Libya

Candidate Obama Says President Obama's War Is Unconstitutional

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Critics of President Obama's unilateral decision to intervene in Libya's civil war note that it seems to contradict a position he took when he was running for president. In a December 2007 survey of presidential candidates, Obama 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 Wall Street Journal summarizes the Obama administration's response: 

The White House said the president's actions don't contradict his earlier views, noting that the president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers regarding Libya before any action took place.

A senior administration official said that the 2007 comment envisioned "an invasion like we saw in Iraq. A mission of this kind, which is time-limited, well-defined, and discrete, clearly falls within the President's constitutional authority."

Seriously? Meeting with a few legislators is not, by any stretch of the imagination, equivalent to obtaining congressional authorization. As for the unnamed administration official's claim that Obama's 2007 statement dealt with "an invasion like we saw in Iraq," it is clearly not true. Here is the question Obama was answering:

In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites—a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

In other words, Obama was contemplating a scenario much like the current one in Libya, where the U.S. responds to "a situation that does not involve stopping an imminent threat" with air strikes aimed at destroying particular targets but rules out an invasion (as required not only by public opinion but by the U.N. Security Council resolution that Obama cites as his legal authority). The major difference is that the Iran scenario involves a potential (though hypothetical and distant) threat to U.S. national security, whereas Libya's civil war does not—making the case for unilateral executive action even weaker.

See my column tomorrow for more on Obama's dangerously open-ended rationale for his war of choice.

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204 responses to “Candidate Obama Says President Obama's War Is Unconstitutional

  1. A mission of this kind, which is time-limited, well-defined, and discrete…

    I’m guessing this guy never heard the term “mission creep.”

  2. Ok i am looking for a Mr Ken Shultz…

    Paging Mr Ken Shultz.

    Apologize for spelling.

    1. Those of you who want Congress to declare war, you shouldn’t be asking yourselves whether the president’s authority should be circumscribed by Congress’ power to declare war…

      The question you should be asking yourselves is whether you want the president to have a free hand to commit troops and make us responsible for Libya for generations to come–by Congress declaring war.

      Congress voting to give the president a ton of more power? Doesn’t circumscribe the power of the president.

      1. But it does act as a check against it.

        1. Are there any other examples you can think of where Congress voting to give the president more power has meant a check on the president?

          It’s a fantasy world, the one where Congress stands up to the president when he wants to make war, and the president backs down. In the real world, the president can’t commit our troops to Libya or tons of our treasure–because he doesn’t have Congressional authorization.

          That’s how the check really works!

          The president can’t commit our troops or treasure because he doesn’t have Congressional authorization. If he goes after that authorization and gets it? That will not circumscribe his power! Quite the opposite.

          I tend to be kinda pragmatic about things, and… Would it really be better if we were bogged down in Libya for a generation–but at least the president had the Congressional backing to bog us into some horrific quagmire?

          I don’t think so. I’d rather the president couldn’t commit troops to Libya or much in the way of treasure! …and isn’t that the way it is right now without a Congressional authorization?

          If the way it is right now–sans Congressional authorization–then just explain this: how would getting an authorization improve the situation we’re in right now?

          Your “check” seems more like a risk of expanding executive power to me!

          1. This is probably the best explanation you have written on the subject.

            Thank you Ken I am not sure I agree (or disagree) but you have given me something to think about.

            1. harumph, harumph! i agree, bully!

          2. I did not need a declaration of war to launch an air attack either.

          3. I find it unbelievable that so many of you are so willing to accept the fact that the POTUS just crapped on each and every one of you as well as the Constitution of the United States. Virtually everything he has done since taking office has betrayed and undermined the people of the United States. President Obama is a traitorous criminal.

  3. It’s gonna be an awful lot of fun during the upcoming campaign to watch Obama try and worm his way out of the dumptruck full of hypocritical BS he’s piled on top of him for the last couple years.

    I’ve personally been amazed at the number of tried and true lefties I know that have lost all hope in this guy.

    Good times.

    1. Who is going to call Obama on this stuff? Magazines almost nobody reads, like reason, National Review, and the Nation? Obama is not going to have to worm out of anything.

      1. Listen Mitch, I’ve been listening to these dumbfucks rationalize away everything for two years now and I’m not about to let you harsh my mellow.

        I’m going to enjoy my schadenfreude as much as I can right now.

        But GODDAMMITSOMUCH you are probably right.

        Stupid media.

        1. For instance, here’s a preview-

          -from comments to the TNR thread “How The Left Got Libya Wrong” – http://www.tnr.com/article/wor…..dium=email

          “There is a widespread belief among the foreign policy chattering class in this country that the U.S. only really shows “leadership” when it gets out in front and tells everyone else what to do. But that hasn’t worked so well. President Obama has a new model for U.S. leadership, which involves waiting for situations to develop where U.S. leadership is possible and desirable. In this case, the prospect of massive civilian casualties was the necessary precursor to forging something like an international consensus at the U.N.

          I remain deeply skeptical about this intervention, but I cannot but admire the patient way President Obama went about lining up the UN support for what is being done now. The sort of sober, careful consideration President Obama gives to matters like this demonstrates, yet again, how far more suited he is to the job he holds than Senator John McCain — or the “bomb first and ask questions later” crowd which dominates TNR and the foreign policy commentariat in this country.

          President Obama did NOT wait too long. If intervention was going to happen, he moved at precisely the correct time. The rank amateurs who dominate national security discussion at places like TNR, Fox News and the Weekly Standard have no idea what they are talking about and, as usual, remain stubbornly unwilling to admit their own past mistakes or learn anything from them.”

          1. TNR? The New Republic? Or Nat Review. I’m assuming the latter as the times I’ve been over to the Nat. site I don’t recall a short three letter URL, and I’m not gonna follow the link.

            However, TNR has supported the start of every war since WWI, so why would they break that track record now. There is a ring in Hell former TNR editors inhabit. Cowley can’t wait to finally meet you Peretz.

            1. It’s The New Republic.

      2. Honestly the main advantage President Obama had during his run for office was that he had no track record. He could promise the moon and there really was no way to disprove his rhetoric. McCain failed miserably at attacking him because there was no record and the public didn’t give a damn about McCain’s “experience” as a senator. Now the situation is different. The independents who voted Democrat last time and were the key to victory will now be quite willing to listen if the Republicans can field a candidate who doesn’t seem like a right-wing nut who can bring those issues to light and continually hammer on them right through November. I can’t imagine the public will buy “it was the Republicans’ fault” when the Democrats had both houses of Congress. It’ll take some serious rhetorical wizardry for the President to win another term in office. Either that or the Republicans stay true to form and nominate someone who has the raw charisma of a pothole or is slightly more of a zealot than Jesse Helms used to be.

  4. I understand the idea of presidents being able to use force without Congressional authorization to deal with imminent threats to U.S. territory. Like if the Germans attacked one of our bases in Germany.

    But for something like this, I don’t see how it’s remotely legal without Congressional authorization (leaving aside the question of whether formal declarations of war are needed).

    1. No, if the Krauts attacked a US base in Krautbleckistan, I would want Obama to get authorization not only from Congress, but also every state assembly, municipal steering committee and high school student council in the land before he could react. He would have to start by carefully explaining why the US has military bases in other countries to begin with.

      If the Jerries bombed New Jersey OTOH, he could do what he needed to do.

      1. If the Jerries bombed New Jersey OTOH, he could do what he needed to do.

        Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. Bombing New Jersey still would require input from the high school student council before we commit any defense forces. I mean, think of all the improvements the Jerries could do in just a few days of Blitzkrieg!

      2. If the Jerries bombed New Jersey OTOH, he could do what he needed to do.

        Well, I guess the Germans do owe you a favor.

    2. Like if the Germans attacked one of our bases in Germany.

      We saw Germany as being slightly larger than the rest of Europe did…

  5. The major difference is that the Iran scenario involves a potential (though hypothetical and distant) threat to U.S. national security, whereas Libya’s civil war does not?making the case for unilateral executive action even weaker.

    The other major difference is that Bush did ask for and received authorization form Congress for the Iraq war.

    So Obama in late 2007 was complaining about things Bush did do right and when it came his time to do them completely ignored them and did the exact thing that he falsely accused Bush of doing.

    Note: yes i realize that Bush did not specifically declare war on Iraq….but he did ask for war powers and did get them from a consenting congress. Obama didn’t even ask…he just started bombing.

    The main issue in mind is that a president using war powers needs to get permission from congress first.

    1. Jesus, in what way is this president not crappy?

      1. Well for a second there I thought he would be indecisive enough to keep us out of Libya.

        So there is that.

        I had something else but I can’t remember….

        Oh yeah he got congress to vote on the dream act, which sadly did not pass and he revoked don’t ask don’t tell.

        That is about it.

        1. DADT does seem to be his only real success. Too bad it took him two years to get around to it.

        2. He correctly picked 10 teams in the Sweet 16 and has his Final Four intact.

          It’s really my favorite thing about him this year.

          1. Erm, 3/4.

      2. He is decent at reading things other people type for him off of a screen to a large audience. He’s not quite a Tom Brokaw, but he’s above average.

      3. He still busts dope-smoking hippies, niggers, and chili bellies. You got to give him that.

        1. *chili-poppin pepper-bellies

          ftfy

      4. In NO way!

  6. Where’s TEAM BLUE to explain why this is ok? We’re waiting, schmucks.

    1. Do you realize how many jobs have been saved/created by the President’s decisiveness?

    2. DailyKos reports that Obama’s Poll numbers haven’t jumped because he didn’t spend enough time “saber-rattling” before the attack. Lessons learned, to be sure.

      This time, though, there wasn’t nearly as much buildup in the media as before Afghanistan or Iraq, and Obama didn’t engage in the kind of bellicose saber-rattling that was almost the raison d’etre of the Cheney Administration. Moreover, the airstrikes began a little bit after we started our polling (we go into the field Friday through Sunday), so it’s hard to tease out exactly when respondents would have been likely to learn of our involvement overseas. I would say, though, that it’s not safe to assume all or even most respondents would have been aware of the attacks by the time they answered our poll?just as Daily Kos traffic drops on weekends, so does news consumption in general.

      Umm, little aside here, whenever I swing by Kos, they seem to be obsessed with Obama’s poll numbers. Just an observation.

      1. Umm, little aside here, whenever I swing by Kos, they seem to be obsessed with Obama’s poll numbers. Just an observation.

        Like Aztec astrologers, KOSsaks are concerned about the world ending in 2012.

      2. Meh, I can’t blame them. I’m constantly refreshing my fantasy football stats on Sundays so I know how it goes.

  7. The White House said the president’s actions don’t contradict his earlier views, noting that the president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers regarding Libya before any action took place.

    Seriously, why the hell can’t people just admit they’re wrong or their views have changed? That’s a lot more respectable than claiming you’re always right, all the time, and any apparent inconsistency is due to misinterpretation. I don’t even see a loss in “political capital” from doing this: “Iraq was waged mistakenly, but now we know that Gaddafi is killing his own people and a democratic movement, and the US and Europe have an obligation to prevent that.” Agree or not, that sounds better, so what gives?

    1. I was a against the Iraq War for strategic and humanitarian reasons.

      I support what the president is doing in Libya for strategic and humanitarian reasons.

      I despise the Obama Administration for a lot of reasons–this seems to me like just about the first thing he’s done right.

      I guess it had to happen eventually.

    2. The problem here with admitting he changed his mind, is that the first position is obviously the more sensible one.

    3. The problem here with admitting he changed his mind, is that the first position is obviously the more sensible one.

  8. Obama made it abundantly clear during his campaign that he supported and endorsed the air strikes in the Balkans. If you didn’t notice that, then you weren’t paying attention.

    The present air campaign is legally, politically and strategically indistinguishable from the Balkan campaigns. There is no hypocrisy here, and there is nothing additively unconstitutional in comparison with the Balkan campaigns. Obama did not start this fight with Qaddaffi unilaterally; Obama did not lie about Qaddaffi’s weapons programs; but Obama did accurately cite the immediate threat of a wholesale massacre of opposition forces in Libya as justification for action. There are simply no points of comparison with Iraq, strategic or political.

    The ground war in Iraq was an entirely different species of military conflict — an invasion with no international auspices, based on false allegations of WMD threats, and no imminent humanitarian crisis.

    You may disagree with Obama’s decision to fight this fight, but not everything you disagree with amounts to a breach of faith or a breach of the constitution. Promising not to do another Iraq isn’t the same thing as promising not to do another Bosnia or Kosovo.

    Just by comparing this Nintendo War of airstrikes and missile salvos with the boots-on-the-ground dirt-rolling we did in Iraq, at the cost of over 4,000 killed, reveals your baseline absurdity.

    Maybe mission creep will drag us into another ground war in Libya, but I would love to take the “no” side of that wager even at 5 to 1.

    1. Epi, I am pre-emptively inviting you to KISS MY ASS!!!

      1. Your head is already up there, so why don’t you just do it for me.

        1. It makes me sad when you two fight.

          1. Epi never fights. He sticks out his tongue and then runs behind his nanny’s apron. He is a physical and moral coward.

            He flames because he can’t argue.

            He has nothing.
            He does nothing.
            He is nothing.

            1. Old Chinese proverb:

              If you fight with retard, no one win.

              1. “He has nothing.
                He does nothing.
                He is nothing.”

                Danny always goes to this “you are nothing” theme after a few posts.

                Dude, you have really got a government-ass-licking-parasite power trip on, don’t you?

                It’s more than a little pathetic.

                1. Defending Epi? How low can you sink, loser?

              2. (As you can see, Confucius anticipated Epi.)

    2. Just by comparing this Nintendo War of airstrikes and missile salvos with the boots-on-the-ground dirt-rolling we did in Iraq, at the cost of over 4,000 killed, reveals your baseline absurdity.

      People still get killed in a Nintendo War.

      And there are no 1-UPs in Libya.

      1. Duh. “Nintendo War” is not the same thing as “Nintendo.” Let’s not insult one another’s intelligence here.

        1. You don’t have any intelligence to insult, you mendacious little catamite. Fuck you and fuck your precious fucking TEAM BLUE.

          1. You have nothing.

            eff-u’s and anti-gay slanders? And you still probably think you’re a “libertarian.”

            U4FIT.

            1. You fight like a teenage girl.

              1. Joan of Arc?

            2. HAHAHAHA

              Keep it coming, Danny. I’d love to hear how I’m not a libertarian.

            3. How is catamite anti-gay? He called you a pedophile’s plaything.

    3. You could just read the article

      As for the unnamed administration official’s claim that Obama’s 2007 statement dealt with “an invasion like we saw in Iraq,” it is clearly not true. Here is the question Obama was answering:

      ” In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)”

    4. So you’re saying this action is just as unconstitutional as the Balkan campaign? Good to know.

    5. an invasion with no international auspices

      Since when is France the deciding factor in having or not having international auspices?

      1. ….. and Britain, and Canada, and Italy, and Denmark and Spain …..

        1. Danny you are an idiot.

          Coalition of the Willing list:

          Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

          And yes i do realize that you you have no idea what the “Coalition of the Willing” means.

          I suggest you go Google it.

          1. Are you here to vindicate the 2003 Iraq invasion? If so, that hardly leaves you room for criticizing the present action in Libya.

            1. Are you here to vindicate the 2003 Iraq invasion?

              No.

              In fact I am seeing you go down the exact road I went down in 2003. using the same arguments and same justifications that I used.

              It is a shitty road to go down and I do not wish you to have to go through it….

              There will be no vindication for 2003 and none here in 2011 Danny, only regret and loss.

    6. Danny, who are we protecting in Libya?

      1. People who want to put Qaddaffi’s head on a pike — all I need to know.

        1. In 2003 I wanted Suddam’s head on a pike…

          It did not turn out well. I strongly suggest you reconsider your position.

          1. Yeah. I knew that second Iraq war was screwed from the start and I said so, even though I knew we would “win” in the end just by virtue of brute force — like Russia did in Chechnya.

            I also knew that Bosnia and Kosovo would be cake walks, which they were.

            I’ll stick with my track record instead of yours. In Libya, I think I’m gonna be right again, and you’re gonna be wrong again. We’ll know soon enough. So let’s see what happens this go-round before we say once-and-for-all who should “reconsider.”

            1. And secondly, I just fucking love killing poor brown people.

              Huzzah!!

              1. …and others just like to sit back and watch them die.

                Also: Serbs ain’t brown.

            2. How many people have to die for you to consider a military engagement to be worse than a cakewalk?

              1. Depends on who is doing the dying. If it’s Qaddaffi’s mercs, that’s just more icing on the cake.

    7. The ground war in Iraq was an entirely different species of military conflict — an invasion with no international auspices, based on false allegations of WMD threats, and no imminent humanitarian crisis.

      Fuck you and the horse you rode in on Danny.

      1. Heheh. If you guys took the ground war to Saddam the way the Libyans are doing to Qaddaffi, maybe it would have been worth it.

        1. Listen asshole, Qball was a dime-store punk next to the Saddamizer. You can only get gassed by the fucker so many times before you shut your mouth and go home.

    8. Seriously though Danny, the Globe article that Jacob linked to has Obama saying that the President does not have the authority to unilaterally mobilize the military when there is no imminent threat involved.

      So if he supported the Balkan bombing [citation needed], then he lied to the Globe. Since he authorized the use of military force against Libya, which is by no stretch of the imagination an imminent threat, he lied to the Globe.

      Saying that you don’t think you have the authority to do something, then turning around and doing it is a breach of faith. Doing something that the Constitution says you have no authority to do is a breach of the Constitution.

      Where do we have the facts wrong here?

      1. Note that Danny’s self-important, smug and arrogant “Staff Attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit” -ass hasn’t replied to this post.

        Hmmm… Full of shit much, D-bag? Or have you finally gotten back to work? I can imagine the First Circuit’s docket ain’t exactly empty.

        Shit bag.

    9. The ground war in Iraq was an entirely different species of military conflict — an invasion with no international auspices, based on false allegations of WMD threats, and no imminent humanitarian crisis.

      So Iraqi-financed terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel did not count as a humanitarian crisis?

      1. With the UN? Hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

        1. Yeah, it’s more akin to the “what do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the harbor” joke.

    10. So, committing acts of war against a nation without a valid declaration of war or an imminent emergency for the U.S.* is not unconstitutional? De facto, maybe, but it definitely is against the letter and spirit of the law. The power to commit the nation to mass murder and destruction must lie with the people’s representatives, not with a single indirectly elected human being. The president’s role is decide how to wage war, not when.

      *Yes, for the US. Obama is not president of the world — if he wants to go around protecting everyone on the wrong side of a dictatorship anywhere on Earth, he can get his own private army, and figure out how to force everyone on earth to pay tribute to support it.

      Honestly, the military’s leadership failed, and have continued to fail for decades now. If the Oathkeeper movement gained significant traction, I hope it will eventually result in the military refusing to commit to combat operations outside of an invasion or a declared war. Would love to see the top brass tell future President LowPolls “NYPA”. Not that the U.S. will be around then.

      1. Would love to see the top brass tell future President LowPolls “NYPA”.

        This is why I love this site. Challenging received beliefs, one of which is the military in the US should always be subject to the civilian government. Superficially, it makes sense, don’t want to be like those countries that get ruled by a junta from time to time. But “always” ? That’s where the Oathkeepers are saying, let’s think about situations before they occur. Where does your loyalty lie ? What orders are illegitimate ?

        We’ve gotten so far away from first principles that the very idea that the military might legitimately refuse an order from the President would be taken as right wing nuttery.

  9. Thank you President Obama! But our dictator is in another castle!

  10. Candidate Obama, I was repeatedly told, was a constitutional scholar. President Obama, it appears, not so much.

  11. I don’t know the context of this quote at the moment but is he referring specifically to an imminent threat against the US? There was clearly an imminent humanitarian crisis in this instance.

    1. To paraphrase a Republican senator, if we’re going to intervene in every humanitarian crisis, we’re going to have an awfully busy military.

      1. But nobody’s talking about intervening in every one. Because we can’t make the world perfect is no excuse not to do what’s feasible or works out as a cost/benefit calculus.

        1. How many Libyans do we have to blow up before we make the world better?

            1. Well, with all the tanks, trucks, and airbases that have been destroyed, I’m sure they’ve surpassed that by a few dozen at least.

            2. And how likely are we get to kill him without ground troops?

            3. Since that is neither a stated nor plausible goal of this mission, I don’t see how that supports intervention in Libya.

            4. One.

              And after you get that one what will you do about the remainder of his tribe? Do you honestly think they will simply lay down their weapons and surrender the reigns of power to the other tribes from the east? It’s a tribal thing with these people, just the same as in Iraq and all over the middle east. You can knock out Qaddaffy, but his people will begin an insurgency action against the rebels. The only way to keep them from slaughtering each other will be to have troops there on the ground. That will fall mainly to us rather than the rest of the UN participants, just as it always does. And we will get to either commit troops or leave with our tails between our legs. It’s a no-win situation – we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Hell, the damned Arab League is already giving us hell about our action.

              1. Furthermore, if Obombo had had any real balls and any sense, he would have told the Arab League to provide a “no fly zone” themselves if they wanted one – they have plenty of nice weaponry they’ve bought over the years. Instead they sit back and kibbutz and badmouth us to their people as the Great Satan, while we do the dirty work.

          1. All of them of course…and since Obummer has decided to crap on the Constitution and people of the US by attacking another country without provocation and without consent of the people, and since he has decided to weaken the US by signing the START II treaty, I suggest we kill two birds with one stone and minimize our arsenal by dropping 3 of our 650 B-83 (Mk-83)/1200 Kiloton bombs on Libya, and 1 on each of the remaining 22 member countries of the League of Arab States and their 4 “observers”. We can then further diminish our nuclear capability by dropping smaller W87’s on countries who support them.

        2. So after Tony’s done running his CBA, he’ll get back to caring if you’re massacred or not.

    2. I don’t know the context of this quote at the moment but is he referring specifically to an imminent threat against the US?

      He was talking about the Iraq war and that Bush should have asked congress…which Bush did and congress gave him the go ahead.

      I realize you were only 17 in 2003…but some of us were a bit older and remember Bush asking congress for permission to invade Iraq if Iraq do not comply with the UN resolutions. Congress had a debate and they passed a resolution to give Bush those powers.

      Obama lied in 2007 about it, trying to make it sound like Bush broke constitutional law. It was all in a bid to run for president in 2008.

      Now that same campaign lie is coming back to bite Obama in the ass.

      That is your context.

      1. Okay, so since playing gotcha with Obama is more important than debating the merits of the action, I presume had a massacre happened in Benghazi, you’d be criticizing him for that too?

        1. mmmmm……your tears of moral equivalence Tony, they are so tasty!

          (puts napkin under chin)

          Please go on, I want to feast on your rationalizations for your Messiahs outing as an empty suit.

          1. Okay, since most of you are mild sociopaths you probably wouldn’t care if there were a massacre in Benghazi. But the same right-wing chorus bitching about his brackets and being out of the country and dithering and whatever else would be all over him for allowing that to happen.

            1. Get. A fucking. Clue.

              This article is about Obama’s lie, dipshit. Not about whether this military action is just or not.

              Because you’ve realized that you’re wrong, you’re trying to reframe the debate, rather than admit that you are, in fact, wrong.

              It’s a typical, and cheap, liberal debate tactic and it’s pathetic.

            2. Bitch, please. If this had been Dubya, you’d be dropping a thousand justifications for why he was a monster and a war criminal for allowing this to happen, and complaining that Obama was pussy-whipped by the Hillary contigent into going along with it. But it’s not, so you’re running around coming up with justifications for why it’s okay.

            3. Just as an aside, I always get a little chuckle out of people who point at others who believe they don’t have the right to take other’s peoples’ shit and call them “sociopaths.” We get it. You _think_ you’re more egalitarian than us. But please, don’t let your modus operandi of aggression, coercion, and theft get in the way of bludgeoning us with your false-sense of altruism.

              Sociopaths indeed.

        2. Okay, so since playing gotcha with Obama is more important than debating the merits.

          There are no merits. It is the same fucked up war that we had in Iraq starting all over again in the same way.

          If taking Obama head hunting off the table is what it takes to change your position then fine i take it off the table.

          Don’t support this war Tony. It is a bad bad fucking idea and it will turn out terribly.

          1. Not sold on it yet, but it’s nothing like Iraq. I view Obama as almost too cautious, so my instinct says he wouldn’t have done this without serious planning and all possible scenarios understood. But we’ll see.

            1. my instinct says he wouldn’t have done this without serious planning and all possible scenarios understood

              This is spec-fucking-tacular. Bravo, dipshit.

            2. Oh good. We can all stop worrying. Trust Tony’s instinct on this one, folks.

            3. …my instinct says he wouldn’t have done this without serious planning and all possible scenarios understood.

              Oh, I’m sure Obama did some serious planning – mostly planning how this will work into his re-election strategy.

            4. Tony-the idea that “all possible scenarios” are even knowable demonstrates how little you appreciate what a dynamic undertaking warfighting invariably will be.

              Here’s a clue Tony-the enemy gets a vote during warfighting, there are no choices in war between bad and good, but rather between bad and worse, and war is best described as a series of disasters that result in victory (or defeat).

      2. Here is the text – the details are important. Some would say that Bush did not abide by the spirit of the document. Others would debate whether he violated the actual text of the resolution.

        SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
        (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–

        1. defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ; and
        2. enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq .

        (b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION- In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

        1. reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq ; and
        2. acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

        (c) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

        1. SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
        2. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

        1. I think, btw, that this is a really poor choice. We should have had nothing beyond a logistical support role in this endeavor.

    3. Okay, I found the full quote, and it does seem to vindicate the accusations of hypocrisy if taken at face-value. Sorta depends on how you define “informed consent of the US Congress” though.

      1. You shouldn’t make a habit of giving the benefit of the doubt to a guy launching a new war. Aren’t you a liberal?

        1. To be honest I’m tickled to have a president I feel is smarter than me, as opposed to one I’m certain is dumber than me like the last one.

          1. considering I’ve had dirty underpants smarter than you, how is that a complement?

          2. You fucking brown-noser.

          3. ..you’ve been tickled….back to Clinton’s days.

          4. as opposed to one I’m certain is dumber than me like the last one.

            Yup, those lowly 125 IQs. Pure idiots, I mean just look at the way he talked!

          5. “I love the new king!”

  12. Since the going rate for a Nobel Peace Prize is to be actively waging two wars simultaneously, with this third war Obama is halfway toward another Nobel.

    1. Sorry to butt in here, but that was sort of an invitation. I am in no way a BushPig. My wars are peace wars.

  13. Critics of President Obama’s unilateral decision to intervene in Libya’s civil war

    It does not seem accurate to call this a unilateral intervention. He does seem to have taken it as within his presidential powers to commit the US military to participate in a international effort sanctioned by the security council. Whether this would be equivalent to the scenario implicated by the question to candidate Obama is debatable. Whether he needs congressional approval for this actions is also debatable. I think he probably does, but I can see some pretty good arguments against it.

    1. He does seem to have taken it as within his presidential powers to commit the US military to participate in a international effort sanctioned by the security council.

      Bush did the same thing…well he did the same thing and also got permission from congress.

      1. see above. I do not think they are at all equivalent.

    2. Whether he needs congressional approval for this actions is also debatable. I think he probably does, but I can see some pretty good arguments against it.

      Name one.

      1. I think most have already been presented here at H&R…and since I am in the “he probably does need authorization camp” I don’t really feel like putting the energy into justifying bypassing that authorization. Certainly there are parallel situations in the recent past that can be used in a “well, previous presidents have done so” kinda way.

  14. How many years until we are bombing the rebels we are helping today? I bet less than 10.

    1. Not sure it’ll be even a year before the rebels need to be restrained from taking out revenge on Ghadaffi’s tribe. Assuming they win.

  15. Already heard a number of callers on the radidio this afternoon saying, “We haven’t declared war since 1942 so why start now blah blah blah…”

    Yep – that constitution’s, like, 100 years old or something. We’re a nation of Awesome Tuff Gai Presidents, not of laws! Congress WHAT? Go President Awesome!! Awesome!

    Idiots…

    1. Were you listening to Rush or NPR?

      1. Were you listening to Rush or NPR?

        I haven’t seen those two agree since the start of the Iraq War…

        Oh wait.

        Shit.

      2. WTAM, Cleveland – local show.

  16. I realize this Danny is probably not our Dan T, but this still seems appropriate:

    Smith attempted to read the vessel’s damage assessment on the screen in front of him, but after a few minutes he sighed and realized that it was pretty much a waste of time. His ship, the SS Nonix, was probably doing well to be in operational condition at all considering the massive bombardment it had endured just a few minutes ago at the hands of the Mildrenian pirates. Never mind that Smith had used almost the entire fuel reserve executing the wormhole jump that had allowed for their escape. They were probably safe for the moment, but the ship was stranded and the Mildrens don’t give up easily. The Nonix would soon be found, and Smith knew that the next time there would be no way for him to prevent the pirates from boarding the ship. And it was also generally accepted that suicide was a preferable option for his crew compared to what the Mildrens like to do with their victims.

  17. They’re backtracking now, but apparently, one goal of this mission is to “install a democratic system” in Libya.
    http://thehill.com/homenews/ca…..ya-mission

    Add that to the Qaddaffy must go line, how many people believe that this will be limited to days?

    1. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, issued a statement acknowledging that President Obama would like to see a democratic government in Libya, but explained that the aim of the U.S. military’s intervention there is not to enact regime change.

      Well, I always kill people to maintain the status quo. I don’t know what you have such a hard time understanding about this.

  18. Do I think Democrats are the answer? I don’t care. I’m not a Democrat, but I do know that things were saner when they had power. I cannot advocate for a utiopia anymore; all I can do is hope for a return to pragmatism. Pragmatism requires us to realize that the more Arabs we kill, the more Americans are going to be killed by Arabs. And, as we have learned in so many guerrilla wars, it’s those with the stronger stomachs who win.

    1. I’m not a Democrat, but I do know that things were saner when they had power.

      This thread just keeps right on giving. Holy shit, my sides hurt.

      1. The best part–and joe used to do this too–is how hard they shill to try and pretend it’s not partisan, as if it wasn’t completely obvious to everyone. I mean, it’s as dumb as trying to convince someone the sky isn’t blue. But they do it anyway, with gusto.

        It’s like they’re masochists who get off on destroying whatever shreds of their own intellectual honesty and credibility might remain.

        1. We have nothing.
          We do nothing.
          We are nothing.

          1. You’ll note that they say essentially that about those of us who haven’t completely given up our intellectual integrity by joining one of their TEAMs. Talk about projection.

            1. I think I like this Danny more than our last Dan. He still hasn’t explained how I’m not a “libertarian”, though. I must know.

    2. Political parties don’t have incentives to be pragmatic. They have incentives to appease the immediate demands of powerful or vociferous blocs for short term political gains.

      There was never a golden age of Pragmatism.

    3. You should flip on the news occasionally dude. Democrats have had full control for more than 2 years.

      A poll: Is the Tony above a) an astroturfing bot, b) a jokester, or c) a sincerely confused person.

      My money’s on bot, and that this is a post left over from 2007.

      1. d) willfully ignorant by reason of self-righteousness.

        My vote.

      2. He strikes me as a) too.

  19. I wonder what joe has to say?

    1. found him.

      joe from Lowell says:
      March 20, 2011 at 9:25 am

      “what the hell is sovereignty nowadays”

      Where “nowadays” means “since the end of WW2,” the answer is, subject to United Nations action.

      http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo…..3/on-libya

      1. Totally unsurprising, yet still unbelievable.

      2. More where that came from.

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:02 pm ? Link

        I guess Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough. We need to go to war now with Libya as well.

        One thing I’ve learned from Iraq is that genuine democracy promotion means supporting local democratic movements, and that there is a huge difference between an overthrow imposed by foreign forces and and one carried out by the locals.

        I guess you didn’t learn that.

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:22 pm ? Link

        @WyldPirate:

        The US has never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens and turning a blind eye.

        There’s a rather glaring exception to this rule of thumb: when the citizens of Egypt rose up against longtime U.S. ally Mubarak, Obama helped to ease him out the door and spoke out for the rights of the protesters.

        I sort of like that.

        Now, we see a situation in which both the government and the protesters have upped their actions from the rhetorical and political, to military, should the U.S. follow suit?

        There really isn’t anything that happened in Afghanistan or Iraq that provides relevant guidance here.

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:27 pm ? Link

        @MattR:

        Once you commit to a no fly zone you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion.

        “Started down a path” and “can eventually lead” are weasel words. No, we were not doomed to invade and occupy Iraq when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton started enforcing the no fly zone and protecting the Kurds. Were it not for a major push put on by a president with a specific, personal desire to stage an invasion, it wouldn’t have happened.

        If you want to avoid a land invasion, the best thing to do is not to get involved in any way.

        If avoiding a land invasion is the only consideration you think about, then yes, this is a very easy question.

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 4:56 pm ? Link

        @WyldPirate: Out of curiosity, is there any intervention or potential intervention anywhere in the world that the U.S. has conducted or has considered conducting in your lifetime that you don’t answer “Hell no!” to?

        You can’t base your opinion about whether any particular military action is a good idea on John McCain, because no matter what the situation is, John McCain supports military action. His support tells us nothing about the strength of the case for intervention.

        Other people work the same way in the opposite direction.

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 5:17 pm ? Link

        @stuckinred:

        NO Dawg, you so anxious to use force you should be at the tip of the spear.

        And since you’re so eager to give people health care, you should become a nurse’s aid.

        And since you’re so concerned about poverty, you should work in a homeless shelter.

        And since you’re so supportive of unions, you should become an organizer. In Mississippi.

        The appropriate use of the “chickenhawk” argument is against those who claim that their support for military action comes from their possession of superior manly virtues. Otherwise, you just sound like one of those people howling about Al Gore having lights in his house.

      3. More here.

        I attempted to quote some choice selections, but the fucking spam filter won’t let me, even though Omar Beano and his anonbot friends have seemingly no trouble getting through. Let’s see if this one works:

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:02 pm ? Link

        I guess Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough. We need to go to war now with Libya as well.

        One thing I’ve learned from Iraq is that genuine democracy promotion means supporting local democratic movements, and that there is a huge difference between an overthrow imposed by foreign forces and and one carried out by the locals.

        I guess you didn’t learn that.

        1. Crap. The “I guess Iraq…” line is a quote from someone else that joe is responding to.

          1. It’s amazing how I know how much of a partisan bullshitter joe is, but every time one of you guys find current quotes from him, I’m still amazed at how much of complete and total hack he is.

            This is, of course, why he ran off, because we would fucking destroy him daily.

      4. That whole thread is a thing of beauty. Especially the guy at the end who calls joe on his partisan bullshit.

        I look forward to the dance that joe does in the March 22, 2014 thread called “Obama outlines Libya exit strategy.”

      5. Here’s joe doing a Shannon Love impersonation:

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:15 pm ? Link

        @Canadian Observer:

        Yes, joe, because it worked so well when your country supported “local movements” in the 80s in Afghanistan right? The one that later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

        Actually, the movements we supported mostly became the Northern Alliance.

        It’s interesting how the most ignorant elements of the far left consistently find the most violent, repressive faction in any country and, as long as they’re anti-American, decide that they represent the true expression of the local population.

        Vietnam is to these people what Munich is to the Neo-cons.

        And now with a complete whopper:

        joe from Lowell – March 17, 2011 | 3:22 pm ? Link

        @WyldPirate:

        The US has never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens and turning a blind eye.

        There’s a rather glaring exception to this rule of thumb: when the citizens of Egypt rose up against longtime U.S. ally Mubarak, Obama helped to ease him out the door and spoke out for the rights of the protesters.

        1. There’s a rather glaring exception to this rule of thumb: when the citizens of Egypt rose up against longtime U.S. ally Mubarak, Obama helped to ease him out the door and spoke out for the rights of the protesters.

          Still haven’t gotten a thank-you card for that, BTW Egypt.

          1. The Muslim Brotherhood will ensure that it arrives pdq. Do you like your thank-you cards from Semtex or C4?

  20. Ken Shultz|3.22.11 @ 8:02PM|#
    “Are there any other examples you can think of where Congress voting to give the president more power has meant a check on the president?”

    Well, in that case, we’ll just ignore that thing called the Constitution. Ends/means, right?

  21. Always appropriate, but especially now. “We like war ’cause we’re good at it. Know why we’re good at it? ‘Cause we get a lot of practice.”

  22. This intervention is so unconstitutional people are actually bringing up Iraq 2003 as a GOOD contrast, since Bush at least got a token “authorization.”

    Think about that for a minute.

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty fucked up. Yet, somehow Democrats remain immune to cognitive dissonance.

      1. When President Palin widens this war into a true, blue quagmire will they remember to blame themselves first?

        I kinda doubt it. None of the Blue Team partisans remember the 1998 Clinton administration backed congressional declaration to rid the world of Saddam Hussein.

        Cheer up, you’re still my boy, Blue!

    2. Holy shit. He did it, he actually fucking pulled it off. Obama has made us miss Bush on foreign policy. I now truly believe in him. If he can do this, he can do anything. We must appease him, so he uses his unholy powers only for good.

      1. Thanks, I needed that attack of the giggles soooo bad 🙂

  23. I’d just like to point out that the last time we tried to pick up France’s global empire slack, we ended up with the Vietnam War.

  24. The question I always like to ask in this situation is, why did the “senior administration official” require anonymity to make that comment? Nothing (s)he said was critical of the president in the least.

    Not wanting to be associated with the stupid line of argument you’re spewing shouldn’t be a valid reason for anonymity. But then again I’m not a journalist.

    1. Hey, but, can you blame him?

  25. I don’t give a flying fuck at the moment whether this is “Constitutional” or not.

    People are being killed by US and other Western powers. Some may be supporters of Gaddafi; some, according to reports, are on the anti-Gaddafi side.

    Personally, I would like to see Gaddafi staked out naked in the deep desert without water for a week, BUT THIS IS NOT OUR FIGHT.

    When are we going to learn to Mind Our Own Fucking Business?

    1. Don’t you know, Aresen? The world’s business is Our Fucking Business.

      1. yup.
        If the Americans aren’t intervening, everyone starts complaining on how isolationist they are.

        1. By “our”, in this case, I meant the Western Powers as a group. The only reason we Canadians aren’t involved in this is that we don’t have the ability to do so, but I’m very sure that our Government is cheerleading for it.

          I would like to believe that, with the airstrikes, Gaddafi will “go all fall down” and we can walk away and let the rebels take over. Maybe they will even be friendly towards us.

          But messing with other people’s problems and trying to “do good for them” has created so many problems in the past that I have to oppose this. (A more insidious aspect is that, should this prove a ‘success’, the West will try it again.)

          And, despite joe’s argument at lawyersgunsmoney, the UN’s blessing on this does not make it OK: The US went into Somalia under UN sanction as well. That turned out beautifully, didn’t it?

          1. We Canadians are involved I saw on the CBC how Peter Mansbridge almost shed a tear for the bravery of our CF18 pilots.

            1. FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.

              I guess this is my comeuppance for not watching CBC.

              1. Don’t you have Goougle Neuws in Canada, ready to tell you when your little piece of the Commonwealth throws down?

                1. I have infrequently have got a hold of some really good pot that came from BC. That is at least one more reason.

                  John Candy, Maple Syrup, etc.

                  1. that was in answer to Vermont Gun Owner|3.23.11 @ 1:15AM|# below. See, I told you it was some good shit.

                    1. I’m from Vermont. We don’t need Canadian maple syrup. I had to google John Candy. He was alright.

            2. I was in Montreal this past weekend. I have yet to see a second reason for Canada to exist.

          2. “The US went into Somalia under UN sanction as well. That turned out beautifully, didn’t it?”

            You mean in terms of not having to worry about what happens in Somalia like we have to worry about what happens in Iraq?

            You mean in terms of forgetting about Somalia completely and not being responsible for Somalia’s ethnic, economic and political problems like we are in Iraq?

            Yes, Somalia ended “beautifully”!

            Somalia ended just the way I wish Iraq had years ago–out of our rear view mirror and not our problem. …Oh, if only we could have left Iraq for the UN to worry about!

            1. I was thinking of bodies of US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.

              In terms of the results of the intervention, it didn’t make a bit of difference to the suffering of the people of Somalia, though.

              1. Except for the starvation.

                People were starving to death by the hundreds of thousands when we showed up; when we finally left? That wasn’t so much of a problem anymore.

                Having gone in under UN sanction let us leave (in the end) without feeling much in the way of responsibility for what we left behind. I attribute a lot of that to the UN sanction.

                Ken Shultz sez: UN sanction trumps Pottery Barn Rule!

  26. When I read this it sounds to me like the slimeball is pitching Maxwell House:

    joe from Lowell –

    Sounds like a good reason to point out the difference between supporting a local movement that has broad popular support, can mount its own military operations, is calling for our assistance, and has formed its own government; and launching strikes against a country in which none of these conditions apply.

    If we increase our involvement on behalf of the Libyan rebels, we need to leave them in the driver’s seat, and limit ourselves to providing support.

    Death From Above, It’s The Flavor That All True Americans Love!

    1. Sounds like a good reason to point out the difference between supporting a local movement that has broad popular support, can mount its own military operations, is calling for our assistance, and has formed its own government

      Aw, shit! We’re not going to talk about the Wisconsin Labor Law again, are we?

    2. I still wonder whether people like joe and Danny actually believe the shit they spew, somehow rationalizing the dissonance to themselves, or if they–to use your pitching Maxwell House metaphor–are completely aware of how mendacious it actually is, and are merely being salesmen for TEAM BLUE.

      Frankly, I can’t tell which would be worse. The former is scary as shit, because if they are capable of shunting away reality that strongly, they’re mental, and if it’s the latter, they’re disgusting scum.

      But I wonder: why can’t it be both?

      1. It’s like determining if light is a particle or a wave. In fact, in may be the very same thing.

        1. They have the properties of both! Yes!

        2. In fact, in may be the very same thing.

          Once the medium (nuerons/aether) is removed from the maddening equation, that is.

    3. Where is that idiot posting these days?

        1. Balloon Juice. I shouldn’t have needed to ask.

          1. Some of the responses (even after wading through the obligatory denouncements of corpo-rupt media) to his asinine shit are pretty good.

          2. The funny thing is, nobody there likes him either.

  27. Some classic joe lama:

    joe|7.29.05 @ 11:18AM|#

    Because “enemy of my enemies” has worked so well in dealing with the greater Middle East. From the muj to Rumsfeld’s buddy Saddam, that type of hard headedness certainly doesn’t bite us in the ass.

    https://reason.com/blog/2005/07…..tcontainer

  28. Watching Dennis Kucinich on Al-Jazeera, and he says it’s an unconstitutional act of war. What’s left to debate?

    1. I actually agree with Dennis Kucinich? DAMN YOU, OBAMA!

  29. I don’t know about the house, but I’m quite sure there isn’t a person in the senate who gives a shit about the president starting wars.

  30. Of course, the ONLY reason Obama went ahead was that the “bleading heart” liberal females named Hillary, Susan, Samantha, and Madeleine were just so terribly emotionally upset at the tyranny of a dictator whom they *did not* like. Other tyrants are fine, but Gaddafi is really repulsive.
    This intervention has been formally authorized by the UN, so who cares about Congress or Constitution?

  31. This is, of course, why he ran off, because we would fucking destroy him daily.

    While there were certainly some posting here that joe was no match for…that “we” seems a little, I don’t know, “I knew a guy who was better than this other guy” TEAM LIBERTARIAN, my tribe is best-ish somehow.

    I am amazed at the impact joe has left around here that ya’ll are bringing him up and stalking him and shit like 3 years after he stopped coming by. Weird doesn’t cover it.

  32. Sounds like a good reason to point out the difference between supporting a local

  33. ok fine it is clear….

  34. So now that the left is complaining about Obama, do I get to call them “left-baggers” or “pro-baggers”? Oh what a wonderful turn of events, I guess inside every Obama there’s a Woodrow Wilson and an FDR trying to get out.

    Impeach him now before he brings back the draft and turns our military into the United Way with war.

    Hopeless Drama over 10% Cut in HOPE Scholarships.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..-hope.html

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