Libya

Liberating Libya

Presidential presumption and congressional cowardice lift the limits on military intervention.

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After U.S.-backed rebels entered Tripoli on Sunday, The Washington Post noted that NATO "has been anxious not to be seen acting as the rebel air force in a coordinated strategy" because its "United Nations mandate is limited to the protection of Libyan civilians." Still, a "senior NATO official" admitted, the alliance's firepower and intelligence sharing helped bring about "the collapse of the regime and its capability to direct its forces," so "the effect of what we were doing was not dissimilar."

No kidding. Since the United States and its allies began taking sides in Libya's civil war five months ago, it has been clear that protecting noncombatants was a pretext for overthrowing Muammar al-Qaddafi. But even if the U.N. had endorsed the latter goal (a dicey proposition, given the implicit threat to the autocracies that supported the intervention), a vote to replace Qaddafi would not have explained why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, created to defend Europe and the U.S. against a hegemonic, totalitarian threat that no longer exists, had a legitimate stake in the internal power struggles of a North African desert kingdom.

Nor could any U.N. resolution, no matter how broad, authorize American participation in the assault on Qaddafi's forces, because the U.S. Constitution gives Congress—and not, as President Obama seems to think, the U.N. Security Council—the power to declare war. Since there was no threat to national security, let alone an immediate one along the lines of an armed invasion, Obama was required to seek congressional approval for his war against Libya.

In a New York Times op-ed piece published a few weeks ago, Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker and Yale law professor Oona Hathaway suggested "the president didn't try very hard to get Congress to agree to the intervention" because "he didn't think he had the votes." Didn't try very hard? He didn't try at all. Only after the operation was under way did he let it be known that a congressional endorsement would be swell—though not, in his view, strictly necessary. And who, aside from U.S. presidents and rebellious children, thinks it's OK not to ask for permission because the answer might be no?

Obama not only failed to seek the constitutionally required declaration of war; he disregarded the War Powers Act, which says troops must be withdrawn from hostilities within 60 days in the absence of congressional authorization. His rationale—that bombing military targets in Libya and helping to overthrow its government did not constitute "hostilities"—was so laughable that it was rejected even by the war's supporters in Congress and the press, not to mention his own Office of Legal Counsel.

Congress, for its part, never got around to taking a position on the war one way or the other, presumably because legislators did not want to be blamed for the consequences. Obama may not end up paying a political price either, since the elimination of a brutal, four-decade-old dictatorship is apt to overshadow the crimes and failures of whatever regime takes its place for the foreseeable future—or at least until next year's elections.

This combination of presidential presumption and congressional cowardice gives one person the power to attack other countries at will, without even bothering to pretend that the violence has anything to do with national defense. Under Obama's rules of war, excuses for armed intervention are everywhere. In his March 28 speech explaining the motivation for his Libyan adventure, he declared that "we should not be afraid to act" in situations where "our interests and values are at stake," which include genocide, mass murder, the threat of war, regional insecurity, natural disasters, and the possibility of disrupted commerce.

To the contrary, we should be afraid of using military force to pursue such a wide-ranging, never-ending mission. We should be even more afraid of entrusting this power to a single man, especially one who blithely risks other people's lives to satisfy the inscrutable demands of his own troubled conscience.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2011 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. But think of how all that ordnance, jet fuel, etc. stimulated the economy. We would be in a depression if we hadn’t bombed them. Or something.

    1. Civilization is a Prisoner’s Dilemma that leads to the near-constant war we observe in history.

      The Prisoner’s Dilemna provides the logical foundation of why civilization must always continue to grow. Each society faces a choice: do we continue to intensify production, adopt greater complexity, and increase the size or scale of our society, or do we happily accept the level we’re already at? If you choose not to intensify, you will be out-competed by those who do?and your lower level of intensity and complexity will become a resource they can absorb to fuel their further acceleration, whether by outright conquest or more subtle forms of economic or cultural exploitation.

      This is the underlying logic of Joseph Tainter’s argument concerning collapse in peer polities in The Collapse of Complex Societies. If one peer polity does choose to collapse, that region becomes a resource that can be exploited by its neighbors. Whoever conquers it first will have an advantage over the others in the continuing race of escalation.

      The same logic was successfully applied to the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The growth of civilization can be seen in similar terms. Even when the problems of unrestrained growth are recognized by a society?even when all can plainly see that a smaller-scale, less complex society would be preferable?there is no option to make use of that knowledge.

      Thesis #12: Civilization must always grow.
      by Jason Godesky | 23 October 2005
      http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

      1. Native American Twinkie Test
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        American Indians dislike ‘New Age Crystal Waving Twinkie Twinkies’ who shamelessly appropriate, distort, misuse and disrespect our culture.

        Accordingly, if you want to get along with Indians, it is wise to avoid being a twinkie.

        The following test will help you determine if you’re a twinkie.

        1. you don’t know what a ‘twinkie’ is.
        2..you think ‘twinkie’ is a name brand of golden sponge cake.
        3..you’re a shaman, and all your friends are shamans too.
        4..your Indian Spirit Guide only speaks English.
        5..you have a plastic Indian headdress hanging from your rear view mirror.
        6..you don’t drive a ‘rez rocket’.
        7..you think apples are for eating.
        8..you gave all your dogs authentic Native American names.
        9…your great grandmother was a Cherokee princess.
        10..your great grandfather was a Cherokee princess, too.
        11..you own collector plates featuring men with rippling muscles, feathers, and prostrate maidens.
        12..you’ve never been to a 49.
        13..you’ve never woken up with a houseful strangers fixing themselves breakfast, eating your bacon, and calling you ‘cousin’.
        14..you bought the collectible Barbie ™ ‘with authentic Native costume’.
        15..you named your dog, cat, or hamster for a famous Native American.
        16..you think Dances with Wolves is a great movie.
        17..you don’t know who Leonard Peltier is.
        18..you want to know where to apply to get your Indian name.
        19..you desperately want to date a Native American person.
        20..you’ve been studying Native American spirituality for three months and are now ready to lead a sweat.
        21..you send greeting cards with images of Noble Red Men on them.
        22..you have ‘Native American scent’ air freshener in your car.
        23..you have never stood next to a dancer after five hours of powwow in the hot sun and therefore think ‘Native American scent’ is something you >want to have in your car.
        24..you don’t know what a CDIB card is, and wouldn’t qualify for one even if you did
        .25..you wonder why that abalone shell has holes in the bottom.
        26..you want to get a cool Native American tattoo.

        1. Game Theory, which sheds light on the cause of war, is obviously too difficult a subject for Lumpentarian dunderheads.

          1. Game theory was the brainchild of a mentally ill paranoiac.

            Hang your hat on it.

            1. I got something you can hang your hat on!

            2. a mentally ill paranoiac.

              “PRESENT!”

          2. Okay, Tonto.

          3. You do realize that just because you and a website owner say that “all civilizations are based on the prisoners dilemma” (two incredibly complex and diverse topics with massive scholarship about both) doesn’t make it so?

            1. Yeah. Do you realize getting your panties in a twist about the article, which references scholarly volumes, doesn’t disprove its assertion?

              Now we got that settled. Jeeesh, there aren’t two brain cells firing in Lumpentarian Land.

              1. Me White Indian. Me give names of Big Men Scholars. They know Right Way. Listen to them, they know secrets of earth-magic! They scholars! You listen!

              2. Better “less than two” than zero. Now please post more articles which greatly over-generalize the complex and diverse concept of “civilization” (which has had many forms and manifestations, even for it’s 10,000 year lifespan) and which ham-handedly write about game theory in a way that shows the author never took a formal logic class.

      2. Sea snail is a common name for those snails that normally live in saltwater, marine gastropod molluscs. (The taxonomic class Gastropoda also includes snails that live in other habitats, i.e. land snails and freshwater snails.)
        Sea snails are marine gastropods that have shells. Those marine gastropods that have no shells, or have only internal shells, are variously known by other common names, including sea slug, sea hare, nudibranch, etc.
        Many sea snails are edible and are exploited as food sources by humans. Some well-known kinds of edible sea snails are abalone, conch, limpets, whelks (such as the North American Busycon species and the North Atlantic Buccinum undatum) and periwinkles including Littorina littorea.
        There is enormous diversity within sea snails; many very different clades of gastropods are either dominated by, or consist exclusively of, sea snails. Because of this great variability, it is not possible to generalize about the feeding, reproduction, habitat and so on of sea snails. Instead it is necessary to look at the articles about individual clades, families, genera or species.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_snail

        1. Sea cucumbers are also (barely) edible, if you’re into a rubbery, bland kind of thing.

      3. No, modern game theory places Civilization as more of a turn-based 4X strategy game than a prisoner’s dilemma clone.

  2. Yeah. And just think how much economic stimulation we’re going to get out of all the money we spend on Libya now that we won. It’ll be an orgasm, I’m telling you.

    1. More neocon bashing of RP (active thread):

      Ron Paul’s Misunderstanding of Modern Warfare

      1. Civilization, being externally invasive and internally repressive, is a Neo-Con’s dream.

        It’s sorta funny watching people, supposedly interested in Liberty, develop such deep cases of Stockholm Syndrome to that which captivates them, and join in the Neo-Con’s disparagement of Non-State sociopolitical typologies.

        *Non-State and State Societies
        faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Non_State_and_State_Societies.pdf

        1. Pasta primavera is an Italian-American dish that consists of pasta and fresh vegetables. A meat such as chicken, sausage or shrimp is sometimes added, but the focus of primavera is the vegetables themselves. The dish may contain almost any kind of vegetable, but cooks tend to stick to firm, crisp vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions and green bell peppers, with tomatoes. Pasta primavera is usually highlighted by light flavors, aromatic herbs and bright colors (‘primavera’ meaning the season of spring). Classic primavera sauce is based on a soffritto of garlic and olive oil, and finished with Parmesan cheese. But versions further enriched by, or based on, a heavier cream or Alfredo sauce are also common. Though recipes for cold pasta primavera may be found, they are best classified as antipasti, or appetizers.

          Pastas served with this dish are typically smaller shapes, such as penne, farfalle, rigatoni and fusilli. If using longer types of pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, the vegetables are normally sliced in thin strips to match the shape of the noodles.

          Since primavera means spring, the vegetable choices should be the crisp new vegetables of spring.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta_Primavera

    2. Orgasm? Better shield that rectum.

  3. how many slaughtered in bengazi had the US not intervened? do u really agree w qadaffi?

    1. Noone is defending Qadaffi any more than those who opposed the Iraq War were defending Saddam Hussein. There are several points here:

      1. It is difficult for policy makers who do not understand the history, culture or background to determine which side is the lesser evil [assuming they actually care in the first place].

      2. We can ill afford yet another war as far in debt as we are.

      3. It is none of our damned business.

      1. I should also mention that Obama never got the authorization of Congress as is required by our Constitution.

        1. This should be the beginning and the end of any discussion about America’s role in this war.

          1. according to Krugnuts, if only the Megaquake had more kinetic action the economy would be recovering…

    2. another ruwanda would be a national disgrace

      1. To the Rwandans, yes, it would be a disgrace if they got into another war. If a bank is robbed in Atlanta, Georgia is that is disgrace to the NYPD because they did not intervene even though it was way out of their jurisdiction?

        1. If the police force in Atlanta GA was being overwhelmed by a criminal force and called on the police force of NY to come help, and it could do so, I’m not sure it shouldn’t.

          1. I don’t think your ‘jurisdiction’ argument is going to work. For one reason, the closest analogy to that in international affairs was satisfied when the UN authorized the action.

            1. The United Nations does not invalidate the United States Constitution – nor can it.

            2. The UN has no jurisdiction to tell Congress that it, and not Congress, has authorized the U.S. President to commit an act of war while calling it something else.

              1. You’re confusing two issues: the internal question of whether the President can unilaterally do what he did and the external one of whether there was the equivalent of international jurisdiction for the US to act as it did. As I’ve said, the answer to number one seems to be no imo, the answer to number two seems yes.

                1. I don’t think the UN has any jurisdiction at all over anything, myself. Only governments have jurisdiction, and its a talking shop, not a government.

                  Analogy fail.

            3. A UN authorization is just a clearance that a nation may act militarily without the UN considering the action to be unwarranted aggression. It is not a compulsion for a state to act. Therefore not acting would not be a national disgrace for the USA.

              1. Sure, but we were discussing whether the US could be considered to have jurisdiction a la PIRS’s analogy. To come back to it, the NYPD wouldn’t have to act, but it would be authorized to do so.

                1. In the one case The Atlanta City Government would not be “the enemy” but rather the enemy would be criminals. In the second case the Libyan government itself is the enemy and the people we are supposedly trying to help are viewed as criminals by the very government.

                2. To extend the analogy then, I do not believe the US federal government has any authority to OK the NYPD to enforce laws in Atlanta. The local government can invite outside forces in, but the federal government cannot (absent invoking the constitutional guarantee of republican government in a state).

          2. In this case it is more like someone is trying to overthrow the Atlanta City government because they claim the Atlanta City Police department is abusing its citizens. Should the NYPD step in?

            1. To close the analogy the US (here the UN) government would also declare the Atlanta government to indeed be abusing its citizens and authorize the NYPD and other US pds to go help.

              1. But the New York City Charter requires Bloomberg get the approval of the City Council, which he has not done.

                1. Sure, I think Obama violated the WPA, and that is a big, big problem. My point is that if he had the proper permission I think things are very complicated.

                  1. Why can’t you just say Obama violated the Constitution?

              2. Also, in this case it would be used as a pretext to remove the Mayor.

              3. Show me where the UN authorized the one sided support for the rebels or the overthrow of Qaddafi?

                When does protecting civilians become expanding a civil war and overthrow of government?

                1. The UN resolution called for protecting civilians from the Gadafi regime.

                  1. No it did not, resolution 1973 authorized a no fly zone and it authorized protecting civilians. It did not say which civilians nor did it say against who they were to be protected

                    1. I was just reading the text a few minutes ago. It states all of this “Deploring the actions of the Libyan authorities harming civilians; Calling on the Libyan authorities to not target civilians etc”; it then authorizes force for the protection of civilians. It fairly explicitly called for the protection of civilians from harm from the authorities.

                    2. “It fairly explicitly called for the protection of civilians from harm from the authorities.”

                      I am reminded of the arguments over the start of the Iraq war. There was a great deal of discussion about whether UN resolution 1441 authorized the United States and other members of the “Coalition of the Willing” to remove Saddam Hussein from Power. There was argument about the concept of “automaticity” and the meaning of “serious consequences”.

                    3. I notice you don’t quote that actual paragraph which contains what is authorized. Here is what it actually authorized when it comes to protecting civilians. You notice it does not say from whom it is protecting or who they are being protected from. It just says protect civilians.

                      “”””4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;”””‘

                    4. It’s a longer document, read the beginning. It expresses its aim at the “Libyan authorities” pretty clearly.

            2. No, but they would probably like to help abuse the citizens.

          3. Not a very good analogy.

            It’s more like the local Crips gang in Atlanta is being overwhelmed by the local Bloods gang, and the Bloods have better PR, and so Obama decided to unilaterally send gunships in to shoot up Crips strongholds in blatant defiance of the Constitution because, dammit, he thinks this will net him a few more votes than it costs him and fuck that old piece of paper, he’s got an election to win by any means necessary.

            1. There’s a lot of assuming in there prole (that Obama was motivated primarily or merely by politics; that the rebels are equivalent to a street gang and the regime, etc).

              1. Are you saying those assumptions are wrong? Are you saying that Obama, who is all about political calculation, did not weigh the electoral impact of what he was contemplating?

                Are you saying that you know that the rebels are not a heavily armed gang that uses violence to achieve its objective, even though objectively they are not exactly acting in a Ghandi-like fashion, and that you know for sure that they will not be oppressive and tyrannical if they seize power?

                1. You don’t know and you are assuming those two things, that is what I’m saying. Hell, you even admit it in your last sentence (“can you say that you know for sure they won’t be evil”).

            2. good analogy.

              obama has helped to power a group that will be more anti western than Gad. Not one moment of gratitude will they feel towards the US or NATO. Nor will they be democratic, as the word is commonly meant. The media will do its best to lie about the situation and will end up convincing a majority of citizens that Libya is just wonderful, more democratic perhaps than the US. Conservatives will write articles saying it’s not true. Tens of thousands of Libyans will become refugees.

              1. More democratic than the US? That ain’t sayin’ much.

      2. Then spell it right the first time.

      3. the correct analogy is the US does something because it can as the leader of the free world. its one of the [REASONZ] i served.

        1. Really, I don’t recall all of the countries of the world voting on this and in a free and fair election of nation-states the U.S. got the most votes to be the leader. How long is the U.S.’s term as Leader?

          1. the UN, the AU, and NATO all voted. the US will remain the leader of the free world for a loong time.

              1. ur ignorance not mine.

                1. O2, you made a claim. A very specific claim. It should be easy for you to demonstrate that this claim is true if it is. Please provide a link.

                  1. a link doesnt change the vote results sorry.

                    1. “a link doesnt change the vote results sorry.”

                      Umm, so I am just supposed to trust you …? Believe you because you say so?

                    2. frankly i dont give a damn

                    3. “Shit. Self-PWNed. Again.”

                    4. “frankly i dont give a damn”

                      Then why are you here?

                    5. I think you meant frankly my dear

              2. Dollars are votes.

            1. Yes, leader of the free world by blowing the shit out of other countries on its taxpayers’ wallets.

              I’ll go back into service when we’re bombed here. That’s “protecting the free world”, not a pump to fuckholistan.

      4. another ruwanda would be a national disgrace

        Luckily for all concerned, there’s no such fucking place as “ruwanda.”

        But do go on, please. You were drooling…?

  4. I think Obama’s handling of the war was a violation of the War Powers Act, somethingt that, after decades of conservative opposition and liberal defense of the Act, really undercuts the act. That’s terrible.

    I also tend to be very skeptical of non-defensive wars for many of the reasons that PIRS mentions.

    However, as is usually the case, I’m not sure I can so easily categorically oppose any non-defensive action. In this instance it looks like we may have saved tens of thousands of human lives and given hundreds of thousands more the chance to escape the yoke of actual tyranny (not minimum wage law tyranny), all without a single US casualty. That’s certainly a plus on one side of the ledger.

    1. If I think my neighbor plans to cause me harm, can I go and shoot him in self defense?

      Or maybe just give him a good beat down to show him who’s boss?

      Obviously the answer to that is negative.

      If the military is nothing more than collective self defense, what right does our government have in sending the military out to kill people for what they might possibly do in the future?

      1. “If I think my neighbor plans to cause me harm, can I go and shoot him in self defense?”

        That’s a terrible analogy as noone has offered as a motivation here a possible threat the US. The better analogy is your neighbor is harming your other neighbor, do you have the right to go help the latter?

        “If the military is nothing more than collective self defense”

        Who says it is limited to that?

        1. MNG does not think that the government has any limits so he would not think that the governments military has limits. As long as he thinks it a good cause then let the money and the firepower flow.

          1. Sorry, I forgot that government is his god.

          2. We’re debating the proper role of the military, you say it is limited to defense. Maybe that is the right end of the argument, but this is the beginning, and you’re going to have to do some more work that just asserting your conclusion. I realize that kind of arguing flies in conservative circles, but other people are going to ask for more…

            1. Please tell me when you have ever supported a hard limit on government power? Can the President go bomb someplace at anytime with no authorization from anyone. Does the Commerce Clause authorize the Federal government to intervene in any activity since all activity has some relationship to commerce.

              1. DJF

                This is why you are one of the B or C level GOPer shills around here dude.

                In EVERY commerce clause debate I’ve indicated enthusiastic support for the Lopez/Morrison decisions which swatted the government down for trying to legislate non-economic matters. Also, IN THIS VERY THREAD SEVERAL TIMES I have said Obama violated the War Powers Act with Libya:

                MNG|8.24.11 @ 8:04AM|#
                I think Obama’s handling of the war was a violation of the War Powers Act

                MNG|8.24.11 @ 8:20AM|#
                Sure, I think Obama violated the WPA, and that is a big, big problem.

                Jesus you are stupid.

                1. But in other places you support the same war which you say Obama violated the war. You are the one who says Libya is part of the successful Team Blue war policy. Since your condemnation of Obama and the war powers act does not effect you support for the war then its meaningless.

                  1. There are many facets to something like this. One can say Obama acted contrary to the WPA and that was a bad thing and still say the war was a heck of a better idea and prosecuted better than Iraq.

                    Nuance escapes you, eh?

        2. First off, “noone” is not a word.

          The better analogy is your neighbor is harming your other neighbor, do you have the right to go help the latter?

          Even better analogy. A cop (authority, like the big Q) is beating the shit out of someone. Do you have the right to intervene?

          Who says it is limited to that?

          Appeal to authority much?

          1. A cop (authority, like the big Q) is beating the shit out of someone. Do you have the right to intervene?

            Yes.

            Does the cop/authority/someone have the right to intervene in your intervention?

          2. Sarcasmic, please, please, for your sake and everyone here, try not to act like you know something about logical fallacies. Please, it’s really for your own good ultimately.

            Do I have to explain what begging he question is and how you began this discussion by doing it, or can you figure that out on your own this time? So me saying “who says” is not an appeal to authority, it’s me indicating that we haven’t established the assertion you’re building your argument on other than you asserting it.

            Here’s your hint:

            “If the military is nothing more than collective self defense, what right does our government have in sending the military out to kill people for what they might possibly do in the future?”

            1. What is the purpose of the military other than “to provide for the common defense”*?

              Isn’t “common defense” collectivized self defense?

              If individual self defense does not give you the right to kill people who are not doing you harm, why does collectivized self defense give the military the right to kill people who are not harming or even threatening US citizens?

              *United States Constitution

              1. it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
                it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, did it?
                it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
                it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, did it?

                now you know
                this is what it feels like
                now you know
                this is what it feels like

                ~lyrics from Nine Inch Nail’s “The Wretched” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNI12hvKsxI

            2. it’s me indicating that we haven’t established the assertion you’re building your argument on other than you asserting it.

              Self evident assertions do not need to be backed up by a citation.

              It is self evident that the purpose of the military is to defend the citizens of the United States of America.

              I don’t know of anything in the Constitution that declares our military to be the World Police.

              So unless someone is fucking with the citizens of this country, our military has no legitimate right to intervene.

      2. Negative? Hell, I’d better go apologize.

    2. But, MNG, do you think he violated the Constitution?

  5. I am not the decider!

  6. And who, aside from U.S. presidents and rebellious children, thinks it’s OK not to ask for permission because the answer might be no?

    Libertarians

  7. If things work out the way they are going I think it makes for a pretty stark contrast in Democratic-initiated wars vs. the GOP wars over the past two decades. Clinton in Bosnia and Haiti and Obama in Libya were able to do good while risking and indeed losing virtually no US casualties in multi-laterally approved actions with limited goals while W initiated two massive wars costly in casualties and money, one of which was not so multilaterally approved, while his father initiated one massive, albeit multilaterally approved war, and other less approved ones (panama and somalia) the latter pretty open ended.

    1. And not one of these “wars of choice” improved the lives or safety of Americans. Sounds like both the Democratic Presidents and the Republican Presidents need to start thinking about what is good for the people of the USA and less about interfering in foreigners problems.

      1. the US intervenes in humanatarian crisis because it can as the leader of the free world.

        1. Gee. Thanks.

          1. Quiet, or I’ll give the body bag a good shaking again.

            1. Tonight, we eat like KINGS!

    2. So you’re saying that Team Blue, when it violates the U.S. Constitution, creates a somewhat lesser clusterfuck than Team Red?

      Did you leave out the part where Team Blue is continuing to wage the disastrous Team Red initiated wars?

      That is, Obama is continuing W’s wars, and thus bears the blame for them, while initiating yet another trammeling of the Constitution.

      1. How dare you accuse me of being a Blue Team shill!

        1. “How dare you accuse me of being a Blue Team shill!”

          What an intersting concept of shill, when applied to someone who kicked off his comments talking about how terrible it was that the leader of Team blue violated and undercut one of the most important laws of the last few decades.

          But remember how MiNGe reasons: any criticism of Israel means you want to push Jews in the sea, so it’s hardly a surprise that seeing any degrees of contrast between Team Red and Blue in an area is going to be labeled as shilling for one team. Simplistic, child-like thinking…

      2. I don’t support Obama’s continuance of Team Red’s wars, but I do see a pretty stark contrast in the wars initiated by Team Blue and Team Red lately. But I realize that is going to be a nuance lost on folks who think minimum wage laws and chattel slavery fall into the same category.

        1. Yes the Team Red wars were at least justified in the idea that those countries were a threat to the US. The idea was wrong but that was the justification. Team Blue wars did not even try to say that they were a threat to the US.

          As to the “success”, Bosnia is still a divided mess which is kept in control by outside forces. Haiti is still a mess like it has been after every one of the various “do good” interventions. Libya is still in a civil war and has no legitimate government nor does anyone know who will come out on top among the various rebels. So Team Blue successes are not much of a success.

          1. Sure, if you want to argue that another contrast between the two is that Team Red has fought wars it tried to justify by threats to the US while the Team Blue wars were fought on different grounds, then I think you might be on to something (elder Bush’s somalia action doesn’t fall in there). There’s many ways to contrast the two teams actions imo.

      3. constitution?
        constitution?
        now trail of tears?
        destitution

        the hopes and prays
        the better days
        the far aways
        forget it
        ~Nine Inch Nails

    3. Ah, Afghanistan was hardly a “war of choice”. I love how that whole 9-11 thing gets lost. And Clinton was a war in Iraq for his entire administration. He spent billions maintaining tens of thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia and we routinely bombed Iraq month after month enforcing the no fly zone. Clinton also initiated Operation Desert Fox which was a very large scale bombing operation in 1998. There were few people more hawkish about Iraq in the late 1990s than Clinton and Gore.

      And of course you also fail to mention that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was authorized by Congress with more than a few Democratic votes. Bush followed the war powers act and the Constitution. And further Democrats cannot call it “Bush’s War” when their own President continued US involvement in Iraq for two terms (Clinton), large numbers of their members of Congress voted for Bush’s invasion, and another Democratic President continued the occupation started by Bush and approved of by Democratic members of Congress. Oh and lets not forget, the Democratic Congress in 2007 and 2008 continued to fund the war including the surge. Despite a huge Democratic victory in the 2006 mid term elections, there were more US personnel in Iraq in the summer of 2007 than there were in 2006.

      And lets not forget as well that Obama increased US involvement in Afghanistan. And nearly every Democrat in Congress voted to go to war there in 2001.

      Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan are “Bush’s wars” anymore. They are both bi-partisan supported wars and both sides are equally responsible for them good and bad. That means Republicans cannot call Obama a secret Muslim out to surrender to Al Quada. And Democrats need to shut the fuck up and accept some responsibility for their actions.

      1. Let me be clear: We have no responsibility for anything that is wrong. It’s because of the tsunami, the arab spring, bad luck, stuff in Europe, ummm…the earthquake on the east coast, and, oh yea, BOOOSH!

      2. If you weren’t a known partisan obviously desperate to shuffle responsibility of these fiascos off onto Democrats, I might sort of agree with you.

        But in general, I think what Libya demonstrates is that, putting authority and legality issues aside, Democrats are simply better at doing these things than Republicans, because they are not quite as dumb. What makes Qadaffi different from Saddam? Only the number of American lives it took to oust them. And we’re not attempting to set up a neocon/free-market experiment in Libya, but letting prudence and democratic will of the people of that country play some part.

        I’m really sorry your guys are so disastrously inept at everything they do, but I’m sure that’s Dems’ fault too.

        1. Tony you are cute when you are brazenly stupid. The hard part is what happens after you kick the dictator out. When Libya is in another civil war as Al Quada tries to take over the country come talk to me.

          Do you really think Libya is in the clear because Gadafi is out? Are you that stupid?

          Nevermind, you are Tony and you are a liberal, of course you are that stupid.

          1. We’re already heading off some of the mind-numbingly stupid mistakes of Iraq. We’re not barring anyone nominally associated with the former regime from holding power, and work has already been done setting up the new government.

            You have to admit, if you know the facts, that the Bushies were scary stupid in their handling of Iraq (apart from the fact that it was unnecessary and wasteful on a massive scale). That’s because they think the world is like an action movie.

            1. Frankly, you are so uniformed about both the state of the world and history, you are not worthy of responding to. There is a large pile of bodies associated with running half assed wars like Libya. But you are so stupid you wouldn’t understand if I tried to explain it to you.

              1. Perhaps, but not quite as large as the piles associated with endeavors like Iraq.

                Which I’m sure you were protesting from day one.

            2. Don’t worry, everything is sharia, er, I mean safe, yes, everything is safe.

              1. Would that be a Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band outfit that he is “uniformed” in? I have a theory that Qadafi and Ringo Starr are both Yasser Arafat’s sons.

        2. The fact that you can post without any sense of irony how you are so proud that Democrats are so much better at wars is just fucking priceless Tony. Just priceless.

          1. I’m just saying, if we’re stuck with quasi-legal world-police warmaking, might as well go with the team that knows how to do it without getting thousands of Americans killed for no discernible purpose.

            1. Yes Tony and when a Republican is in office in 2013 and does another war, it will be a fierce moral imperative to stop it again. IT is one good thing Obama has done, he has showed people like you to be the pathetic whores you are.

              1. Actually I think those whose political philosophy entails giving as much extragovernmental power as possible to the oil industry have some more culpability in these things than people who fail to end wars by hoping hard enough.

                1. “They were sitting on top of our oil. Fuck ’em.”

              2. maybe Owebama should have bought a few Shakepeares…

          2. See Truman, Harry S. and the Korean Conflict.

        3. “Prudence and democratic will” of course being theocracy. Nice move.

        4. tony,
          when you can explain the difference between Qaddafi and Assad – since that is the comparison that is germane here – the rest of your talking points memo might stand up straighter.

      3. Initiate, what does it mean?

    4. Somalia: 153 Americans killed and wounded, including 49 deaths. I notice you didn’t mention that one. Compared to world wars one and two, the casualties in the current wars can also be said to be virtually none from a statistical standpoint. Your argument is highly dubious, as well, that American intervention in Bosnia, Haiti, and especially Somalia did “good” in the long term. The bottom line is that one American soldier lost in a hostile action that has nothing to do with the defense of Americans is a waste. And you are trivializing that.

  8. Prisoner’s Dilemma|8.24.11 @ 8:49AM|#

    Civilization is a Prisoner’s Dilemma that leads to the near-constant war we observe in history.

    The Prisoner’s Dilemna provides the logical foundation of why civilization must always continue to grow. Each society faces a choice: do we continue to intensify production, adopt greater complexity, and increase the size or scale of our society, or do we happily accept the level we’re already at? If you choose not to intensify, you will be out-competed by those who do?and your lower level of intensity and complexity will become a resource they can absorb to fuel their further acceleration, whether by outright conquest or more subtle forms of economic or cultural exploitation.

    This is the underlying logic of Joseph Tainter’s argument concerning collapse in peer polities in The Collapse of Complex Societies. If one peer polity does choose to collapse, that region becomes a resource that can be exploited by its neighbors. Whoever conquers it first will have an advantage over the others in the continuing race of escalation.

    The same logic was successfully applied to the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The growth of civilization can be seen in similar terms. Even when the problems of unrestrained growth are recognized by a society?even when all can plainly see that a smaller-scale, less complex society would be preferable?there is no option to make use of that knowledge.

    Thesis #12: Civilization must always grow.
    by Jason Godesky | 23 October 2005
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

    1. Araucaria heterophylla (synonym A. excelsa) is a distinctive conifer, a member of the ancient and now disjointly distributed family Araucariaceae. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island Pine implies, the tree is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The genus Araucaria occurs across the South Pacific, especially concentrated in New Caledonia (about 700 km due north of Norfolk Island) where 13 closely related and similar-appearing species are found. It is sometimes called a ‘star pine’, due to its symmetrical shape as a sapling, although it is not a true pine.
      Contents

      The trees grow to a height of 50?65 m, with straight vertical trunks and symmetrical branches, even in the face of incessant onshore winds that can contort most other species.
      The leaves are awl-shaped, 1-1.5 cm long, about 1 mm thick at the base on young trees, and incurved, 5?10 mm long and variably 2?4 mm broad on older trees. The thickest, scale-like leaves on coning branches are in the upper crown. The cones are squat globose, 10?12 cm long and 12?14 cm diameter, and take about 18 months to mature. They disintegrate at maturity to release the nut-like edible seeds.
      The scientific name heterophylla (“different leaves”) derives from the variation in the leaves between young and adult plants.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island_Pine

    2. Q: What do you call a Sioux guy out walking his dog?
      A: Vegetarian

      ——————————————————————————–

      Q: What do you call a Cheyenne guy with two dogs?
      A: Rancher

    3. Game Theory, which sheds light on the cause of war, is obviously too difficult a subject for Lumpentarian dunderheads.

  9. Gee, whatever happened to the term “chickenhawk,” tossed about by Team Blue throughout the Bush years to suggest the persons who did not themselves serve in the military were intellectually, morally and ethically unfit to send others into battle?

    Can someone tell me what Obama’s military experience was?

    And I won’t even discuss the “war never solves anything” line.

    Partisanship is partisanship, but I didn’t think that a candidate who campaigned as a peace candidate, and who won a Nobel Peace Prize simply by taking office would be this cynical.

    1. world events have a way of doing that to presidents

      1. *slurp mmmm* Obama cock *glurble slurp*

        1. You got it backwards. Obama is the one who sucks.

          1. They both do: simultaneously, in perpetuity. It’s like a never-ending fellatic Worm Ouroboros.

    2. “Can someone tell me what Obama’s military experience was?”

      He gave a speech about the military. Because of his awesome speech skills that is all the experience he needs.

    3. Gee, whatever happened to the term “chickenhawk,” tossed about by Team Blue throughout the Bush years to suggest the persons who did not themselves serve in the military were intellectually, morally and ethically unfit to send others into battle?

      It’s okay when our side does it!

    4. “…I didn’t think that a candidate who campaigned as a peace candidate, and who won a Nobel Peace Prize simply by taking office would be this cynical.”

      Why in the world not?

      Oh, you actually thought the Left was serious about all this anti-war stuff. OK, but how could you ignore the way they excused Clinton’s military adventures?

      1. who are you calling whore…

      2. What “Left”? There is no real Left remaining in the U.S. to speak of. The McCarthy era took care of that. A small revival of idealists in the 60’s caused a minor revival, but they too were taken care of by COINTELPRO or simply just got bored and moved onto the next fad. Most of them can be found in the Tea Party today. What is called the Left today is a faux Left that could actually be more correctly defined as a Center/Center-right reformist movement. They have far more in common with the Right than we’ve been led to believe. They just want to do the same things in a more “human” and compassionate way. They’re only left in the fact that they are to the left on the ideology continuum.

  10. I think what’s being overlooked is that Libya is free of a batshit crazy dictator. Yes, it may have violated the War Powers Act, and Obama should’ve reported back to Congress, and it’s a bad precedent to set. I wish he had gone to Congress, in all likelihood they would’ve continued the “leading from behind” strategy. He didn’t, and that sucks, but at the end of the day NATO helped the rebels oust a brutal dictator and saved many Libyan lives, and at least gave them a chance at freedom. This bombed Libyan babies business is maybe overlooking the fact that a lot more Libyans would be dead were it not for NATO. The rebels may not be perfect, but surely it’s a good sign that they are trying to get recognition by the Western powers. A little cautious optimism rather than legalistic sniping after the events of the last few days is surely warranted…

    1. Yes, it may have violated the War Powers Act,

      Why can’t supporters of this war say that Obama violated the Constitution? Why refer to the War Powers Act? Do you mean to imply that engaging in warmaking without Congressional approval can be Constitutional, but in this case incidentally violated the WPA? If so, please explain.

      1. oh, that old thing, that’s not really what the founders meant, it’s open to interpretation anyway, a living and breathing document that needs to grow with new thoughts and information that wasn’t known in the old days of the colonies…

      2. A Congressional power under Section 8: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”

        It’s a bit slippery, but I suppose by not declaring war it doesn’t violate the Constitution, just the WPA. Whereas the WPA refers to committing armed forces to any military action. Like I said, still a bad precedent to set, but this of all issues is not where I would attack Obama’s lack of respect for the Constitution.

        1. So, under this reading, the President can do any damn thing he wants with armed forces, as long as he doesn’t utter the words “I declare war”.

          Color me unconvinced.

        2. Congress is supposed to have the warmaking power. The president seized it. You are being stupid.

    2. ” A little cautious optimism rather than legalistic sniping after the events of the last few days is surely warranted…”

      Isn’t that what the neocons said after “mission accomplished?”

    3. at the end of the day NATO helped the rebels oust a brutal dictator and saved many Libyan lives, and at least gave them a chance at freedom.
      ———————–
      how do we know lives were actually saved, other than POTUS saying they would be? What made those lives more valuable than the ones actually lost in Syria, whose own brutal dictator makes Qaddafi look like Boy George with a gun. How do we know they actually want freedom, or even understand the concept?
      The world is full of dictators. Please list which ones King Obama the Lesser should focus on removing next.

  11. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me dude. Wow.

    http://www.web-anon.at.tc

  12. I guess I made a mistake not assuming all of the power congress was willing to relinquish to me during our war for independence (against the world’s then superpower).

    I mean, a couple of destitute 3rd world countries is waaaaay more menacing than full spectrum conflict against a superpower on your home turf.

    I’m sorry I wasted everybody’s time trying to set a precedent of a limited executive branch. Let’s just completely circumvent congress in every single affair and burn the constitution while we’re at it!

    Again, sorry for wasting the last 200+ years folks. Take care and enjoy your new monarchy!!!

  13. I guess I made a mistake not assuming all of the power congress was willing to relinquish to me during our war for independence (against the world’s then superpower).

    I mean, a couple of destitute 3rd world countries is waaaaay more menacing than full spectrum conflict against a superpower on your home turf.

    I’m sorry I wasted everybody’s time trying to set a precedent of a limited executive branch. Let’s just completely circumvent congress in every single affair and burn the constitution while we’re at it!

    Again, sorry for wasting the last 200+ years folks. Take care and enjoy your new monarchy!!!

  14. pan am 103 – about time:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2…..ster-libya
    http://translate.google.com/tr…..attentatet

  15. pan am 103 – about time:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2…..ster-libya
    http://translate.google.com/tr…..attentatet

  16. anybody figured out yet who the rebels are, what they want beyond Qaddafi’s ouster, and what sort of govt they would establish? Try as I might, I have not found either Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian democrats in the ranks.

  17. I hope when foreign countries give aid to American rebels when they storm D.C., the politicians on the Hill see the irony

  18. War is never a good thing, but wounded civilians, we should avoid war. .

  19. I hope the Democrats who blindly lined up behind this whole event will remember it when a Republican president does something similar. It seems that both sides only advocate the rule of law when it benefits themselves helps accomplish their objective. The capacity people have for hypocritical self-delusion is incredible. Political ideology and the blind loyalty which comes as a result are destroying us. The Iraq War was bad enough, but this is almost worse because it makes a mockery of “humanitarianism”. The excuse that we are going to save people from something that “might” happen in the future by bombing the bejesuz out of a small country is absurd. Why not hire psychics to predict future criminals and just go out and shoot them without the benefit of a trial since we already know they’re guilty? This total lack of rationality to justify our actions, which if done by other countries would be atrocities, sets a dangerous precedent. But even questioning these things are apparently no longer acceptable in the current climate, even within many of the so-called “progressive” communities. The only lesson Libya has taught to have the most weapons and kill anyone who might oppose you. It’s sad to think that we haven’t moved beyond this.

  20. I guess I made a mistake not assuming all of the power congress was willing to relinquish to me during our war for independence (against the world’s then superpower).

    I mean, a couple of destitute 3rd world countries is waaaaay more menacing than full spectrum conflict against a superpower on your home turf.

  21. thanks for share,i like it very much.

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