Barack Obama

Obama's War in Libya

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The New York Times remains a strong supporter of President Barack Obama's "kinetic military action" in Libya, but in an unsigned editorial today even the Times admits what virtually everyone outside of the White House already understands: America is at war in Libya and the president is in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act until he gets Congress' approval for it. Here's the Times:

Mr. Obama cannot evade his responsibility, under the War Powers Act, to seek Congressional approval to continue the operation.

The White House's argument for not doing so borders on sophistry — that "U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops," and thus are not the sort of "hostilities" covered by the act….

No matter how one sees this mission, the War Powers Act is an essential balance to the White House's — any White House's — power to wage war. Carving out an exception for drones or airstrikes would be a dangerous precedent, especially in an era when so much fighting can be done from the air and by remote control.

Let's delete the words "borders on" from the second paragraph above and just call it sophistry. We're firing cruise missiles into a foreign country, sinking that country's ships, and killing that country's ground forces via armed drones. That's a war. To pretend otherwise is laughable.

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  1. Let’s strike the word laughable from that last paragraph, and call it disgraceful.

  2. Impeachment Now. Then President Bachmann won’t be tempted to try to pull the same shit in eight years.

    1. course impeachment & conviction are 2 diff processes.

      1. Woo Hoo!

    2. Impeachment Now.

      We cannot be distracted from doing The People’s Business. Anyway, the nation cannot afford it. Recession, you know.

    3. Impeachment is a political exercise, and the Senate is run by the Democrat party.

      It ain’t gonna happen.

      1. The House can initiate it. And, after giving the administration a chance to step away from the ledge, should.

        This is nothing less than tyranny, and we’ve gotten so jaded that it’s not even headline news.

        1. We have been living under tyranny for a long time.

          1. I agree, but the limits that remain must be zealously protected, or it’ll become more overt than it already is.

            1. I hate to be a wet blanket, but I felt the need to share something posted by one of my heavily left-leaning friends on FB and this seems as good a place as any. Using the Weiner debacle as a launchpad he claimed that the press should be fined for propagating information that leads to an elected official’s resignation. You know, because special elections are expensive…..or something. I swear I am not making this up.

              So believe it that when it comes to vigorously defending what’s left of our freedoms I’ll be there right along side you. Unfortunately I think we’ll both still be in a pretty lonely place.

              1. It’s strange how far we’ve moved away from our once strong government distrusting/fearing, freedom-loving principles.

              2. Using the Weiner debacle as a launchpad he claimed that the press should be fined for propagating information that leads to an elected official’s resignation.

                Fucking First Amendment! How do they work?

        2. Oh that I don’t doubt, I just don’t think it would have any legs in the Senate, and King Barry would come out looking the victim. They’d say, why didn’t you racists impeach Reagan?!

          But I am certainly jaded, enough that I’d rather skip the charade than watch Harry Pelosi and the Half Black Hype climb up on their crosses.

      2. The House can easily impeach Obama if they choose, and then the Senate would have to hold the impeachment trial (Presided over by John Roberts – that would be interesting)

        Maybe they senate doesn’t find Obama guilty of anything, but in the process, the GOP members of the Senate have 10 years worth of “George Bush is a war criminal” statements from Democratic members of congress.

        Obama’s hypocrisy is no secret. An impeachment trial would, for the first time, force him to publicly defend his hypocrisy, while headed into a campaign season.

        1. Bush got AUMFs. He was bad, too, but he didn’t go quite so far. Of course, these abuses tend to be cumulative.

          1. What is wrong with AUMF’s?

            1. The War Powers act defines a declaration of war, and authorizing the use of force to be the same thing.

              Under the act, the President has to remove US forces, unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces

              1. Some would dispute whether the Constitution actually requires a declaration of war for extended military activity, but if it does require one the WPA is a mere law and can’t loosen that requirement.

                1. The Constitution doesn’t require an declaration of war, period. The Constitution only states which branch of the government can declare war.

                  The power of the congress to make rules for the military, and the “necessary and proper” clause, gives congress the authority to make legislation providing a frame work for when, and how the military can be used.

                  Congress can create law which allows them to micro-manage every nuance of military activity, or they can create law authorizing commanders to run around, and pick fights with whom ever they choose.

            2. Nothing wrong with the AUMFs as they fulfill the constitutional obligation for Congress to be the ones to declare war. I’m sure Pro Lib was talking about all the other unconstitutional shit Bush did.

              1. This is correct. I accept AUMFs as declarations of war, though they do have some legal issues, too. I was giving credit to Bush for at least getting nominal permission for his wars.

                While I’ve though Obama was worse than Bush for a while, this business should make it official.

                1. Sorry about the confusion Pro.

              2. An AUMF doesn’t declare war — it gives the president the choice of whether to go to war.

                The Constitution intended the representatives of the people to be the ones making that decision, not the prez. Under the use of AUMFs we get shameful spectacles like Hillary claiming she didn’t vote for the Iraq war even though she voted for AUMF.

                1. I do think AUMFs are somewhat questionable, but they’re less questionable than ignoring Congress altogether.

                2. The Constitution intended the representatives of the people to be the ones making that decision, not the prez.

                  The Constitution intended for the congress to create rules for the military, and determine the means of exercising their war powers.

                  If the congress determines that authorizing the President to decide if a particular situation requires going to war, is the best means of exercising that power, than so be it, as long as the President is acting with in a frame work enacted by the Congress.

                  1. There is such a thing as an improper delegation of power. It’s unconstitutional to give a branch’s inherent powers to another branch. For instance, in theory, the Congress isn’t supposed to give legislative power to administrative agencies. That’s been abused like crazy, of course, but court interpretations of administrative law do draw some lines.

                    1. The giving of a power, implies that it can’t be taken back. In what I described, congress wouldn’t be giving the power to another branch, because who ever receives the authority, would still have to act with in the frame work established by congress. If congress feels like the authority is being abused, or simply changes it’s mind, they can take the authority away.

                      The Constitution grants the congress the power to coin money, yet congress created an entire federal agency to perform this duty. Why can congress get away with this? Because the Constitutional end is the coining of money. Congress determined that the best means for achieving this end, was to give the authority to perform this function to a newly created agency, that is subject to the rules determined by congress.

                    2. The point is that the branches do have some inherent, unsharable powers. For example, the Congress can’t prevent the president from being commander-in-chief or from negotiating treaties. It can impeach him, refuse to ratify treaties, decline to declare war.

                    3. Correct, they can’t prevent him from being commander-in-chief, but they can create the rules that the commander-in-chief must follow.

                      Congress can absolutely prevent the President from negotiating treaties. They can require that the President get congressional approval before entering into negotiations. If congress wants, they can write up the treaty proposal, and require the President to get permission from congress before making any changes.

                      The office of the President was intended to be weak. Congress makes the rules for the entire federal government. The President executes the rules enacted by congress.

                    4. I disagree. For instance, the president’s foreign policy role is pretty well established, and Congress can’t directly interfere with it. Indirectly, I suppose they could kill the budget for State or otherwise make it hard for him to do his job, but it’s a clear presidential prerogative. There’s a decent amount of caselaw on so-called political questions, where a branch’s power can’t be questioned by other branches, including the courts.

                      The check on presidential treaty negotiating power, is, of course, ratification. Another check is that the president can’t use a treaty to circumvent the Constitution (neither can Congress). So saying we’re in an undeclared war because of a treaty obligation alone is bullshit.

                    5. What do you base this on Pro? Other than being based on conventional wisdom, I don’t see where your interpretation comes from. Their is nothing in the text of the Constitution, that backs up your claim.

                      The check on presidential treaty negotiating power, is, of course, ratification.

                      Where is this stated in the Constitution? All the Constitution states regarding treaties, is that the President has the power, with the advice and consent of the congress, to negotiate treaties. The means are not provided for reaching this end, it only tells us who is involved. Again, congress can pass laws defining the means for achieving this end.

                      Unless specifically prohibited by the Constitution, the check on any Presidential power is what ever legislation congress passes, and the President signs, or if congress overrides the veto.

                      The Constitution only provides the ends delegated to the government, it does not provide the means. This was left to congress.

                    6. If congress feels like the authority is being abused, or simply changes it’s mind, they can take the authority away.

                      No they can’t; a change to the WPA that removes power from the president would almost certainly require 2/3 majorities in both houses to override a veto. In effect, the legislature that delegates power in that fashion is taking away the constitutional power of a future legislature, which is not allowed in a mere act of law.

      3. It’d still be quite a zinger to play video of Senator Biden talking to the Senate about how “if the president doesn’t get permission for this action, that’s an impeachable offense”.

  3. Does committing troops in violation of the law constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors”?

    1. Not when you are sparing the legislature the messy reality of having to vote on the issue. If you are in congress, that’s a feature, not a bug.

      1. Voting equals responsibility. Responsibility for anything is bad. Therefore legislators must avoid voting on anything lest the constituents hold them responsible for anything.

  4. I watched a little bit of Morning Joke earlier; Scarborough, bless his shriveled little heart, said flat out there is no discernible difference between Obama and Bush.

    Mika was mortified.

    1. This is the weird part – Congress will ok war/kinetic slaughter/police actions at the drop of hat and with the flimsiest justification. How hard is for the Whitehouse to just to write up a 8th graders-level report and send it to Congress? They’ll rollover for it. Half of the Obama cabinet voted for Bush’s wars. They know what war mongering whores congress is.

      1. The Democrats control the Senate. You couldn’t get that through the Senate without Democrats voting for it. And there are enough Republicans in the House who would vote against it to require Democrats there to vote for it if it was going to pass. They don’t want any Democrat to go on record about anything.

    2. Bush went to Congress before he went to war.

    3. There is a huge difference between Obama and Bush. Bush went to congress, and asked them to grant him the authority to use military force, before he actually committed troops. Obama has not.

  5. My generals tell me we are not at war and I trust them.

  6. I hope the White House is instructing the military to not engage hostile forces in Libya if the circumstance somehow comes up. The Obama Administration wouldn’t want some grunt undermining their justifications.

    1. Then they’d just redefine “hostilities” again.

      1. This is that “nuance” that Obama supporters were/are so gung-ho on.

  7. borders on sophistry

    That depends on the meaning of “borders”.

  8. I wonder which administration talking points were beamed into Mika’s empty little head; I stopped watching before the Carney’s response came.

  9. Mr. Obama cannot evade his responsibility, under the War Powers Act, to seek Congressional approval to continue the operation.

    Let me be clear.

    I most certainly can, and I will.

    1. Just get back in the car liberals. Obama is under a lot of pressure and he doesn’t want to have to smack you around again.

  10. A quick hypothetical: al-Qaeda gets hold of a hundred Tomahawks and uses them to bombard DC. War, or not? And another: the US nukes Tripoli. War, or not?

    To call these people sophists is to be charitable in the extreme.

    1. Since al-Queda does not need authorization from Congress, yes that would be war.

      Since nuking Tripoli does not involve ground troops, no that would not be war.

    2. In that example AQ isn’t merely playing a supportive role. A better example would be Venezuela getting a bunch of missiles and passing them off to al-Qaeda to launch at the US.

      1. Supportive role? Passing off? Last I checked, I was not a citizen of any sovereign NATO superstate. Or do you mean to imply that US Tomahawks have not been launched by US servicemen?

  11. Tell the idiot to stand down, get permission, or prepare for impeachment. This is a blatantly unconstitutional act.

    1. Just get out that haterpiller Pro. You just want Obama to fail Pro. Hater.

      1. Pro Libertate is a racist.

        1. No, I bought race offset credits early on. I knew I’d need them for about four years.

          1. Stop criticizing, stop asking questions. Let him do his job.

            1. This isn’t in his job description.

    2. He can stand down [it’s his option], he can’t get permission [lack of legitimate grounds for war], and he can [but won’t] be impeached [in which case we end up with Joe ‘generated crisis’ Biden anyway].

      1. It just is infuriating that Congress isn’t forcing this issue. Doesn’t anyone realize how dangerous this precedent is?

        1. Who remembers Vietnam anymore?

          1. Even that had the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and the questionable actions of certain presidents led to the enactment of the War Powers Act.

          2. Vietnam was bad.

            Nixon was president.

            1. That’s about the size of it. Critical thinking, how does it work?

        2. No.

        3. Working overtime to earn that Nobel Peace Prize.

          1. I wear my laurel crown in the War Room while launching killer peace-drones. It really is like a video game.

      2. Of course he can get permission. The Constitution doesn’t provide the meaning of the word war, only that congress has the authority to wage war. It was left up to the congress to answer that question.

        1. There are constitutional questions about AUMFs, the War Powers Act, etc., but there is no constitutional question here, despite the administration’s lame assertions. They’re violating the Constitution and are acting illegally. Period.

          1. I find the debate concerning the War Powers Act to be pretty amusing. I think it represents a great application of the “Necessary and Proper” clause, and reinforces that fact that the Commander-in-Chief power is subject to congressional authority.

            1. One interesting point about the War Powers Act is that it is quite likely, in part, an infringement on presidential war powers. After all, the division is fairly clear–Congress can initiate and arguably uninitiate a state of war, and it controls the purse strings. The president controls the conduct of war, and has some limited power to act without congressional authorization in defensive actions. Anything that acts to allow either branch to interfere with those prerogatives is questionable to begin with.

              1. Dropping bombs on Libya is clearly a defensive act.

              2. One interesting point about the War Powers Act is that it is quite likely, in part, an infringement on presidential war powers.

                Not really. As the Commander-in-Chief, the President is the highest ranking member of the military. The Constitution gives congress the power to create regulations for the military. This means that the President can only commander the military, with in the frame work created by congress.

                If you still don’t think that’s enough. The “necessary and proper” clause gives congress the power to create laws covering how any power granted to government is executed. This means that congress can create law defining how the President may use his Commander-in-Chief power.

                When it comes to the military, congress is boss.

                1. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this issue, but the conduct of a war is a presidential power. That said, Congress has considerable control over the military through its control of the purse, and, of course, it is supposed to be the sole initiator of war.

                  The Necessary and Proper Clause doesn’t give Congress power it doesn’t already have. It can’t perform constitutionally defined executive or judicial functions or otherwise do things not permitted to it under the Constitution. Congressional power is supposed to be checked by the other branches just as they are checked by each other and Congress.

                  1. The “necessary and proper” clause is a grant of 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.

                  2. And congress has more control over the military, than just the power of the purse.

                    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces

                    When you combine this power with the ‘necessary and proper’ clause, it would appear to be a much greater power than being “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States”, which only concludes that the President is the highest ranking member of the military.

                    1. The branches were intended to have exclusive powers, to avoid too much power sitting in one branch. Frankly, I think the Founders feared Congress perhaps more than the presidency. While they didn’t want a president running amok, starting wars, they also didn’t want Congress interfering in the conduct of the wars.

                      The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to do things to carry out its powers or to support those of the other branches. One area this is obvious if the funding of activities that are purely the province of the other branches. For instance, the Supreme Court gets its money from Congress.

                    2. Frankly, I think the Founders feared Congress perhaps more than the presidency.

                      They feared a body elected by the people, and another appointed by the states, more than they feared an executive who was chosen by electors?

                      they also didn’t want Congress interfering in the conduct of the wars.

                      I’m curious as to where this idea comes from. If the founders didn’t want congress to interfere with the conduct of wars, then why were they granted the power to make rules for capture on the land and water; regulate the land and naval forces; organize, arm, and discipline the militia; raise and support armies, and to provide and maintain a navy.

                      Even without bringing in the ‘necessary and proper’ clause, it’s clear that the constitution granted congress broad authority over the military. The Commander in Chief power didn’t even get it’s own sentence.

                      The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to do things to carry out its powers or to support those of the other branches.

                      Where does this interpretation come from?. The power to create law for carrying out the execution of the powers vested to the government, by the Constitution, applies equally across all branches of government, unless prohibited by the Constitution.

                    3. The point is that separation of powers means just that. Some powers are strictly in the hands of specific branches.

    3. This is a blatantly unconstitutional act.

      WRONG!

      The Congress shall have Power To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

      Since “among the several states” means “everything an individual does that is even remotely commerce, including refusing to engage in commerce” then we can clearly do the same thing to “foreign Nations.”

      The United States of America is not bombing Libya. We are merely delivering bombs, bullets, and missiles they haven’t been convinced by our courts to purchase yet.

      1. Good one

        1. Don’t give them any ideas SF. Next they’ll drop a load of invoices on Gaddafi’s boys — bill ’em for the munitions we used to blow-up their comrades.

          On second thought, that might be pretty demoralizing.

  12. That’s a war. To pretend otherwise is laughable.

    Let me be clear.

    Did Congress declare war?

    Ha, uh, ha.

    1. The “uh” between laughs is priceless.

  13. At least Obama is making it clear just how close we are to having our own President Chavez.

  14. Is there a mainstream media outlet anywhere that at least has the stones to acknowledge that Obama never had so much as one day, let alone 60, under the terms of the War Powers Act? Section 2(c) makes the illegality of Obama’s invasion plain as fucking daylight.

    1. What “War Powers Act?” Laws that are unenforced are no laws at all.

    2. As Obama said, if the action does not fit his definition of “hostilities”, then the law does not apply.

      When the action escalates and fits his definition of “hostilities”, then “hostilities” will be redefined.

      When you don’t like a law (or Constitution), you can redefine key words and completely change what the law (or Constitution) means.

      1. At least he’s consistent: His economic recovery is a failure, so he simply redefines failure as success.
        Works every time.

        1. The left controls the narrative.

        2. In the Soviet Union, being unemployed was illegal (as was loitering).

          The country had full employment and everyone had a job (which does not imply they got paid with some kind of valuable consideration).

      2. Obama relying on the definition of “hostilities” is sad. It’s also indefensible, because we already had a helicopter shot down in Libya. Besides, “hostilities” is only one condition of the War Powers Act. The act applies to the following:

        In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced?

        (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;

        (2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or

        (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation;

        It’s clear that condition number two applies to Libya.

        1. He said two doesn’t apply because we’re only supplying the NATO forces, not fighting beside them.

          Though he could get around that by redefining “supply” to mean “fight beside”.

          1. Congress took that into consideration:

            Introduction of United States Armed Forces:

            For purposes of this chapter, the term “introduction of United States Armed Forces” includes the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.

            1. There’s that word “hostilities” again.

              Obama wins.

              1. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.

                I guess I should have realized that dropping bombs, and firing tomahawk missles, does not count as an “active exchange of fire”.

              2. Along with the words “or” and “imminent” — Obama goes to jail.

  15. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces,

    So, if they aren’t shooting back, why are we bombing them?

    If that’s the standard, doesn’t it mean that a state of war exists between Israel and the Palestinians, and the criticism of the Israeli response to Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks is, erm, misplaced? Just asking for some consistency, is all.

    nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops,

    Well, thank goodness the attack on Pearl Harbor wasn’t warfighting.

    1. Its different on the receiving end.

    2. Anything that happened before color television doesn’t count.

    3. If we are bombing non hostile forces we are committing war crimes.

    4. There’s no way that bombing campaigns could lead to hate/resentment amongst the local population, is there?

      There isn’t a possibility that the rebels the U.S. is supporting right now could later turn into the Taliban or Al Qaida, right?

  16. So 9/11 was an Act of War, but what we’re doing in Libya isn’t?

  17. Here’s a hypothetical…suppose the US does declare war on Libya. Suppose I then supply war materiel to the Libyan army, but engage in no active fighting or active exchanges of fire myself. According to Team Obama, this would not be treason on my part?

    1. Treason doesn’t require participating in hostilities, only giving aid.

    2. It is not clear if supporting the Libyan “rebels” would be considered treason or not. Commerce with Libya is certainly restricted; you can’t sell Libyan nationals a copy of Microsoft Office or anything else with encryption software in it unless you get a special federal permit.

  18. Getting ass raped by Steve Smith isn’t rape, it is a kinetic sphinctoral entry.

    1. I just call it “Friday night.”

  19. Doesn’t anyone realize how dangerous this precedent is?

    Restricting Presidential power is terribly dangerous, and we simply cannot allow it to happen!

    1. [Pounds head against desk.]

  20. Thank goodness we have a Republican house that is ready to take on the status quo.

  21. The NYT needs to pull its head out of its ass…

    Don’t they know Obama got all the permission he needs from the UN?

  22. Can anyone find a way that all the NATO countries nuking Russia does not fit under this definition of “not war”?

    1. As long as there are no NATO troops in Russia, it’s not a war?

      I find this whole “not a war” concept very Strangeloveian.

  23. Speaking of the New York Times, now Jimmy Carter is calling for an end of the global drug war in an op-ed there:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06…..arter.html

    I assume President Obama will continue to ignore any sense or reason on this topic and continue federal raids on cancer patients growing marijuana for personal use.

    1. I saw this image last night mocked up on some website to make it look like Obama was secretly pro-drug use. Yeah, he’s just pulling out the stops to end the WoD! Amazing how delusional partisans can be.

      1. Obama is pro-himself-using-drugs. He just doesn’t want anyone else to have the privilege.

        1. That seems to be the way most politicians operate.

          For all the leftish statists out there, just remember that your professed egalitarianism means nothing if you let the political class evolve into an American aristocracy. Think about that for a while.

          1. Preen. Preen. Preen.

          2. I have some really great vacations planned this summer — I’ll direct my generals using my cool secured Blackberry. Michelle might take the girls on another half-billion-dollar European binge, while I relax in Hawaii, Chicago and at the Cape.

  24. BTW, has anyone read the full article? I’m fairly certain the NY Times couldn’t have its head up Obama’s ass any further if it had vaseline.

    1. I did. They’re just demanding conformance with a technicality so Obama can get along with this totally awesome war with no restrictions.

    2. could help with further penetration.

  25. “Sophistry” seems insulting to the pre-Socratic philosphers. This is “Orwellistry.”

  26. How come I’m not seeing any lefties with “Barack lied, people died” bumper stickers?

    1. “CoExist.” Hammer and Sickle

      “War is Healthy for Children and other Living Things.” OBAMA 2012

  27. I wonder what would have happened if a President in the 1820s tried to pull the shit Obama has for the last few years.

    I’m guessing a dungeon and a firing squad would be involved, but NOT IN THE MODERN PROGRESSIVE ENLIGHTENED LIBERAL ™ WORLD OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY!!!111

  28. “…To pretend otherwise is laughable.”

    Laughing beats crying, which is what anyone with a conscience is prompted to do upon acknowledging the plain, commonsense truth of this absurd situation.

    Mr. Obama needs to be impeached for the assertion that this “kinetic action” is not a real “war.” Impeached, as in, being officially designated as not credible.

  29. America “took on a fine young skipper who soon ran her up on a boulder.”

  30. For all you devoted “admirers” —

    http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..orter.html

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