MNG||

    If the residents of Iowa were being overwhelmed I might think the Illini might come to their aid.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But what if the (U. of Iowa) Hawkeyes were being overwhelmed by the (Iowa State) Cyclones? Hmmm? (Serious point, by way.)

  • MNG||

    Iowa State? The can't overwhelm anybody.

  • Fred Hoiberg||

    How quickly they forget.

  • MNG||

    Well, we are willing members of international organizations that have jurisdiction over these humanitarian crises.

    More importantly, should jurisdictional matters trump the prmotion and protection of basic libert rights for someone who calls themselves a "libertarian?"

  • Imperialist||

    Bullshit!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    It might be possible to construct a scenario whereby using American military power is clearly going to, on balance, benefit basic human rights (whether or not I agree with using the military to do so).

    But Libya is not that scenario.

  • ||

    What fantasy world do you live in? Nobody has "jurisdiction" over anything.

  • Secret Travel Agent||

    Be careful, you're a bigot MNG. You have no capacity to appreciate jurisdictions or international scenarios, because your brain is clouded with psychotic racial delusions. No quarter for you.

    What you should be doing is washing your Klan outfit, and working yourself into a frenzy over whatever group has maligned you with easter candy.

  • Imperialist||

    You mean if the Govenor of Iowa declared a state of emergency and requested assistance from neighboring states they might actually come help? Sure why not.

    So far as I can tell, Gaddafyduck has not requested support from the international community to quell the rebellion of the population of Libya against the sovereign state of Libya.

    So the decision by the UN to blow the shit out of the sovereign state of Libya to protect the rebellion is pretty much totally irrelvant to police crossing state lines to help in emergencies.

    So save the bullshit, you dishonest prick.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah. But if the Hawkeyes were getting the shit kicked out of them by the Cylones, then obviously the Illini, (sharing the values and worldview of the Big 10) would come to the aid of the good guys, whoever was nominally in charge.

  • MNG||

    Wow, you are defending the legitimate sovriegnty of the Libyan regime and calling other people's comments bullshit?

    Wow.

  • Imperialist||

    Since Libya was given a seat on the UN security council 2007, I assume this means the world in general believes that governemt of Libya is legitimate.

    Civils wars occur all over the world. As far as I know, the UN doesn't routinely call for member nations to bomb the shit out of the governments of nations suffering from civil war.

    So the whole fucking action is illegitimate. And I say this as someone that sees the rational for considering conquest to be legitimate behavior.

  • MNG||

    I mean if the Governor of Iowa dissolved the state legislature, courts and constitution declaring himself king for like and went on a reign of terror over Iowans you would oppose the intervention by neighboring states because it would violate the sovriegnty of Iowa?

    Jesus you are stupid.

  • Imperialist||

    Here is the standard MNG shuffle -- It's just a jump to the left, with hands up, And a step to the right, With you hands on your hips, and then your get from traditional police functions to the total breakdown of civillian government Iowa.

    I know you are not that stupid, so I firmly believe you are being dishonest when you come here and make these arguments.

  • ||

    Under the US constitution the other states could come to the aid of Iowans.

    Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

  • Arizona||

    and shall protect each of them against Invasion

    ??? You don't say?

  • ||

    shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government

  • cynical||

    I don't think most minarchists would support having their tax funded police department sail off overseas because they heard there were criminals there, so what's your point?

    For police not to become corrupt, they must obey the rules that give them power and which they enforce. Jurisdiction is one of those rules -- police are delegated power by the people of an area, to enforce the laws of that area. Qaddafi might be a tyrant, but Obama is just as unelected and unaccountable to them (and just as likely to harm Libyan citizens).

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    "And how can so many Americans be so sure we're doing the right thing?"

    Easy, blind stupidity. Whether it's willful or not makes no difference.

  • ||

    It's time for Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for their freedom.


    1) I don't recall them asking for it.

    2) What freedom?

  • Tim||

    BTW;
    Nice photo of Qadaffi : it looks like somebody drew a face on a one nut scrotum.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Somebody has to say it: "One Nut Scrotum" would be a good name for a band.

  • ||

    Two egregious errors prevail in these comments. (1) The U.S. President has no inherent authority to use military force against anyone, anytime; (2) if the Congress declares war, the U.S. military are no more under "international law" than they are before such a declaration.

    One: Only Congress may declare war and based upon the practice of the 18th Century, that means no military action, period. See the Constitution, Article I, Section 8. The War Powers Act only authorizes the President to take military action under one of three circumstances without prior Congressional approval, but he must within 30 days thereafter give Congress a report and seek a resolution approving his actions. To make not too fine a point of it: there is no Constitutional authority to order the U.S. military to attack another nation which has taken no military action against the U.S. Sorry for the cry-babies, but Libya killing people who are in rebellion against the lawful government of that nation does not legally justify an act of war by the U.S.

    Two: No treaty of any sort is binding upon any U.S. citizen until and unless it is adopted by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Once a treaty is so approved, it is a part of U.S. law, to the extent and on the subjects which it covers. No U.S. military are subject to any law other than that of the U.S. expressed in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is a federal statute.

    Impeachable offense? It is my opinion that, taken together with the President's other evasions and usurpations of established law, it is and that together they constitute "high crimes and misdemeanors" sufficient to warrant impeachment and conviction. But, stop and think: do you really want Joe Biden to be President of the U.S.? I mean, really, really, really?????

  • ||

    Alas, statists aren't much for following the Constitution--yeah, the same document that established the state they worship so much--or any consistent principles of any sort.

    You see, following principles is not "pragmatic". In other words, anything that inconveniently gets in the way of their whims is to be discarded (although it can be retrieved in the future if it is "pragmatic" to do so, say for campaign rhetoric, e.g. what Obama the candidate said about the president not having the authority to do what Obama the president just did).

  • creech||

    President Biden, what a hoot that would be!

  • ||

    Article 1 section 8 grants congress the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

    The Constitution does not outline how congress must execute it's powers, instead it grants congress the power to determine how to execute their power. If congress choses to delegate one of those powers to another entity in the government, as long as it is written in law, it is with in the constitutional authority of congress to do so.

    The constitution does not state in what way or what situations the military can be used, only that congress alone has the power to create laws regulating the military. This includes making law as when and how the President, as commander in chief, can command the armed forces. If the congress feels it is necessary and proper to allow the President some discretion, they can do so.

  • ||

    The "necessary and proper" clause cannot be interpreted as expanding Congressional power beyond the limits set out in the specific delegation sections which preceed it. To do so would defeat the purpose of specifying what Congress may do, as such an interpretation would remove any limitations on Congressional powers. So, wrong there.

    Your second paragraph is wrong, as a matter of law. Congress may not delegate any of its powers to another branch of government. To do so would be in violation of a fundamental principle of American government, namely, the separation of powers doctrine. The powers of government were divided into three separate branches, selected by different methods and having varying terms of office, etc, in order to prevent a dictatorship, that is, one person exercising all powers of government.

    Your third paragraph is wrong in that the constitution says that only Congress may declare war. The provisions of the Constitution, in order to make sense, have to be read in the context of the time and place in which they were written. "War" was any use of military force by one nation against another. (That one hasn't changed, by the way, we've just been poorly educated about it.) The President always commands the armed forces, per the Constitution; he doesn't need Congressional action to make that so. What the Constitution requires is that Congress authorize the President to use military force against another nation. The War Powers Act is precisely a law which grants the President 'some discretion', but still requires that his actions be based upon the existance of specified circumstances and subject to Congressional approval. It is not an unqualified grant of authority to make war without Congressional approval/authority. To do that would be to violate the separation of powers doctrine and would defeat the purpose of having three branches of government.

    When I say "wrong" here, I don't mean you're stupid or anything of the sort, nor that I disagree with you (alhthough I do). Rather, I mean that you are mistaken in your interpretation of the meaning of those provisions of the Constitution.

  • Beep||

    For those unsure how to complain, this may help.

  • ||

    Since Brown wasn't decided until 1954 Jim Crow was Constitutional in 1950.

    This isn't the time for a debate about whether absolutely everything is constitutional until SCOTUS says it isn't, but my position is that Jim Crow and desegregation were never Constitutional, even before SCOTUS finally issued a decision saying so.

  • Tony||

    And to what authority do you appeal to base this on?

  • ||

    So, if the Marshall Court had never ruled against it, you would have been OK with Jackson's expulsion of the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears?

  • Tony||

    No, and that's not an answer.

  • ||

    It is an answer. Remember Jackson's response: "Let Justice Marshall enforce his decision."

    A law is not unconstitutional because the SCOTUS says so. The SCOTUS observes that a law is unconstitutional and says so.

  • Tony||

    What's the difference?

  • sasob||

    Aresen is correct. I would think the Justices would be highly incensed at any suggestion that their saying so is what makes a law constitutional - any suggestion that the Law is not objectively independent of their personal opinion of it.

  • Tony||

    Then why do we need them?

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.23.11 @ 5:56PM|#
    "Then why do we need them?"

    So we don't have to rely on fools like you.

  • cynical||

    Why do you need a doctor to tell you what the appropriate medical course of action is when you come in with an ailment? It is what it is, regardless of his advice.

    The Supremes are supposed to be experts in interpreting the Constitution. But expertise doesn't guarantee results, especially once pride and prejudice enter the picture.

  • ||

    ...and desegregation were never Constitutional,...

    I think you mean "segregation".

  • ||

    I still don't get why a minarchist who would support having a tax funded police department to intervene to protect the rights of someone surrounded and attacked by thugs but not support a tax funded military strike to aid a foriegner in similar peril.

    Because a minarchist state has duties to its own citizens, not to unaffiliated foreigners.

    Really, why is this so hard to understand?

  • ||

    anti-war hippie shit.

  • ||

    Consider this historical hypothetical: it is 1961 and the Civil War is blazing. President Lincoln has said that he will stick at nothing to 'preserve the Union'. The Confederacy refuses to yield and has, in fact, won some significant military victories. One fine day, British, French, Prussian and Imperial Russian forces land along the eastern coast of the U.S. and demand that President Lincoln resign and submit himself to a trial before a tribunal of those nations' jurists and that his prosecution of "innocent civilians" cease. What is that? Just what we're doing in Libya. It's a civil war - no matter which side (if any) we believe to be 'right', it is a conflict between the lawful government and people in rebellion against it. Just as the situation in the spring of 1861, in the United States.

    As a matter of pragmatic policy, the U.S. doesn't have enough resources - military, civilian, money, you name it - to intervene on the side of 'right' in all of the world's conflicts, certainly not in all of the world's internal conflicts. Forget, for the moment, about figuring out who is 'right' and just consider the practical. What interest of the United States as a nation is advanced by this attack on a nation which has not attacked us nor any of our allies?

  • ||

    ooops ... for "1961" read "1861". Not enough coffee to even be in the correct century, there.

  • Mr. Mark||

    "Why is America intervening in a Libyan civil war?"

    Because our management is retarded.

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