Barack Obama

Obama's B.S. Justification for His Illegal War: the 2001 AUMF

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Let me be opaque. |||

Over at The Daily Beast, national security reporter Eli Lake analyzes the are-you-effin'-kidding-me news that the same politician who came into office stating plainly that "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," and who as recently as last year was lobbying Congress to repeal the Sept. 14, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) on grounds that it may lead to a "perpetual war," is using the very same AUMF as its legal justification for the new Iraq/Syria war. Excerpt:

Obama's using the law that authorized attacks against al Qaeda to justify his new fight in Syria and Iraq. One small problem: ISIS and al Qaeda are at each others' throats. Legal experts were shocked [….]

"On its face this is an implausible argument because the 2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda fighting the United States," said Robert Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "Since ISIS broke up with al Qaeda it's hard to make that argument." […]

"I think they are going to get more heat for this implausible interpretation of the 2001 AUMF than they realize," said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who served as assistant attorney general at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow and research director in public law at the Brookings Institution, said the legal argument was a "very thin reed."

"If they are relying on the 2001 AUMF for this, then what the president is saying is, essentially: This war, like all wars, must end; we can't have endless wars; stop me before I sin again," he added. […]

Wittes said that he took an expansive view of what would constitute associated forces for the 2001 AUMF. But he observed, "Surely associated forces doesn't mean forces that are actively hostile and have publicly broken with and been repudiated by al Qaeda. Whatever 'associated' means, I don't think it means that."

One Obama administration official said the argument that the new war is legal under the 2001 AUMF stems from the fact that ISIS began as a franchise of al Qaeda. 

For those anti-Bush multilateralist Democrat types, Lake also points out that the war violates the United Nations Charter as well. Whole article here; you may also re-consult Lake's prescient 2010 Reason piece on "The 9/14 Presidency."

The aforementioned Jack Goldsmith also has Time column out titled "Obama's Breathtaking Expansion of a President's Power To Make War." The sharp lead paragraph:

Future historians will ask why George W. Bush sought and received express congressional authorization for his wars (against al Qaeda and Iraq) and his successor did not. They will puzzle over how Barack Obama the prudent war-powers constitutionalist transformed into a matchless war-powers unilateralist. And they will wonder why he claimed to "welcome congressional support" for his new military initiative against the Islamic State but did not insist on it in order to ensure clear political and legal legitimacy for the tough battle that promised to consume his last two years in office and define his presidency.

Goldsmith link comes via the Twitter feed of former Obama-administration Pentagon employee Rosa Brooks, which is filled with piss and vinegar about the choices by her former boss.

After the jump, if you have an iron stomach, are some comments the president made last year about repealing the AUMF.

[T]he choices we make about war can impact—in sometimes unintended ways—the openness and freedom on which our way of life depends.  And that is why I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.

The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old.  The Afghan war is coming to an end.  Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self.  Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.  Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. 

So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF's mandate.  And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.  Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue.  But this war, like all wars, must end.  That's what history advises.  That's what our democracy demands.

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  1. “It’s okay when our side does it!”

    1. Let’s shrike and Tony speak for themselves.

      1. That was what is known as a ‘preemptive shrike’.

  2. Fuck
    You
    That’s
    Why

  3. “I think they are going to get more heat for this implausible interpretation of the 2001 AUMF than they realize,” said Jack Goldsmith…

    Only if you think they thought they weren’t going to get any heat whatsoever and your criticism itself therefore qualifies as more heat than they realized. Because I suspect that’s about all you’re going to hear on that matter.

    We must do something, this is something, therefore we must do this.

    1. Where exactly would this heat come from? The press is just going to keep fellating ‘The One’.

  4. Mean while MSNBC is showing the 9 11 attack for effect.

    1. I just tired of this’it changed every thing’ B.S

      1. Well, it did. We are less free and poorer than we were before.

        1. pretty much this.

    2. Fox was using the date and the President’s announcement to give breathless coverage to a “potential” (which really meant not physically impossible) ISIS terror attack on the US generally and NYC specifically. I guess all the anchors get hardons thinking about doing their best Peter Jennings as innocent people die. Oh they were very careful to say that there was “no immediate, credible threat against the US homeland” and then went on to fap to terror scenarios. It was pretty disgusting.

      1. It wasn’t just Fox. My wife has been obsessed with 9/11 and ISIS this week and last night pretty much all the news channels were doing that, at least when they weren’t calling for Roger Goodell to resign.

        1. Gah! I hear one more @#$%ing word about Goodell on the local sports radio, I will vomit from boredom. WE ARE IN WEEK TWO OF THE NFL SEASON, and I cannot even get a gotterdamerung’d injury report because its all RAYRICEROGERGOODELLNOWNOWNOW!!!!!

  5. There isn’t a legal leg to stand on here. The 2001 AUMF authorized the US to go after Al Quada and the perpetrators of 911. It did not authorize the US to make war against any radical Islamic state or movement that threatened our interest. By this logic, Obama could use the AUMF to bomb Iran.

    Literally, this is like taking the authorization for force in Korea and using it as legal authority to go into Vietnam.

    1. Obviously, they are taking “associated forces” to mean “appeared on wikipedia list of Terrorist Organizations”…

      1. I have the authority to make war against any country in which there is a mosque.

        1. That would explain why he was so supportive of the Ground Zero Mosque.

    2. The dog is being well and truly wagged.

      1. Benghazi, IRS, NSA, AFA, economy…

        Wha? Why do you trifle with these politically motivated issues during an election year? CAN”T YOU SEE WE’RE AT WAR?

    3. “There isn’t a legal leg to stand on here.”

      That’s wishful thinking

      Here’s what the AUMF actually says:

      “IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…..f_the_AUMF

      If ISIS EVER did anything to assist anyone or any organization that helped Al Qaeda–in any way or at any time–then the President is authorized to wage war against them.

      And the determination of whether ISIS fits that definition?–is determined by the President.

      Just because we don’t like Barack Obama, just because we don’t like what he wants to do, just because we don’t want to wage another unnecessary war?

      That doesn’t mean the AUMF doesn’t say what it says!

      If we don’t like what is says, then we should have repealed it years ago–and we should repeal it today. That’s the solution. The solution is not to pretend it says something else and then call for Barack Obama’s impeachment.

      1. Sorry Ken, your argument would make sense if you pay no attention to the tense of the sentence.

        The sentence is entirely in the past tense. It says “planned”. It says “harbored”. The AUMF authorizes us to go after Al Quada wherever they are found and to go after any country that helped them or harbored them when they were planning 9-11. It doesn’t say “harbors them” It says “harbored”. That is a huge distinction.

        We do have a right to wage war against Al Quada. If Al quada is currently in ISIS controlled areas, the AUMF would give us authority to wage war on ISIS. But since ISIS and Al Quada claim to hate each other, that won’t work either.

        By your logic Ken, we would have the right to go to war with Pakistan today if we could prove they once harbored Al Quada at any time in the past. And the AUMF just doesn’t say that and wasn’t meant to mean that.

        1. “By your logic Ken, we would have the right to go to war with Pakistan today if we could prove they once harbored Al Quada at any time in the past. And the AUMF just doesn’t say that and wasn’t meant to mean that.”

          That’s not my logic! That’s what the fucking AUMF says!

          And what justification do you think Obama uses when he does drone strikes in Pakistan?!

          More wishful thinking from you, John!

          “The sentence is entirely in the past tense.”

          Yeah, that’s right! Anybody who helped the ORGANIZATION that perpetrated 9/11 in any way–anywhere in the world–is subject to the president’s war whim.

          That’s what the fucking thing says.

          I don’t like what is says! I don’t want it to say what it says. I want it repealed–years ago.

          But that’s what it says. …and it has no sunset clause.

          1. It doesn’t say that Ken. You are just ignoring my point about past tense. It is past tense from when the resolution was passed. The AUMF is about 911.

            Your argument doesn’t work.

            1. The authorization is to continue to fight anyone that can in any way be associated with Al Qaeda.

              There isn’t anything in there about how you had to have assisted Al Qaeda in 9/11. It’s just about assisting them–full stop.

              Certainly, the harboring language is for the present and the future. This is a present tense and future tense war against Al Qaeda–and anyone who associates with them.

              You’re going off the deep end trying to defend something–that doesn’t need to be defended and shouldn’t be defended.

              Just repeal the AUMF already! It should have had a sunset clause–at the very least. They argued about putting a sunset clause in it at the time–and didn’t because they wanted to be able to go after whomever the president decides is associated with Al Qaeda in the future!

              1. You are wrong Ken.

                Past tense. These people had NOTHING to do with 911 whatsoever.

                By your logic you can kill any food grower whose food ever found its way into an A-Q stomach. That’s NOT what it says. Words have meanings.

                1. You’re so begging for it to say something it doesn’t say…

                  “That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

                  This gives the president the authorization to wage war–in the future–against anyone he deems to have associated themselves with the organization that did something…in the past.

                  There isn’t any reason to think that this association had to have occurred before 9/11 or that the organization itself had to have assisted in 9/11.

                  Here we are in 2002:

                  http://tinyurl.com/ly9lrvs

                  If you associate yourself with the organization that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks in any way that the president himself considers to be valid, then you are authorized to wage war against that organization, whether it be in Kenya or the Philippines or Canada.

                  1. No, Ken, it says EXACTLY what it says. He has the authority to kill people/groups involved in 911. These people/groups were not.

                    You are arguing he can “determine” YOU were involved in 911 and smoke your ass and he’d be fine doing so.

                    If he can show a relationship, he’s covered. But he hasn’t and can’t, so he’s not.

                    1. “No, Ken, it says EXACTLY what it says. He has the authority to kill people/groups involved in 911.”

                      By “groups” you mean Al Qaeda?

                      Do you imagine that the president isn’t authorized to attack Al Qaeda members who didn’t join the organization until after September 11, 2001?

                      That would be silly, right?

                      The authorization is to fight the organization, Al Qaeda, and the people and groups associated with them.

                      Imagining that groups that became associated with (or part of) Al Qaeda after 9/11 aren’t covered by the AUMF is just wishful thinking on your part.

                      If you joined Al Qaeda–the organization that perpetrated 9/11–after 9/11? Guess what? You’re in the organization that perpetrated 9/11 (in the past) and the president is authorized to wage war against you (in the future).

                      The only question is whether you’re really associated with Al Qaeda–how do we determine that? Well, the AUMF answers that question–the President himself determines whether you’re part of Al Qaeda.

                      I suppose someone could make the argument that Congress can’t abdicate their role in declaring war, but it’s hard to argue they did that–within a congressional authorization to declare war.

                      Regardless, Barack Obama has an authorization to wage war against anyone he himself considers to have associated themselves with Al Qaeda–now and forever more into the future. …right up until the moment the AUMF is repealed.

                      I hope that moment comes tomorrow.

                    2. Do you imagine that the president isn’t authorized to attack Al Qaeda members who didn’t join the organization until after September 11, 2001?

                      Correct (and I’m not imagining. That’s what it says.)

                      Both Bush and Obama overstepped their authority. Period.

                      President himself determines whether you’re part of Al Qaeda.

                      I see what you are arguing Ken, and it was clearly not the intent. He has to be right or at least be some compelling evidence (Intel) to support such a determination.

                      You are arguing he can kill you, if he wants to, and then simply say oops, I was wrong…I’m covered. That’s bullshit.

                    3. “You are arguing he can kill you, if he wants to, and then simply say oops, I was wrong…I’m covered. That’s bullshit.”

                      They wanted to cover organizations that were only tangentially related to the attacks.

                      It wasn’t by accident! This was the intent of the authorization!

                      It just made a lot more sense when every house and every car in America were flying an American flag.

                      It was intended to authorize going after the Taliban, the Islamists in the Philippines, and anybody and everybody else the president decided we need to go after. It was a blank check!

                      We didn’t know who all our enemies were going to be.

                      The AUMF was passed on September 14, 2001.

                      On September 14, I thought tactical nukes against Afghanistan were a legitimate possibility. People were saying, you know, “We nuked Japan for Pearl Harbor, and they didn’t target our civilians specifically”.

                      It was us against the world, and we were ready to fight. So, we wrote Bush a blank check.

                      Time to cancel that check already.

                    4. Actually it’s the NDAA that allows him to go after Ken.

                    5. You’re saying if we cut the budget, he couldn’t do this?

                      I’ll buy that.

                      We need to repeal the AUMF anyway. No point in funding something the president doesn’t have the authorization to do, and it’s harder for the president to get the authorization to do something without the funding.

                2. “Words have meanings.”

                  Sure they do. They mean whatever Emperor Obama wants them to mean. Nothing more and nothing less.

              2. “The authorization is to continue to fight anyone that can in any way be associated with Al Qaeda.”

                No it isn’t, and it’s been explained to you very well why it isn’t.

                1. “That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11”

                  You’re saying this doesn’t authorize the president to fight Al Qaeda?

                  You’ve gone so far out on that limb, the limb just snapped underneath you.

                  And for what reason? So you can hate on Obama s’more? Call for his impeachment over this?

                  There are lots of other legitimate reasons to hate on Obama–pick one of them.

                  Obama probably isn’t going to be impeached over this anyway–not for doing the same thing Bush did. Hell, Most of the establishment Republicans want to go to war with ISIS anyway.

                  You know what bugs me?

                  People thinking that AUMF isn’t a problem.

                  The AUMF has been used to justify wars that are not in America’s best interests.

                  The AUMF has been used to justify killing American citizens with drones–without a trial or anything.

                  The AUMF has been used to justify the NSA!

                  If people have somehow come to imagine that the AUMF isn’t a problem–and that it doesn’t really authorize Obama to do all sorts of shitty things? Then they’re less apt to want to repeal the damn thing.

                  I’m not going to pretend the AUMF isn’t a problem–just to add an argument against Obama 1) that doesn’t hold water and 2) that doesn’t really add much to all the other thousands of reasons we should oppose him on just about everything he does anyway.

                  1. And for what reason? So you can hate on Obama s’more? Call for his impeachment over this?

                    Actually, I was advocating against Bush on the same grounds.

                    You know what bugs me?

                    People thinking that AUMF isn’t a problem.

                    Who says I think the AUMF isn’t a problem? It is and should be repealed. So should the Patriot act.

                    My point is, that even if it’s NOT repealed, it isn’t a blanket document to kill anyone the president feels like.

                    The Taliban was a stretch, IMO.

                    Congress didn’t write all this:

                    “IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

                    If they really meant:

                    The president can kill anyone he wants.

                    It’s the Commerce Clause argument, as I point out below (wrt AUMF Iraq 2002):

                    MOAR Commerce Clause logic. (What the Founders really meant to do with the CC was make Congress omnipotent after they took the time to limit government powers.)

                    1. “And for what reason? So you can hate on Obama s’more? Call for his impeachment over this?”

                      That whole comment wasn’t aimed at you.

                      It was a response to fuck you tulpa.

                    2. That being said…

                      “Who says I think the AUMF isn’t a problem?”

                      One of the problems with the AUMF is that it authorizes the president to do stuff like this war against ISIS–without seeking addition approval from Congress.

                    3. One of the problems with the AUMF is that it authorizes the president to do stuff like this war against ISIS–without seeking addition approval from Congress.

                      But it doesn’t. Goto top. Repeat.

                    4. If you don’t think it authorizes the president to wage wars like this one against ISIS (without additional congressional approval)…

                      …and you don’t think it is a legitimate defense of NSA surveillance.

                      …and you don’t think it authorizes the president to kill American citizens with drone strikes (without a trial).

                      Then why do you think the AUMF is a problem and should be repealed?

                    5. Then why do you think the AUMF is a problem and should be repealed?

                      Because it gives idiots like Bush and Obama a starting point from which to make bullshit arguments to increase their power. If it was repealed, they wouldn’t even be able to make their ridiculous claim.

                      In the future, these things need to come with a sunset provision requiring further Congressional action to continue.

                    6. But it does.

                      I really can’t believe that you guys are arguing about this.

                      If Obama says it does, it does.

                      It makes no difference how you interpret the words. The ONLY valid interpretation is the interpretation of Emperor Obama.

                    7. If he’s going to act like a tyrant, I’d rather he did so outside of the law–rather than with the support of a law that justifies his tyrannical behavior.

                    8. The AUMF absolutely is a problem and should be repealed. Full stop.

                      ALSO, the AUMF does not include the phrase “…harbored or harbor…” as a for instance. It specifically refers to 9/11/01, not any future attacks. It is lexically anchored in time, and intentionally so. That it’s being broken and no Congress has had the balls to call either President out on it does not mean that those Presidents have thus been following the law.

                    9. And Congress agrees, too, and has since 2001!

                      It’s almost like Congress has an idea what it authorized and doesn’t think the argument here is correct!

      2. Ken’s correct. If they can interpret the 10th Amendment and the general welfare clause without any consideration for the rest of the document, then they can certainly find one guy in ISIS who was “involved” in 9/11.

        1. And it specifically says the president “determines” that qualification. It sucks, but they can torture the AUMF into authorization for just about anything. Need to repeal it, but the Republicans don’t have the balls to even try it.

      3. Straw man.

        I would offer the President has not tied IS(IS/IL) to 9/11 in any way shape or form. You are arguing the President is right to use AMUF even though the President isn’t arguing they did any of what you linked.

        In addition, the President was arguing against AMUF a year ago. Read the entire article.

        1. I don’t think he’s saying that the interpretation is correct, it’s just the one they will use and get away with.

          1. You would have to torture the language to make it say something other than what it says.

            The purpose of the AUMF was to authorize the president to go after Al Qaeda, the Taliban–and Al Qaeda cells operating, at the time, in places like the Philippines, too!

            Wherever Al Qaeda–or anyone who assists or harbored them in any way–pops up? The AUMF authorizes the president to go after them. …at his HIS OWN discretion.

            That was a stupid authorization.

            We should repeal it already.

        2. “The President was arguing against AMUF a year ago.”

          That’s out the window, Buddy Roe!

          I would offer the President has not tied IS(IS/IL) to 9/11 in any way shape or form.

          For goodness’ sake, before ISIS was ISIS they used to call themselves “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I…..the_Levant

          If Obama hasn’t made that argument in public yet, it’s because he hasn’t had to. If this gets challenged in court, they will.

          They use the AUMF to justify what they’re doing with the NSA!

          You don’t like what the AUMF says. I get that! I don’t like it either.

          …but that’s what it says.

    4. Wait, hold on. By this logic, we can bomb Germany right now. Might be useful for trade negotiations.

      1. Not only could we–legally–bomb Germany, we could bomb the United States!

        In fact, I believe Barack Obama has already used the AUMF to justify killing an American citizen.

        We should totally get rid of the AUMF already.

      2. Well, obviously the AUMF authorizes the US to bomb Germany.

        Germany actually did harbor the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackings.

        1. I meant the declaration of war against Germany in 1942.

  6. To the extent the strikes take place within Iraq, it seems like the 2002 Iraq Resolution would provide pretty broad cover as well. This is why actual war declarations are preferable to blanket authorizations to use the military for whatever the president feels like doing.

    1. The 2002 resolution gave us the authority to remove the Saddam regime and create a new government. We did that. The 2002 resolution ended when we left in 2011. Even Obama wouldn’t try and claim it gave him the never ending authority to go back into Iraq anytime he liked.

      And even if it did, it didn’t cover Syria.

      1. Obama can cover any action he likes with an EXECUTIVE ORDER.

      2. Actually, this strikes me as a more plausible cover than the AUMF. He could claim that the new government is not fully established and intervening is a necessary step in completing its establishment. That’s kind of the problem with open-ended mandates like nation-building.

      3. Yeah, I just read it. It talks about the Iraqi government, not terrorists in Iraq.

        MOAR Commerce Clause logic. (What the Founders really meant to do with the CC was make Congress omnipotent after they took the time to limit government powers.)

        1. Well they didn’t have white out in those days. Fortunately for us they saw the errors of their ways and added the commerce clause as well as the general welfare clause before it was too late. It was so obvious the Founders didn’t even need to mention it in their writings.

  7. the same politician Constitutional scholar who came into office stating plainly that “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,”

    Get it right.

    1. Didn’t you know the constitution is a living breathing document? It constantly evolves to fit with the times, it’s a good thing we have Obama to tell us what adaptations it has acquired over these last couple of months.

      1. It does seem to be mutating at an alarming rate.

  8. The King wants a divorce.

    1. off with her head!

  9. What a waste of a post. What is Reason going to do to get Sarah Palin out of office? Election day is coming up and if we don’t get her out of office now we’ll have to wait another two/four/six years (not sure what her term of office is) to boot her.

    1. What I want to know is: what do Millennials think about Sarah Palin?

      1. Well, we can’t let her turn the whole country into the Westborough Baptist Church, so what can we do?

        It’s a two-party system.

        1. Exactly, and what about her Caucus that includes Krauthammer, Coulter, Hannity, Ingraham and Will? I mean, these people are running the country over a cliff at full speed and Reason isn’t devoting any post space to them.

          1. You forgot Rush, the long-time Caucus Chairman.

      2. Here is your full-on government employee gibberish from Sarah Palin.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDsCQli2760

  10. “Surely associated forces doesn’t mean forces that are actively hostile and have publicly broken with and been repudiated by al Qaeda. Whatever ‘associated’ means, I don’t think it means that.”

    Love and Hate are just two sides of the same coin, Shirley. Keep clapping, and that’s an order.

  11. I wish Rand Paul had bitten his tongue for another week on the congressionally approved things he’d like to do to ISIS. He could have been to the other Republican primary candidates what Obama was compared to Hillary–the only credible primary candidate who wasn’t on board with the Iraq War.

    Rand Paul could have been the anti-war candidate compared to Hillary like Obama was to McCain!

    Hillary would be smart to distance herself from this war now. Her biggest weakness was being seen as the war-hawk candidate–especially in the primaries when she has to face her own Democratic constituency. …and being a war-hawk wasn’t going to help her any against Rand Paul either.

    Now Rand Paul has stuck his foot in it, and Hillary hardly looks like a warmonger to her base with Obama dropping bombs in the background. The Hillary campaign must be thrilled!

    1. Well, he is saying what Obama is proposing is unconstitutional. That’s the bigger issue here–we can’t go to war without congressional authorization, and neither recent AUMF authorizes this conflict.

      1. To most primary voters/millenials/average non-libertarians, I think that’s a rather arcane point.

        I know it’s important to me! …I’m not sure how well that plays with swing voters. It may come across as just being old-fashioned.

        Whether you’re for or against the war is where the action is. I think being against a war that Clinton is for would have been a big advantage in the general election.

        And if he could have managed to not be so supportive until after he won the Republican nomination, that would have been even better. Maybe that wasn’t possible anyway. After all, he as to win the nomination first.

        Even Obama couldn’t go all out against the Iraq War until Hillary had already cut a deal to drop out in return for being named Secretary of State. Until you have the nomination sealed away, you really do just have to focus on your base. That’s why it was worth it for Obama to cut a deal with Hillary.

      2. “we can’t go to war without congressional authorization”

        WE cannot, but Obama can.

        You’ll be watching TV coverage of it soon.

  12. Will conservatives learn anything from this? That’s the question.

    (No.)

    1. You’re supposed to leave that question for Palin’s Buttplug. I mean, seriously, there are already a million people asking that question all over the interwebs.

      The interesting question is: Will liberals will learn anything from this?

      I mean, holy shit, they voted for Barack Obama because they thought he was against the Iraq War! They gave him a fucking Nobel Peace Prize!

      Will the liberals learn anything from this?

      1. Nobody is going to learn anything from this, except maybe me. I am learning that the vast hypocrisy of which the leftard wing of ‘Murica is capable can make me physically ill.

        I thought I knew already, but this was a new lesson.

        1. I have often thought that I was too cynical about politicians, and their deceitfulness, their avarice, their murderous exploits, their contempt for the powerless, their vainglorious narcissism.

          I have learned that, no matter how cynical I become about politicians, I can always get more cynical.

    2. Wrong, sir, wrong! They’ll learn that the next time a hawk is in office, he can unilaterally start wars without waiting on Congress.

  13. “Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war. For several months during his childhood there had been confused street fighting in London itself, some of which he remembered vividly. But to trace out the history of the whole period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one. At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge, which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.”
    -George Orwell, 1984

    1. So very appropriate to the current situation since Obama really, really wanted the US to serve as ISIS’s air force just a year ago.

  14. Isnt the debate (if any) as to whether the AUMF actually applies as however-scant legal authority for the executive to unilaterally wage war wherever and with whomever they choose COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS if congress is unwilling to contest the presidents authority to do so?

    Fuck the AUMF for the moment = if congress don’t say “boo”, and just accedes to whatever claims made ‘as if they were legal’, without any determination if that is in fact the case, then it really doesn’t matter what the claimed authority is, does it?

    Just as ‘international law’ only matters when parties to it CHOOSE to enforce it, Congresses’ authority only matters when they assume it. if they abrogate powers, someone needs to find a reason to sue someone, if they could. Lacking that, its a fait accompli

    Or am i wrong?

    1. Congress not acting doesn’t make it legal. It just makes it an illegal fait accompli.

    2. I suppose the people could enforce the law by taking to the streets en masse.

    3. No. You are not. The Constitution is only as good as the public and by extension Congress’ willingness to enforce it.

    4. Clinton v. City of New York. You just need to find someone with standing, that’s the problem. An Air Force pilot, maybe?

  15. Even if every member of Congress voted for this war, it would still suck just as much.

    1. The war would, but at least the process wouldn’t.

  16. Fuck Chocolate Nixon, yo.

  17. …as recently as last year [President Obama] was lobbying Congress to repeal the Sept. 14, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) on grounds that it may lead to a “perpetual war,”

    And he was right. We, that is Congress, should have listened to him.

  18. I think we should applaud his progress on this issue. He never claimed any congressional authorization for Libya, so this fig leaf is at least an acknowledgement that maybe congress does have some role when it comes to warmaking.

  19. Can you get the peace prize twice???

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