ISIS

With Friends Like These: Bush Lawyer John Yoo Backs Obama's Undeclared War on ISIS

|

Credit: White House / Flickr.com

When President Barack Obama took the United States to war against Libya in 2011 without first seeking congressional authorization as required by the Constitution, he disappointed more than a few of his liberal followers. But Obama did earn the grudging respect of conservative law professor John Yoo, the controversial former George W. Bush administration lawyer, "torture memo" author, and Andrew Jackson apologist. In response to Obama's statement that he did not need congressional approval to launch military action in Libya thanks to his "constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations" and his powers "as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive," Yoo declared: "For once, Mr. Obama has the Constitution about right."

Fast-forward to the present day and Obama is once more planning to wage war without first seeking authorization from Congress. And once again, former Bush lawyer Yoo is standing in Obama's corner. "President Obama's 'strategy' for fighting the Islamic state," Yoo recently wrote at National Review, "is coming under fire from conservatives for lacking legal authority. I worry that they are allowing their short-term political opposition to Obama and his foreign policy to overcome the longer-term interest in preserving the powers of the presidency."

To his credit, Yoo is at least consistent. He wants the president to enjoy virtually unlimited war powers and he maintains that position regardless of which political party happens to occupy the office. But to his discredit, Yoo's stance is at odds with the text of the Constitution, which plainly grants Congress—not the president—the "power…to declare war."

Back in 2008, when Obama was first seeking the White House, he was widely seen as an antiwar candidate of "hope" and "change" whose election would repudiate the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush years. I think it's safe to say that the ongoing Obama-Yoo alliance has finally dispelled that myth.

NEXT: Jobless Claims at Two Month Low

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I know that Yoo argued that the government should have the power to crush the testicles of a suspected terrorist’s son.

    I just didn’t know that he could reach through teh interweb and nutpunch me!

  2. As I’ve said elsewhere, this is the administration of President Barack H. Bush.

    1. Yep – “everyone’s getting to enjoy Bush’s fourth term” is how I put it

    2. It’ll be interesting to see if BHO publicly associates himself with Yoo’s comments.

      1. He will not.

        YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!

      2. However, his MINIONS will note, “BOOOOOOOOOOOSH appointee says it’s OK, so…there!”

        1. That’s what minions are FOR.

        2. Let’s face it: Barack O’Bush has widespread, bipartisan support among pundits, legislators, and lawyers.

          Bottom line: the president is an elected tyrant, a dictator with no effective limits during his term of office.

          1. Presidente pa’ toda la vida!

  3. When President Barack Obama took the United States to war against Libya in 2011 without first seeking congressional authorization as required by the Constitution, he disappointed more than a few of his liberal followers.

    More than a few who? Does more than a few mean 2 or 3 academics and a handful of rank and file types?

    The most vociferous ‘liberal’ opponents of Obama simply went silent about the guy instead of speaking out. The anti-war left is more left than anti-war. While the Constitutionalist left is a contradiction in terms.

    1. A few Code Pinko dead-enders have been consistent enough to protest his lust for war.

      1. There’s certainly a few groups that consistently protest war in general. But nary a one will argue from the basis of constitutionality, legality or even natural law principles. For them, actions are only unconstitutional for members of the other tribe and as soon as their tribe is back in power, their principled stance on ‘the law’ amounts to a fart in the wind.

  4. OT: Objectivity Is a Privilege, just in case anyone wondered whether the Enlightenment is really most sincerely dead.

    Trigger warning: You may have to watch a Ralph Lauren ad before reading.

    1. It isn’t dead, yet. Things look pretty bleak, but they were looking pretty bleak for the enlightenment in WW2 too, right up until the time the socialist scorpion stabbed the other socialist scorpion, b/c scorpions gonna scorp, giving the relatively liberal powers a chance to militarily break and massively morally discredit the (straightforwardly) nationalist half of the socialist alliance.

      Look, when one of the leading advocates for the eternal warfare state is named Max Boot, and a notable femmarxist famed for publicly demanding free shit she can easily afford is literally named after a parasite, understand that you’re a character in a fictional world, and the writer is on our side.

  5. Fuck Yoo, that’s why.

  6. You know who else backed an undeclared war?

    1. The purveyors or the War on Wimminz?

    2. Hitl-

      I mean, every president since FDR?

    3. Your mother?

    4. Francois Duvalier?

  7. But Obama did earn the grudging respect of conservative law professor John Yoo…

    Who put Obama in his next film, complete with slow motion doves and nickel-plated handguns.

    1. So both Yoo and The One are “professors”. One and “expert” at law, the other an “expert” at the constitution.

      Welp = that settles it. Two experts say it’s all good — it’s all good

      1. No, you’re thinking of Jet Li.

  8. And I bet that the very same leftists who wanted Yoo to hang for backing Bush are hailing him as a hero for backing Obama.

    1. Well, he *is* at Berkeley!

  9. I can’t help but wonder why Obama isn’t seeking Congressional authorization for the war against ISIS. It’s not like they would deny him or anything. Hell, he’s even managed to terrorize the great unwashed into thinking that bombing people on the other side of the globe is a good idea for some reason. What does he have to lose by going through the legal motions?

    1. For the same reason why cops routinely lie, even when the truth would suffice.

      Power is no fun unless you abuse it.

    2. What does he have to lose by going through the legal motions?

      Belief that he doesn’t have to go through the legal motions. Obama doesn’t want any limitations on his power. Acknowledging, even implicitly, that he has to or should get permission from Congress before going to war would undermine his power, as well as the power of his successor.

      1. Belief that he doesn’t have to go through the legal motions.

        This.

    3. Bombing ISIS is popular in the polls. He wants to take full credit for it.

  10. By all means. Let all those mediocre Members of Congress with their fingers up their rear ends sit around and decide if we should go to war. By the time they decide to do anything about anything, our country will probably be in smoking ruins. In any event, today’s Congress has very few (if any) members who have ever served in the Armed Forces anyway, much less combat. Come to think of it, the President has not even served in the Armed Forces. Maybe it’s time to rewrite the Constitution also. Many act as if it was a divinely inspired document, when in fact it is no more then the product of imperfect 18th Century men.

    1. By the time they decide to do anything about anything, our country will probably be in smoking ruins.

      Never go full retard.

      1. Its Mary. Going full retard is all she has. Its her move.

        1. John,

          Have a nice day, you fucking moron.

          1. Oh Mary, will you ever get any help?

            1. Why don’t you recommend someone, you fucking idiot.

              Have a nice day, Ass Wipe.

              1. You know Mary, they have drugs they can give you that will chill you out. I know you don’t want to take them. But I bet everyone who knows you wishes you would. They only mean the best for you. Really.

                1. John,

                  You just don’t like my opinions I post on this website. Every time I make some comment I get a bunch of one liner insults back from people who can’t write counter arguments to refute my opinions. Then when I insult them back, they can’t stand it. So, like you they come up with bullshit like you just have, such as “drugs they can give you” and crap like that.

                  Read my original post. You don’t think that most Members of Congress are mediocre slugs? If you don’t agree with my opinion, then maybe you need to post something more intelligent then telling me I need to take some drugs.

                  1. Given that the main thrust of your argument was that the mediocre slugs would sit around with their thumbs up their asses while the country became a smoking ruin, you might want to consider the possibility that people weren’t laughing at you for calling Congress a bunch of mediocre slugs but the stuff that came after.

                    This may be a new experience for you – having people make it past your first assertion without collapsing into derisive laughter – and if so, I must congratulate you; a little work, and you can get to the point people will reach the end of one of your diatribes before busting up. But with this accomplishment comes great responsibility: learning to recognize *which* part of your thoughts people are laughing at, rather than blindly assuming it is the first part.

                    1. Tarran,

                      What you are saying is that I am supposed to ignore all the unwarranted insults that are directed at me AFTER I have posted opinions that “fly in the face” of the libertarian platform, if there is such a platform.

                    2. Oh dear, I see I was unclear!

                      What I meant was that the content of your initial post, specifically the bit where you asserted that if Congress didn’t act urgently, the country would become a smoking ruin, was the bit that was so laughably stupid that it moved people to taunt you, not your characterization of Congress as mediocre slugs.

                      I do disagree with your characterization of congress, because I think it’s unfair to genuine slugs.

                      Now, you might feel it is unfair that people call you a troll, but in our defense, it is comments like the one about the country becoming a smoking ruin in the face of Congressional inaction that make us think you *must* be a troll, saying reidiculous inflammatory statements in a bid to incur an outraged reaction. And in our defense, we really don’t think anyone could genuinely hold the view that inaction by congress leads to a smoking ruin; it’s literally one of the stupidest things I’ve read this month, and I was reading youtube comments a few days ago!

                      As to the abuse you receive, it’s really self inflicted. You post very stupid comments, laughably stupid ones, and when people rebut them you call them names! Speaking for myself, I don’t get upset, I merely assume that that’s how you communicate because you are a cretinous imbecille. If the abuse truly bothers you, the solution is simple: change your handle, and start over a fresh, but try not to invite people to lick their own rectums when they ask you questions as to what you mean.

                    3. “…saying *reidiculous* inflammatory statements…”

                      I see what you did there. Nice. 🙂

      2. darius404,

        Hi, Asshole

        You have anything for me besides your dimwit one liner?

        Smoking ruins is obviously a figure of speech. Clearly you are too fucking stupid to pick that up.

        Go fuck yourself, you fucking ,moron.

      3. Fuck you.

        1. (she spouted, apparently to no one in particular)

          You really do seem in need of medication. I’m not saying that to be snide…I’m saying that sincerely, because you appear to have some sort of personality disorder, or severe anger management issues at the very least. I would be surprised, if this is the way you deal with frustration, if this had not been mentioned to you before.

    2. Go to bed Grandpa, you’re drunk.

      1. Hugh,

        Ram it up your butt, you fucking piece of shit!

        1. Turd.Burglar.

    3. Many act as if it was a divinely inspired document, when in fact it is no more then the product of imperfect 18th Century men.

      Maybe so, but a better group of them than we fully appreciate today.

      1. What makes you think they were better than we are? Just because they built a nation that has endured for a couple of centuries and our attempts at nation building were catastrophic failures and because the American electorate back then elected Washington and Jefferson and Madison and more recently they elected both Bush and Obama? I don’t see why you wouldn’t trust us to rewrite the Constitution and make it better than those stupid old dead white guys. Heck, all they had to go by to guide them was history and philosophy books, whereas we’ve got TV and movies and the collective wisdom of Facebook to guide us.

      2. Poppa Kilo,

        Thanks for an intelligent comment. And yes, you are right about the men who wrote (mainly Madison as I recall) and signed the Constitution. A far better group than the fucking moron politicians who pretend to run this country today. Thanks again for your intelligent rebuttal to my comment. Too bad some of the asshole morons who respond to my opinions can’t do the same.

        1. Turd.Burglar.

    4. When was the last time a foreign invading force turned the US into “smoking ruins”? Does ISIS even have the capability to do so?

      1. Game of Thrones,
        Smoking ruins is clearly a figure of speech, although 9/11 was closer to reality than an entire nation. I doubt ISIS will defeat us, but they will no doubt cause us some damage before it is over.

        1. 9/11, when you look at it objectively and dispassionately, was simply a low-level operation that fell through a number of cracks in our law enforcement system and achieved better results for al-Qaeda than the architects of the plan ever expected. It was nothing complex…a bunch of guys smuggled box cutters onto some planes, then flew them into buildings. Anyone who could pilot an aircraft and find some friends who could use boxcutters as weapons could hypothetically achieve the same result, and it’s not much more difficult than Timothy McVeigh running a truck full of fertilizer bomb up to a building and taking it down that way.

          If you look at the history of terrorist attacks (and attempted attacks) in the U.S., you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of them are so inept that they never really rose to the level of a threat. Saying that we have to go to war with a group like ISIS because they might perpetrate another 9/11 is alarmist, because it ignores that a) ISIS is no more a threat to cause another 9/11 than a hundred other groups out there, b) fighting with ISIS in Iraq in no way impacts their ability to do such an attack here, and c) most 9/11 style attacks fail long before implementation because it’s tough finding personnel who can either plan or carry out those types of attacks without alerting law enforcement (assuming they can even come up with a workable plan to begin with).

    5. This is even more incoherent than the Rand Paul comment of yesterday.

      I give it the worst grade imaginable: A–!

      1. Tarran,

        Thanks for letting me know that you are still the very same asshole moron you were yesterday.

        Have a nice day, scrotum brain.

        1. You know, I think I will have a nice day, in part because the hatred of a nasty, imbecilic cretinous ignoramus like you fills me with a grim sort of cheer.

          1. tarran,

            Hi Asshole,

            You just don’t like the opinions I post. Your responses to my comments are usually one liner insulting pieces of shit. Then of course you don’t like it when you receive the same insults you dish out.

            1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.18.14 @ 12:44PM|#
              …”Your responses to my comments are usually one liner insulting pieces of shit.”

              Which, of course, is what you so richly deserve.
              Didn’t you promise to leave? Many times?

              1. Sevo,

                Hi Asshole.

                Forget about my leaving, because it is not going to happen.

                You just don’t like the anti-libertarian opinions I post, which is why you decided to single me out some time ago.

                Too bad you don’t like my comments. Guess you will just have to suck it up, won’t you?

                See you around the web, you fucking, worthless piece of shit, trailer trash, semi-literate moron.

                1. Forget about my leaving, because it is not going to happen.

                  You realize that neither threatening to leave nor threatening to stay is going to matter to anyone else here?

                  You’re on a site where you obviously feel you’re being abused, which makes you angry. You scream obscenities at people who you feel abuse you, which invites more abuse, making you even angrier. You threaten to go, the people there mock you (because they don’t care if you leave) which makes you even angrier. You threaten to stay, because you think that you’ll get back at them that way, but they don’t care about that either and simply continue to mock you. In none of these situations are any of the people you’re angry about bothered by the choice you make.

                  I fail to see how any of your chosen courses of action benefit you, unless you actually invite the attention of being abused. If you really didn’t want to be abused anymore, you’d simply leave without announcing it and find something else to do. Basically, you’re inviting the abuse you feel you’re receiving.

    6. Many act as if it was a divinely inspired document, when in fact it is no more then the product of imperfect 18th Century men.

      No, we simply act as if it is the supreme law of the land that can only be changed through a complex process and supermajority. And imperfect as those 18th century men were, they had learned from centuries of European history and come up with something that has worked better than any of the alternatives people had tried before or have tried since.

      By all means. Let all those mediocre Members of Congress with their fingers up their rear ends sit around and decide if we should go to war.

      That’s the law, and it’s a good law. I’m sorry you are too historically illiterate to understand that.

  11. I really hate John Yoo. It insults my sense of justice and honor that someone that fucking stupid and dishonest could rise to such a position. His arguments are completely idiotic. The 2001 AUMF clearly was intended to apply to the groups responsible for 911. There is no rational way to read that to apply to any terrorist group who in the future may allign with Al Quada. The AUMF told the President “go forth and do what is necessary to get the bastards who did this”. It was not a declaration of war on every Islamic terrorist group for the rest of history.

    The 2003 AUMF talks about the “continuing threat to national security in Iraq”. That means Saddam Husein. Yoo argues that it gives the President the right to forever return to Iraq whenever there is a national security threat there. By that logic, the President could make war on Germany based on the 1941 declaration of war. The AUMF was authorization for the use of force against a sovereignty, the old Saddam Regime, that no longer exists.

    It is just appalling that such stupid arguments are given a public hearing or taken seriously by anyone.

    1. …stupid arguments are given a public hearing or taken seriously by anyone.

      This happens every day in every area of public policy.

      1. Yes. I guess since this is a field I know something about, it offends me more than usual. Seriously, fuck Yoo. What the hell kind of country do we have that allowed that guy to ever get so high. He is a fucking moron.

        1. “What the hell kind of country do we have that allowed that guy to ever get so high.”

          The kind of country that allows itself to be turned into a minor (morphing into a major) dictatorship over external threats- perceived or imagined.

        2. In fact, all branches of government concur that, since he is Commander in Chief, the President can do whatever he wants with the military, wherever and whenever he wants to do it.

          What are they going to do, impeach him? or cut funding while the troops are in the battlefield?

          Get over it: the Constitution is a dead letter with respect to the President’s war powers.

          1. It is until there is a Republican President. The media wouldn’t let a Republican President get away with this. They really would impeach one for this.

            But yes, when there is a Democratic President, it is more or less a dictatorship. To hold the President accountable you need two of the following three groups; the Rs in Congress, the Ds in Congress and the media. When you have a Republican President the Ds in Congress and the media team up to call him to the carpet. When you have a Democratic President, the Ds in Congress and the media team up to ensure that he can do anything he wants no matter how illegal or corrupt. It is just how it works.

  12. Yoo is at least consistent.

    We have always been at war with everyone.

  13. I think it’s safe to say that the ongoing Obama-Yoo alliance has finally dispelled that myth.

    You obviously don’t know my progressive friends.

    1. Zealotry is boundless in its sprint to justify a cause.

  14. Maybe it’s time to rewrite the Constitution also. Many act as if it was a divinely inspired document, when in fact it is no more then the product of imperfect 18th Century men.

    Yes, of course it is. We could get rid of all that preposterous hogwash about rights and freedom and limited government, and establish a hereditary monarchy and a caste system based on government service. Drive the final stake through the heart of this Grand Experiment, and put it out of its floundering misery.

    “I will defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic, so help me Cthulu.”

    1. Cthulu 2016!

      Why vote for the lesser evil?

    2. Brilliant post. You need to receive the Nobel Fucking Prize for Literature.

      1. A lot better than the crap you have been writing.

  15. If slippery and flip-flopping Barack can reign for 8 years Rand Paul is a shoo-in.

    1. It is going to torpedo Hillary. The full retard Progs are livid over this. Since they can’t take it out on the Chocolate Nixon, they are going to take it out on Hillary. Voting against Hillary in the primaries will be the way the full retard Progs try and get their dignity back after 8 years of abuse.

      1. I don’t think so… these people are so sexist that they don’t see Hillary the human being but merely her vagina. And they want a vagina in the oval office – practically any one will do.

        If Bush could get reelected despite the Iraqi occupation being a clusterfuck, the Hillary can easily handle the debacles that she can more easily place at others’ feet.

        1. No. A certain breed fo boomer hag is like that. But the rest of the far left hate her.

          http://thehill.com/blogs/ballo…..ret-emails

          The Hill reviewed hundreds of emails from a progressive members only Google group called the “Gamechanger Salon,” a forum where nearly 1,500 activists, strategists and journalists debate issues and craft messaging campaigns.

          The group includes prominent Democrats, Sierra Club officials, journalists who work for The Huffington Post and The Nation magazine, senior union representatives, leaders at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the president of NARAL.

          In the emails spanning over a year ? starting in June 2013 through July of this year ? frustration with Clinton is evident.

          Clinton’s too much of a hawk, too cozy with Wall Street, hasn’t spoken out enough on climate change, and will be subject to personal questions and criticisms, members of the group stated in the emails.

          The existence of the group was reported earlier this year by the conservative outlet MediaTrackers.org, but this is the first time the emails have become public.

          “[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have,” Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email.

          1. Wow! This is in diametric opposition to the attitudes of the low info proggies I listen to at work.

            1. The low info progs you work with will get their marching orders and talking points soon enough. Trust me, when their “opinion leaders” tell them Hillary is out of the party, they will do as they are told.

              1. Lizzie

                Sorry

          2. And yet, when faced with a ticket of Hillary vs. Paul, Hillary vs. Ryan, or Hillary vs. Christie, they punch the Team Blue ticket without hesitation.

            1. Some would. But some would vote green or stay home. It only takes one or two percent of them to do that to make a huge difference. Also, the far left has a lot of money. A decent percent of them not opening up their bank accounts to Hillary the way the did to Obama would make a big difference. A nominee whose base hates them, is at a huge disadvantage.

        2. tarran,

          tarran

          You jump on my comments right away, and call me all sorts of insulting names, as I call you even nastier names.

          And yet you post shit like this. Is it really necessary to insult Mrs. Clinton by referring to parts of her anatomy.

          Are you really so stupid that you can tear apart a public figure you don’t like, using language like this?

          1. He didn’t insult Hillary. He insulted her supporters. It is not Hillary’s fault that her supporters can’t see her as a human being.

            1. John,

              Thanks for the lecture, dimwit.

              1. Turd.Burglar.

          2. Is it really necessary to insult Mrs. Clinton by referring to parts of her anatomy.

            No, but considering that she likes to play the female victim card often to try and shut down criticism of her, it’s fine for him to do so. Turnabout is fair play, after all. Not to mention that progressives do vote for candidates based on criteria that shallow.

            Hillary Clinton is only considered a desirable candidate by some because a) she’s a woman (seen as an oppressed class) and b) she used to be married to a President. If she were a male candidate, judged on her own accomplishments and merits, she’d be the object of ridicule for believing that she demonstrated any qualifications or capabilities to be President. This is because, looking at her as an individual politician, she’s failed miserably at almost every task she’s been given or taken on during her two decades in the public spotlight.

          3. Are you really so stupid that you can tear apart a public figure you don’t like, using language like this?

            Well, I do hope that in actual political discourse, people will be able to assassinate Clinton’s characters more effectively than through crude insults; she certainly deserves to be universally reviled for her views and her conduct.

  16. they don’t see Hillary the human being but merely her vagina.

    OW!

    My EYE!

    1. If a vagina is president should we call her residence the Pink House?

    2. The ‘whispering eye’.

  17. my classmate’s half-sister makes $61 /hour on the laptop . She has been without work for five months but last month her check was $14883 just working on the laptop for a few hours. go right here….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  18. my neighbor’s step-sister makes $73 /hr on the laptop . She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her payment was $12778 just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit their website….

    ???????? http://www.jobsaa.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.