Election 2016

Why We Need a New Declaration of War Regarding ISIS

Enough already with fighting the "long war" against terrorism in the "passive voice."


Over at Bloomberg View, Eli Lake has an excellent and important piece sussing out calls for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) regarding the war we've been fighting against the Islamic State since August 2014.

As it stands, Barack Obama is claiming that the AUMF passed days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 gives him whatever authority he needs to do whatever he wants. The original declaration authorizes the president 

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, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

In the fight against ISIS, this is clearly a ridiculous presumption. ISIS as we know it didn't even exist in 2001 and its precursor group only pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2004, a decade before the terrorist group declared a caliphate covering parts of Syria and Iraq.

Lake writes that both pro-war and anti-war Americans should support a new AUMF:

For the hawks, a new war resolution could get colleagues who were not legislators in 2001 on record to support "the long war." This war is fought in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of it is also fought in the shadows, using special operations forces, drone strikes and other kinds of intelligence actions. An open debate on all the actions the long war would entail—from drone strikes to electronic eavesdropping—would clarify the extraordinary powers Congress expects the president to use in order to keep the country safe. To hold the vote while the horror of Paris is still fresh in the minds of Congress is an opportunity to give this long war a political legitimacy it now lacks.

For doves, a new AUMF offers a chance for Congress to reassert its role in the war-making process. Obama has largely ignored Congress when it comes to war and peace. Obama went to war in Libya in 2011. After the fact, the House voted down a resolution to authorize that war. Even though his agreement with Iran is one of the most important diplomatic agreements of the 21st century, he opted not to submit it to the Senate as a treaty. Obama's decision to rely on the 2001 AUMF for the current war in Syria and Iraq opens the door for future presidents to stretch its meaning even further.

Indeed, among the strongest continuities between the Bush and Obama regimes is a move to arrogate more and more power to the executive branch. Lake clinches his argument thus:

A new AUMF, particularly if it includes a sunset clause, would force Congress to debate the war against jihadis every few years, ensuring the long war does not become a permanent war.

Ted Cruz, in a classic too-smart-by-half move that helps explain why Americans distrust the government in record numbers, tells Lake that we do indeed need a new, "robust AUMF," but that it's really up to the president to make Congress actually, you know, peform its function and declare war:

"The burden should be on the commander in chief to convince the American people through their representatives in Congress that he has developed an anti-ISIS strategy that is sound and worthy of their support."

Does anyone wonder how and why we get into foreign policy snafus? No one is willing to step up and insist on process or procedure. In some way, perhaps that is on us citizens. Politicians are probably right to intuit that the most important thing when it comes to waging war is being perceived as successful, not whether you've brought your case to Congress (if the president) or actually hemmed in the president's ambition via war powers or purse strings (if Congress).

Read the full article.

And read Lake's 2010 Reason story, "The 9/14 Presidency," which details the slipperiness with which Obama has long exploited that original AUMF.

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  1. How about no more war and we GTFO of the Middle East for awhile? No AUMPDQXYZ, no War Powers Act, no Declaration of War. Just. STOP.

    Just a thought.

    1. It would be very nice to bring peace, democracy, pornography and unicorns to the entire Middle East, but everything outsiders have done to date has only made the clusterfuck more clusterfucky.

      1. They already have one of the four – guess which one?

        1. Our fearless leaders tell us it’s unicorns.

          1. Torture porn is still porn.

      2. “everything outsiders have done to date has only made the clusterfuck more clusterfucky.”

        Bzzt. America and Kenya drove Al-Shabbab out of power in Somalia. France liberated most of Mali from AQIM.

        1. Relax. He wasn’t trying to kill your warection.

          1. But microaggression!

    2. How about unicorns?

    3. Only if it comes with travel bans from there. Failing to do that just lets the front be expanded at the enemy’s discretion.

  2. Fuck these “AUMF”s. I used to think they were pretty much the same as a declaration of war, but no more. There is no Constitutional authorization for an “AUMF”. If our military is going to fight, the Constitution allows it do so only under a declaration of war. Anything else is unconstitutional and illegal.

    Either declare war against ISIS as an hostile state, fight it to unconditional surrender wherever it goes, or GTFO.

    1. “Officer, place Congress under arrest!”

      1. “Your winnings, sir.”

        /crossing the streams

    2. Not that I am an expert on this, but wouldn’t that imply that ISIS would indeed need to BE an internationally recognized State (i.e Country)?

      If we cannot declare a war against a country because it has no boundaries, can we actually declare war against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh (and whatever other names are used for them)?

      I totally agree on Congress approval for a declaration of war. Just seems like there is a technicality there that may need to be addressed in order to fight them.

      1. Easily resolved. Just recognize them as the legitimate government of Syria (or Iraq, or Libya, ?.).

        1. So are you saying we declare war against any country that they have managed to take large scale (or complete) control over?

          The problem is that they have no sovereign assets and boundaries from which to take war reparations. And there are innocent people in those territories. Its not like we should be eager to indiscriminately kill all occupants of those areas. We cant just bomb the shit out of people the way we did in WWII. The same boundaries don’t apply.

          And with Daesh spread all over the place and potentially no real country with assets to declare victory against, how do we keep this from turning into a never ending “war”?

          1. We simply say “fine, assholes. We recognize the Islamic State In The Levant and the borders you have claimed as your own. Now, we declare war on that state and will wage that war until you are completely annihilated.”

          2. What I am really looking for is a milestone for the declaration of success against Daesh. We could say that Daesh is defeated when the Iraqi, Syrian, and other territories are back under the control of their recognized governments.

            This comes with some issues as the U.S. is at odds with Syria and Russia is backing Assad.

            But what about the fact that Deash has no truly recognized territories and assets at this time? They are all over the place. Do we have the nerve to actually end the war at the point of territories being back under recognized governments or do we allow politicians to declare an endless state of war because Deash operatives are all over the place? We need a mechanism to be able to stop the state of war for the U.S. What would that mechanism (or series of) look like?

            1. We can declare success when the last one of the barbarians signs an unconditional surrender and submits to any penalty we see fit. Then we declare the lands back under the control of the states ISIS stole them from and we GTFO back home in time for the Super Bowl.

              1. You’re forgetting our obligations to fight for the Sunnis in there civil war with the Shiites. ISIS is just a sideshow.

                1. I don’t know about,any of,that shit. I just know that we should wipe these savages off the face of the earth in the name of all that is righteous and enlightened.


              2. You wont get them all to sign. Many will die fighting. But yeah, I am all for the GTFO.

                1. They fight until they unconditionally surrender. And the remaining ones accept whatever penalty we choose to impose on them for their crimes against humanity.

                  There will be a few that want a Nuremburg-style trial so they can get a platform to spread their diseased mindset. Fine, give it to them and then take them out back and put a bullet in their head once they are convicted.

                  1. So in that case, what we really need is to hand control of territories back to their recognized governments. Then we imprison and convict any of the fighters and hierarchy we can find followed by bullets in their heads. Simultaneously, we turn the CIA loose all over the world to take out the rest of them the old school way (bullet in the head with no trial).

                    Brilliant! I like it.

                    Now get a U.S. President and a lot of congressional reps to actively support that…. There is the problem.

                    1. Never ending war is too profitable. I have suspicion that a declaration of victory will never be seen.

                    2. For some, yes. On both sides. But that sounds more and more like lazy thinking to me; you’re mixing up the causes with the effects. The truth is just a little bit grayer than that.

                    3. When did I claim we let the CIA do shit? Way to put words in my mouth.

                      And why would we not hand control back over to the governments of the nations they are currently occupying? Did we not do that with all of the nations we liberated in WW2? Even the ones we didn’t have a wonderful relationship with pre-Pearl Harbor?

                    4. Oh no. CIA was my addition. Sorry for the confusion.

                    5. Actually, we redrew a lot of boundaries after WW2. We could do the same in the Middle East to try to make the place a little more representative and stable, but folks like the Turks would not take kindly to an independent Kurdistan, especially one that includes current Turkish territory. On the other hand, we could award them some of the Turkish speaking areas of Syria, such as where they shot down the Russian jet fighter today.

                    6. “Way to put words in my mouth.”

                      Ha ha welcome to my world.

                  2. America does NOT have to give that territory back to the governments that helped create this in the first place. If non-ISIS/Nusra rebels take their place-especially Kurdish ones-that’s fine.

                  3. Can we assume by your use of the word “we” that you will be signing up to throw your life away fighting an entrenched insurgency embroiled in a millennium-long religious and cultural conflict for a patch of desert on the other side of the planet?

                    1. I tried. I was rejected from service for asthma complications.

                      I don’t find it prudent to fight for the desert patch you describe. However, it is a breeding ground of barbarism and it needs to be put down like the rabid dog that it is. I don’t think the U.S. should do it alone or foot the majority of the bill. But at some point, you have to recognize a problem and either solve it or bury your head in the sand until it shows up on your door step. Either way, it will have to be confronted sooner or later.

                      This isn’t a simple difference of ideology. It is all out war against those of us who value freedom of religion, speech, association, property rights, sexual orientation and many other aspects that come with western life.

                      I would also add that we need to cut ties with the Saudis and Turkey. And it’s time to let Israel stand for itself.

                    2. I would if I could, Hugh. This is a righteous war they have declared against liberty and enlightenment principles of individual rights, equality for all and a million other principles of decent,human beings all over the world.

                      They want it. They should get it. We should destroy them to keep them from imprisoning women wholesale for sexual slavery. We should destroy them for imprisoning and conscripting children as soldiers. We should destroy them for cutting the fucking heads off of people that refuse to convert. We should destroy them for murdering gays for simply being gay.

                      I know you’re a pacifist. But at some point you have to recognize that it is morally wrong to stand by and watch innocent people get slaughtered.

                    3. And by “throw your life away”, do you mean fight for people to live free from murder if they refuse to submit to a certain belief system? Or do you mean fight so women can be free from sex slavery and children can live without fear of being considered nscripted as child soldiers? Or do you mean so gays can freely associate free from a death sentence?

                      I’d gladly “throw my life away” to help those people experience a taste of what we have in an enlightened society. Hell, I’d feel like I was throwing my life away if I didn’t do something and I was physically capable and of military service-age.

                    4. Unfortunately, you won’t be throwing your life away for those things, you’ll be throwing your life away for an agenda decided by Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama.

      2. wouldn’t that imply that ISIS would indeed need to BE an internationally recognized State

        They just have to be regarded by us as a state/government. They claim they are, they act more or less like one. Their borders are not set and recognized yet by their neighbors, but that’s not uncommon when there is a war being fought, and in any event is not our problem.

        1. Exactly. When we declared war against the Japs and Krauts in 1941, we did not merely attack them on soil recognized,as,theirs by any international body. We attacked them in lands they had claimed as theirs but were also claimed (legitimately) by other states. Those attacks were as legitimate as any attacks would be on ISIS in lands they claim to have within their borders.

          And we should do so with much haste and to the fullest of our abilities. I can’t think of a better Christmas present to give the people held hostage/enslaved by them or to the survivors of their reign of terror. And the families of those slain for merely not converting or for freely associating with someone of the same sex.

          1. So say we all!

      3. There’s no reason for them not to be. They control territory, enforce law, collect taxes, there’s no real reason not to call them a state except for states not liking the implications. I saw an article recently suggesting that one of their criminal sources of income was collecting a portion of the incomes of the businesses in their territory in exchange for avoiding harassment. Yeah… if people actually thought about it too long, they might start to ask uncomfortable questions.

    3. This is the reason Ron Paul proposed a Declaration of War for both Afghanistan and Iraq. He opposed, at least, the latter but realized that is the proper way to do it.

      Hastert called a DoW an anacronism.

      1. Hastert called a DoW an anacronism.

        Similar to good the old days when society swept your diddling under the rug because you were in power.

        1. Hastert should know an anachronism when he sees one.

      2. I think one major problem is that a “formal declaration” of war means a make-or-break conflict that continues to the bitter end (decades and decades or a draft, massive bombing, and WWII-scale deaths and casualties) or until a bitter peace followed by another war …or until our own bitter end. Declared wars make retreat that much harder.

    4. RC Dean – I agree –

    5. [The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
      “Letters of Marque and Reprisal” is the Constitutional authorization for AUMFs.

      1. A letter of marque and reprisal is to allow quasi war on the sea…privateering against ISIS, really?

        1. Swissy, I just read a Wikipedia article that notes, FWIW, that a letter of marque and reprisla allows crossing an international border as reprisal for attack.

          Maybe this is something Blackwater could get behind? Think of the opportunities for loot!

        2. From Wikipedia:
          According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of “letters of marque and reprisal” was in an English statute in 1354 during the reign of Edward III. The phrase referred to “a licen[c]e granted by a sovereign to a subject, authorizing him to make reprisals on the subjects of a hostile state for injuries alleged to have been done to him by the enemy’s army.”[3]

          1. And
            The issue of marque and reprisal was raised before Congress after the September 11 attacks[34] and again on July 21, 2007, by Congressman Ron Paul. The attacks were defined as acts of “air piracy” and the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 was introduced, which would have granted the president the authority to use letters of marque and reprisal against the specific terrorists, instead of warring against a foreign state. The terrorists were compared to pirates in that they are difficult to fight by traditional military means.[35] Paul on April 15, 2009, also advocated the use of letters of marque to address the issue of Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden. However, the bills Paul introduced were not enacted into law.

            1. Letters of marquee were used to authorize privateers, but that was not their origin. A letter of marquee authorizes it’s carrier to cross borders and take punitive action against a foe. They can be issued to military commanders just as much as to privateers.

              1. I think issuing Letters of Marquee to specifically allow some IT companies to recruit and train hackers to identify and raid bank accounts belonging to ISIS would be a great idea.

  3. “As it stands, Barack Obama is claiming that the AUMF passed days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 gives him whatever authority he needs to do whatever he wants”

    AND he gets to blame BOOOOOOOOOSH!

    1. …and I thought the whole AUMF was illegal, and that Bush and Cheney were war criminals, so what does that make OBama for empliying the same illegal AUMF ?

  4. As it stands, Barack Obama is claiming that the AUMF passed days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 gives him whatever authority he needs to do whatever he wants. The original declaration authorizes the president

    No, not this president. Surely you have him confused with someone else.

    1. “Present”

      1. Racist.

  5. Eli Lake:

    It’s understandable the president would defend his policy and lose patience with those who think it’s failing. But Obama’s version of recent history is misleading. He should be thanking many of his critics. In the last few weeks, he has begun to escalate the war against the Islamic State by finally doing many of the things his opponents have been recommending for months.

    Last month, he deployed more special operations forces to Syria. He appears to have relaxed the restrictive rules for airstrikes. The U.S. confirmed Monday that it had hit a fleet of trucks the Islamic State used for smuggling oil inside Syria. And Obama has reached out more directly to Syrian Kurdish fighters and some of their Arab allies.

    So this Syrian situation is becoming interesting to me. The cheap shot I took a while back was to compare this to VietNam, with Obama sending advisors into a war-torn country which might escalate into a proxy war with the Soviet Union. But it seems simpler than that.

    It seems that we’ve essentially allied ourselves with Assad and Russia in a fight against the Arab Spring movement that is attempting to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria.

    1. Even leaving aside the fact that there’s never been a legitimate government, calling Assad’s regime ‘legitimate’ is kind of a stretch.

      1. I’m using the word “legitimate” in a kind of hyperbolic way.

        1. Now I read this comment.

      1. Why isn’t Sean Penn over there reporting that those trucks were carrying milk to an orphanage?

        1. Actually, I would be very happy to send Sean Penn to visit ISIS.

          Just give him a heads up.

      2. And even then, they ran out of fucking ammo before they got anywhere close to being done.

        Embarrassing. A shameful embarrassment.

        1. This. We now know why the anti-ISIS strategy has been failing: because it’s phony war.

          1. And we know why the intel was phony – to make sure no one would ask about results.

            And we also see why suddenly Obama has discovered the bad intel and plans to get to the bottom of it: perfect excuse for his weakness “I just read about it in the papers like everyone else!”

    2. “the legitimate government of Syria.”

      Legitimate? Seriously?

    3. It seems that we’ve essentially allied ourselves with Assad and Russia in a fight against the Arab Spring movement that is attempting to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria.

      No, not really. To me, that’s the root of the problem. We wanted to pretend that there was some option on the table in Syria other than Assad and ISIS. And we’re still trying to pretend that that was anything other than delusional. So, in practice, we’ve been effectively supporting ISIS while simultaneously fighting them.

      It’s a clusterfuck.

      1. Turkey just forced us to make a decision, too.

      2. ^^^ this. that is the reason it is such a cluster fuck. we are aiding both sides of the conflict. we cling to this “moderate alternative” so hard, that we are committing ourselves to a stalemate.

    4. I think step 1 at this point is to stop the slaughter of innocents (form all sides) and wipe out ISIS/L wherever they might be found. Once things have stabilized they can move on to deciding who has sovereignty over what ground.

  6. “…ensuring the long war does not become a permanent war.”

    Too late!

    1. It’s a Jihad, really… which just means “struggle”.

      1. I find myself longing for the quaint ‘police action’ days.

        1. Only old people call it a “police action”.

    2. Meh. It’s like the Cold War just hotter. We fought proxy wars all over the place against the Russians but never directly confronted them or openly declared, well, anything. Proxy wars are our permanent war. We’ll throw in a few “limited special forces” or “special operators” occasionally, but Yugggge movements of troops isn’t going to happen.

  7. Ted Cruz, in a classic too-smart-by-half move

    I dunno. Doesn’t seem like the Prez should be a bystander in a declaration of AUMF (or whatever). Why let him off the hook? Why set this up forevermore as a purely Republican war?

    Mind you, I say this because I don’t think attacking ISIS is something our military should be involved in. Whatever opportunities or mistakes we made in the past, in the current situation, I see no good use of our military in this fight. This half in, half out bullshit is the worst possible thing to do. Nancying around not attacking ISIS lifeline (their oil tankers) for over a year, and then when you finally give the green light, you run out of fucking ammo before you are 1/3 of the way done is just beyond epically bad in every dimension.

    Either go in and fight a war like you mean it, or stay home. Period. And, yeah, I’d be willing to abandon the Afghans, the Iraqis, everybody in MENA. The only group I have any hesitation about leaving swinging in the breeze is the Kurds.

    1. Duh! It’s all Ted Cruz’s fault!

      The United States has formally declared war against foreign nations five separate times, each upon prior request by the President of the United States.

    2. I should have read this comment before I posted my link above. I agree with everything you wrote. Either go all in, with an actual plan, or bring everyone home. It is absurd that the current, half-assed strategy is acceptable.

      1. Which would you rather risk, half your ass or all of it?

        1. I would prefer risking none of it.

          Obama’s Iraq and Afghanistan policies were half-assed, too.

    3. Either go in and fight a war like you mean it, or stay home. Period.

      + 1000

    4. Agree, I believe Cruz’s point is, “Why should Congress declare a war without some assurance that the commander in chief has some fucking clue about how to conduct it?”

  8. Man, the more I read and think about this, the more 1950s Utopian top-men this whole thing seems to be.

    Obama’s straddling an impossible line here. He claims to want to help the “legitimate” rebellion (presumably secular Arabs who joined the fight against Assad) while stifling the “illegitimate” rebellion (ISIS), while not directly aligning ourselves with Russia’s interests– which are purely to defend Assad.

    Anyone who thinks they could successfully manage this conflict on these terms has got an ego the size of a sperm whale.

    1. Blame our Saudi bosses.

      1. You mean, our ‘friends’ the Saudis who have been spewing Wahabbi extremism for 80 years?

        1. “Our closest ally in the region”

          1. Oh, you mean Israel.

            1. That one is actually an ally. Then there are America’s other “allies”.

            2. Saudi Arabia is “our closest ally in the region”. Israel’s just more popular with voters.

              1. SA is not an ally in any meaningful way. They are leading state sponsor of terror. Probably worse than Iran. Israel is a true friend.

        2. The Wahhabi/Salafi movement and its association with the House of Saud is a lot more than 80 years old. They’ve been around for over 200 years.

          1. But SA’s been pumping money into and disseminating it all over the place.

    2. You forgot that at the same time, we can’t really help the Kurds because it would anger the Turks, who seem to be sorta pro-ISIS at times.

      1. Our NATO partner Turkey.

  9. Meanwhile, over in Turkey, things are going swimmingly:

    MOSCOW (AP) ? Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday that it said ignored repeated warnings and crossed into its airspace from Syria, killing at least one of the two pilots in a long-feared escalation in tensions between Russia and NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced what he called a “stab in the back” and warned of “significant consequences.”


    1. *does giant spittake on monitor*

      The shoot down ? the first time in half a century that a NATO member has downed a Russian plane ? prompted an emergency meeting of the alliance. The incident highlighted the chaotic complexity of Syria’s civil war, where multiple groups with clashing alliances are fighting on the ground and the sky is crowded with aircraft bombing various targets.

      Ya… ya think?

      1. I don’t know what Putin’s end game is (I liked the theory that he was using the war as a way to advertise the military equipment they were trying to sell), but further US involvement, combined with his unpredictability, is a disaster waiting to happen.

        1. I admit I may take the simplistic view, but it seems to me that Putin’s aim is straightforward: You stand by your allies– you don’t let them twist in the wind. Assad is an ally. Therefore…

          1. I don’t think Putin would have gotten involved in Syria if the guy in the White House had any stones.

          2. If Putin or anyone in charge of Russia were smart they would have told Putin to step down at the onset of the rebellion in favor of an agreeable replacement.

            1. I think you mean “would have told Assad to step down”.

              But I don’t think the Russians would draw that kind of lesson. From everything I have read, the Putin revisionists see the fall of the Soviet Empire as being in part due to the failure of the Soviet Government to stand firm in support of its allies like Honecker.

              1. There was a story floating around that the Russians offered to broker a deal where Assad would step down, but Obama rejected it because he thought Assad would fall even without intervention and there was no need to make concessions.

              2. Oops. Yeah that’s what I meant.

      2. Jesus, this reads like the Spanish Civil War. Where’s Hemingway?

    2. Is the Archduke in the motorcade or not?

    3. I can’t think of a pair more poetically suited to destroy each other than Erdogan and Putin. They are so similar. Love it. Or I would if not for NATO.

      1. A turkey is an aggressive, nasty bird that deserves to be eaten.

        A bear would enjoy having one for lunch.

  10. Stoltenberg urged “calm and de-escalation” and renewed contacts between Moscow and Ankara. Russia has long been at odds with NATO, which it accuses of encroaching on Russia’s borders, as well as with Turkey’s determination to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime Moscow ally.

    In Washington, President Barack Obama said Turkey “has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.”

    So where on the Irony-o-meter will the needle peg if we do bumble into a regional conflict with Russia while Obama’s commander in chief?

    1. The needle will remain at zero, as it always has.

      Any apparent missteps by the Lightworker are really just propaganda by the rat-fucking racist teabaggers.

      Oh, and the Kochs.

    2. Obama said Turkey, like all nations, has the right to defend its borders and its airspace – nobody asked him if that right extends to objecting to Obama launching drones against anybody he feels like wherever and whenever he feels like it. When you’ve got the DoJ insisting it has worldwide jurisdiction over anybody breaking American laws regardless of whether or not they’re in America or even American citizens it’s hard to see how you could give any less of a shit about the sovereignty of other nations.

      1. Hell, I remember thinking something along those lines when the US went after Noriega. We invaded Panama and arrested it’s head of state for breaking US drug laws, and then put him in prison. I mean, WTF?

  11. I wonder if Putin is scared that Obama would honor the NATO agreement if he strikes back at Turkey for downing a Russian fighter jet.

    Haaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha! I’ll be here all week.

  12. Should Team Red gain the White House, how long do you think it will be before there are new anti-war protests? A day? A week? A month? Certainly not an entire year.

    1. They’ll protest on “humanitarian grounds” if Team Red stays out of the war. That’s essentially how we ended up in Somalia.

    2. I give it about 2 weeks.

    3. 37 minutes after the swearing in ceremony. Code Pink will be out in force to blame President Paul (a guy can hope can’t he) for the Afghan Surge, bombing of Libya, increase in drone strikes, attacks on Syria/Iraq and global warming.

    4. Ha ha ha. You dumb bastard. They won’t even have been inaugurated and the anti-war protesters will be back out in force. Shit, you’ll see them at the parade before the inaugural speech.

      And the media will dutifully note that we are in a divisive time.

      1. “The American people are polarized as never before”

    5. Should Team Red gain the White House, how long do you think it will be before there are new anti-war protests? A day? A week? A month? Certainly not an entire year.

      I’ll be the first to post when they show back up in my neck of the woods, because they sure dried up after late 2007.

  13. Absolutely correct. It would be better to do nothing than ‘waffle’ into Syria. Terror is a tactic; you can’t wage war on a tactic.

    “The burden should be on the commander in chief to convince the American people through their representatives in Congress that he has developed an anti-ISIS strategy that is sound and worthy of their support.”

    What exactly is wrong with this? How is Cruz suggesting that Congress shouldn’t do its job unless the president moves it to? Nick sure can be mendacious.

    1. Absolutely correct. I will not go to Syria under any circumstances.

      1. Me neither.

  14. Is it bad I secretly wish the U.S. gives all territories held by ISIS 72 hours to evacuate or face incineration…and I want to watch it live on TV?

    1. Not. At. All.

      Shit, it might act as a stimulus. People would be rushing to buy new 60″ and bigger HDTVs or UHDTVs just to watch it.

    2. They already had years and years of warnings.

      72 hours just lets the rats flee into Turkey.

  15. Oh give me a break Nick with this BS.

    Obama asked for a new AUMF. He proposed his own, that had new limitations, but asked Congress specifically to create one, whether his or their own. His words:

    “Although my proposed AUMF does not address the 2001 AUMF, I remain committed to working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF. Enacting an AUMF that is specific to the threat posed by ISIL could serve as a model for how we can work together to tailor the authorities granted by the 2001 AUMF.”

    Yeah that’s right, repeal the old one. But of course, leave it to you to create a different story, and use your pal Eli Lake to create it. Eli Lake, one of the original neocons who sold us the disaster in Iraq.

    What a farce.

    1. If he didn’t get a new AUMF, then he’s using the old bullshit one. Which changes nothing.

      1. Stop whining. You sound like Nick. He asked Congress to repeal it, which would give him no authorization.

        1. So what? He asked and then didn’t get it. Changes nothing.

          1. That’s right, and he believes the old one gives him authorization to do something, and he believes we should do something.

            You don’t? Then your problem is with Congress who has abdicated their responsibility. They could end whatever it is he is doing.

            1. “I can do anything I want with this old authorization! Er….I want a new one to let me do whatever I want!”

            2. That’s right, and he believes the old one gives him authorization to do something, and he believes we should do something.

              I have to admit, our local Obamabots are becoming more and more unwittingly honest.

              1. Honesty is all I offer.

                1. But not wit, discernment, intelligence, wisdom or truth.

                2. But you offer it unintentionally.

                3. Jackand Ace|11.24.15 @ 7:02PM|#
                  “Honesty is all I offer.”

                  No, you justify government thuggery.
                  Your occasional ‘honesty’ is an accidental result of your support of a murderous government; you’d lie, and often do, if it accomplished the same end.

    2. Jackand Ace|11.24.15 @ 6:15PM|#
      “Obama asked for a new AUMF. He proposed his own, that had new limitations, but asked Congress specifically to create one, whether his or their own. His words:”

      And our lefty ignoramus seems to think this makes a difference, right ignoramus?

    3. so Iraq was illegal because Saddam didn’t have anything to do with 9/11 and this is legal because Obama aked for Congressional approval but didn’t get it?

    4. I guess I don’t get your gripe. He asked the representatives of the people to give him a new one, they didn’t, so he’s just declaring that the old one gives him unilateral powers to act in any theater on the globe?

      1. “Although existing statutes provide me with the authority I need to take these actions, I have repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. ”

        That’s right, that’s what he believes. There was no time limit on it, and it’s terrorism.

        You don’t believe that? He does. And if there is a problem, then Congress can rectify it. They, led by a GOP majority, chose not to.

        By the way , I’m not griping, just pointing out facts. The griping…no, whining… Is all Nicks.

        1. “By the way , I’m not griping, just pointing out facts”

          “Oh give me a break Nick with this BS.”
          Not a whine. Nope. Not a whine at all, just a whine and it’s different if ignoramus or Obo does it!

          1. There’s so much whine that I ordered Jackhole a block of cheese.

            1. He should have (trigger warning) crackers to go with that.

        2. “That’s right, that’s what he believes.”

          And what he believes is fucking wrong.

  16. My wife and I were talking. What would happen if ISIS hit the Vatican? Would that be the single trigger that brings war?

    1. What if ISIS stampeded cattle through the Vatican?

      1. ISIS should throw fish at the Pope, call him a mackerel snapper.

    2. Charlie Hebdo would have fun with that.

    3. Send forth the Swiss Guard!

    4. My wife and I were talking.

      I’m sorry.

      What would happen if ISIS hit the Vatican?

      They’d turn the other cheek?

      1. /throws arms in the air.

        I try to foster a serious image for this place and….bah.

        /bites into DQ ice-cream sandwich.

        1. We have Hugh to keep things serious.

      2. They’d turn the other cheek?

        “If you insult my mother I’m going to punch you in the mouth.”

        –Pope Francis, guy who is supposed to be infallible on the Holy Scripture.

        1. Well, the other infallible guys on holy scripture say if you insult stuff they’re going to kill everyone.

    5. Just for the Catholics.

      1. You worship cows.

  17. Gillespie is so completely full of crap it’s laughable. His buddy Obama already has the authority he needs to take on ISIS. Shithead wants to overthrow Assad instead.

    1. He’s egging Russia on to do more to fight ISIS.

      1. Hasn’t Putin thrown in to oppose all enemies of the Assad Regime?

        1. That’s how I read/understand it.

      2. No he isn’t. He hates what Putin and France are doing.

        1. Maybe but publicly he’s calling for more Russian involvement.

          1. Well sure; of course he has to lie and try and make some effort to appear as if he really wants to fight ISIS, because he knows that’s what 80% of America wants. He’s malevolent, not an idiot.

          2. Mike M has even greater intuition than John. He knows what Obama really wants (destroy the West), and what Nick and Matt and every Reason writer really thinks about Obama (they love him).

    2. Sure would be nice if we could get rid of Assad, since he’s just another bloodthirsty tyrant. But I suppose Syria is a lot like Iraq when we deposed Saddam. The dictator was bad, but the situation post-dictator is a multi-ethnic failed state. But Obama’s approach has been to get us in just enough to involve us but not enough to stop things from spiraling out of control much less improve matters.

  18. “[America] has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…. ”

    John Quincy Adams 1821

    1. But that’s just, like, his opinion, man.

      1. More like prophecy.

    2. Plus, he pretty much had an ocean between him and the rest of the world. Pretty easy to say that when nobody has the ability to lob a cannonball across town, let alone a missile across the globe.

      1. ISIS has intercontinental ballistic missiles? We have 5,000 nuclear bombs. He didn’t say we wouldn’t defend ourselves if attacked.

        1. We haven’t been attacked by fundamentalist Islamists?

          1. 19 guys with pocket knives.

          2. And we are still counter attacking them.

    3. I wonder if Johnny Q would have declared war on the Germans in 1941. According to his statement, he would not have.

      1. Learn history. Japan attacked us. We declared war on them. Germany declared war on us. So the point is moot.

        1. Um no it’s not. ISIS has declared its hostility to America and others and acted out on it in France. Quincy’s world is gone and will remain so. Noninterventionism was probably always wrong and is definitely obsolete.

          1. Learn history. Intervention is what created ISIS!

            1. Pretty sure the Koran created ISIS.

              1. No, it was us getting rid of Hussein and Qaddaffi.

  19. Marco Rubio’s Solution for Russia

    Earlier in the day, Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border for allegedly violating Turkish airspace and ignoring repeated warnings.

    Putin responded by saying his country’s plane was actually in Syrian airspace, where Russia is supposedly conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group. Putin warned of “serious consequences” for Turkey.

    But Rubio argued that the US should make clear that it would go to war to defend Turkey, which is a member of the NATO alliance. If the US did that, Rubio said he would “hope” and expect that Russia would not confront NATO.

    “He’ll have to do something to save face, but ultimately he is not going to test the alliance if he believes the alliance is going to stand up to him. Because he’ll lose in that confrontation,” Rubio said.

    Emphasis mine. So the Great Republican Hope’s strategy is to play Quien es mas macho? with Putin and “hope” it doesn’t escalate to an actual military conflict with a nuclear power?

    Where do these ignorant jackasses come from? Not to mention that it defeats the purpose of playing loose cannon if you make it clear that you don’t actually want to start a war. The Soviets really thought Reagan was insane, but we really don’t live in that kind of world anymore given how much more analyzed every move is.

    1. Why are we spending so much on new planes when even Turks in F-16’s can take down the Russkis?

      1. The Russian plane was from the 70s. It’s not like it was the best they have to offer.

        1. Surely they have upgraded engines and electronics. The B-52 was built in the 50’s.

          1. And it’s essentially worthless.

            1. Huh? Loitering for long periods over the battlefield dropping GPS guided 2,000 pound bombs is worthless?

              1. It can only do that in the most permissive environments. Any air defenses at all and it’s pretty much out of the fight. The B-1 is significantly more capable than the B-52, and it can fly in somewhat more hostile airspace, but it too is unable to survive the more advanced threats.

                The only reason the B-52 is still around is the politicians won’t let the Air Force kill it.

                1. If their are active air defenses it can stand off and lob cruise missiles. It’s a truck. You always need trucks.

                  1. So can the B-1. It costs a shit-ton of money to support an entire weapon system. Supporting a one trick pony makes little sense.

                    1. One trick? Drops dumb bombs. Drops guided bombs. Drops cruise missiles. Nuclear capable. That’s four off the top of my head.

                    2. Drops dumb bombs. Drops guided bombs.

                      Nuclear capable.

                      Means nothing if there is any threat.

                      Drops cruise missiles.

                      So do the other two bombers. All the B-52 gives you is more. B-1 carries 24 JASSM. B-52 12. B-2 16.

                      It uses antiquated technology, which means it’s costly to support. It is unstealthy. It is ungodly slow. It has no low-level capability anymore. It has no defensive capability.

                      Its time has past. Time to phase it out. I understand the romantic notions revolving around systems like the Buff and the Hog, but their past strengths have been overcome by technology and given the astronomical costs of keeping an entire weapon system flying in a fiscally constrained environment, it makes sense to shed the least capable systems.

      2. HAHAHAHA!

        The Su-24 was built in the late 60s. An F-16 better be able to kill it.

        This is why.

        1. The F-16 is from the 70’s.

          1. The Fencer is a third generation fighter bomber designed for ground attack. The F-16 is a 4th generation dual role fighter. Not a contest.

            1. So it’s nothing to do with age.

              1. Sure it does. Newer jets are more capable, in general. But to your point, two completely different designs for two completely different missions and the F-16 incorporates a whole new generation of technology/performance than the Fencer. The Fencer is two generations behind Russia’s cutting edge stuff.

                So your point that we don’t need to purchase Gen 5 jets because a Turkish Gen 4 jet can shoot down a Russian Gen 3 jet isn’t valid.

                1. “two completely different designs for two completely different missions”

                  That’s what I said.

                  1. No, I believe what you said was this:

                    Why are we spending so much on new planes when even Turks in F-16’s can take down the Russkis?

                    1. I believe what you said was “The Fencer is a third generation fighter bomber designed for ground attack. The F-16 is a 4th generation dual role fighter.” and then I said “So it’s nothing to do with age.”. You don’t support your own words?

                    2. Gen 4 is newer than Gen 3. It has better weapons, better performance, better avionics. So despite the fact that it’s a fighter vs a bomber, an F-16 (Gen 4) will devastate a full up third generation air-to-air fighter like a Mig-23 or 25.

                    3. You do understand they upgrade the avionics and such right?

                    4. Yes. On this FdA is right. One thing you must not forget is Russia is also about 1 generation further behind the US on avionics (and engine technology). A Russian Gen 3 fighter/bomber would have US equivalent Gen 2 avionics. So even upgraded, the Mig-24 is probably early Gen 4 avionics at best.

                    5. Cost per hour for USAF aircraft, circa 2013, per Time magazine.

                      Relevant a/c in USD/hr: B-52H, 69,708; B-1B, 57,807; B-2A, 169,313; A-10, 17,716; F-16C, 22,514; MQ-9A Reaper drone, 4,762.

                      Really counterintuitive figures for me…I thought the B-52’d be much cheaper than the B-1, turns out it’s not, as FdA originally wrote. Guess I see too why drones are so popular.

                    6. Cost per hour for USAF aircraft, circa 2013, per Time magazine.

                      Additionally, cost per flying hour isn’t necessarily the best measure of value. A Cessna 172 costs next to nothing to operate, but wouldn’t bring much to the fight. It’s about how effectively the system can achieve the commander’s desired results. So, survivability, weapon capabilities/capacities, speed, endurance, reliability, range… all figure into the equation when determining value.

                      Sure, in an unconstrained fiscal environment, you’d keep all your old shit, as more is better. But we don’t live in an unconstrained fiscal environment, so it makes sense to redirect dollars spent on maintaining antiquated technology towards stuff more able to counter the threat and achieve the commander’s intent more efficiently.

                    7. You do understand they upgrade the avionics and such right?

                      My friend, I did this shit for a living for 20 years.

      3. Fly boys gotta fly !

  20. You can declare war on a foreign country. ISIS isn’t a country, it’s a criminal organization. The appropriate measure in this situation, which is authorized by the constitution, is to issue letters of marque and reprisal against ISIS and its supporters.


    1. But what’s to marque? The oil? Do they have any gold? I don’t think they have any merchant ships.

    2. That same article and section of the Constitution also gives Congress the power to “To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;”. ISIS is nothing more than the latest incarnation of the Barbary States. Indeed, the jihadist group that staged the Mali hotel attack named themselves after the Almoravids (Al-Murabitun).

      1. Excellent post!

      2. Yes, but when they sell the oil which they have been doing in huge quantities the proceeds go to a bank account. We should give some IT companies license to identify and raid those accounts.

    3. ISIS operates out of Islamic State. Do only countries that are officially recognized by the UN count?

    4. That’s what I said up-thread, and they laughed at me. But you get applause. It’s not fair man, it’s just not fair.

  21. Google:

    A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far far Away

    Right now. Kinda neat.


  22. AUMF: Congress’s version of the perpetual motion machine.

  23. IMHO, I don’t think ISIS is much different than AQ.

    These jihadis splinter all the time. Remember all the Palestinian groups?

    Do you want a declaration of war against them every other week?

    1. A declaration of war against ISIS is meaningless. ISIS doesn’t fight wars the way that a nation state is supposed to. Libertarians are placing a lot of importance on a social construct that they are highly skeptical about most of the time.

  24. Why would we need a declaration of war against ISIS if we shouldn’t be making war on them in the first place? I read the headlines, wonder if we’re going to end up in a war with Russia, and this is Nick’s analysis of the situation over there?

    The “libertarian moment” has come and gone. And nothing has changed.

  25. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,


  26. “In some way, perhaps that is on us citizens.” LOL what?? You mean citizens have a responsibility to do something? I feel sorry for Nick. I’ve seen him on TV and he usually has a point to make but this article is a whole lotta nothin. Should we attack ISIS or get out? No, let’s check the pulse of the citizens, maybe another poll or something. Oh look everyone is half dead except for the warmonger zombies. And there’s Nick wandering in between.

    OK what’s the solution? You’d have my respect if you argued that France (and Europe) needs to end their war on Free Speech (libel/blasphemy/hate crime). Then the same for the Middle East. If they support democracy and human rights and want our help then fine. Until then, best to stay out of it.

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