Paul Ryan

Speaker Paul Ryan Calls Orlando Shooting 'Another Act of War,' No Word on War Declaration

But no plan for Congress to vote on a declaration or authorization


This morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan called Sunday's shooting in Orlando, where a gunman who reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) killed 49 people, "another act of war against America by radical Islam."

"Members of the LGBT community were the targets, they were simply attacked for who they are," Ryan noted. "This is an ideology that rejects who we are as a country—open, tolerant, free."

Radical Islam, Ryan argued, "preys on the vulnerable and the insecure, seeking to radicalize them into murders."

"This is a threat that knows no border, this is a threat that cannot be contained," the speaker said. "This is a threat that must simply be defeated."

Ryan pointed to House Republicans' "better way" proposals, which included a module on national security, and said the House had "acted on numerous occasions to address this terrorist threat and will continue to do so."

Not on the table is any actual declaration of war despite the use of the terminology by Ryan and in the "better way" national security policy paper, which asserts that after 9/11, the United States "embarked on a broad struggle against Islamist terror."

Yet the authorization for the use of military force that was passed in 2001 was limited to those nations, organizations, and persons determined by the president to have "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."

At the time, the authorization was meant for Al-Qaeda and, specifically, for a military campaign in Afghanistan. Later, despite deploying the argument that Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed a terrorist threat to the United States, the Bush administration sought and received an authorization for the use of military force in Iraq specifically.

Whether it's an organization or a nation, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the war against which the United States is participating in with other countries in the region and beyond, was not around on September 11, and so cannot reasonably be determined to have harbored the 9/11 terrorists. Today, U.S. military assets are engaged in and with conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere.

President Obama has said he wants an authorization of the use of military force specifically for ISIS, but also argues that he doesn't need it because U.S. military actions already have legal justification. The Obama administration dropped the terminology of the "war on terror" in 2009, but kept the so-called broader struggle going. Republicans have made hay over President Obama not using some variation of the term "radical Islam" and Donald Trump took credit for Hillary Clinton saying she would start doing so even though she said the term she used, "radical jihadism," was the same thing.

Clinton was a big advocate for the U.S. intervention in Libya, the failure to plan for the aftermath of which President Obama's called the worst mistake of his presidency. The intervention in Libya, which led to the overthrow and killing of long-time Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Qaddafi, was a signature "achievement" during Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. The Congress never bothered to muster the political will to either authorize or terminate the U.S. intervention in Libya's civil war.

Among the enumerated powers of Congress is the power to make declarations of war. In the legal and bureaucratic overgrowth of Washington, "authorizations for the use of military force" stand in for that power. The arrangement includes the Congress granting the president broad war powers via the War Powers Act, which allows the president, more or less, to deploy U.S. troops for a period of six months before seeking Congressional authorization, and has been twisted so as to provide cover for the deployment of troops anywhere for any time.

Most recently, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he would push for a vote on authorizing the war against ISIS, which would define what has appeared to be an ill-defined military campaign not just as presented to the public but as understood but administration officials themselves. Whether the ideology is "radical Islam" or "violent extremism," a term Obama has used, it's an ideology not an organization. ISIS, whether its defined as a terrorist organization or would-be caliphate proto-state, is an entity that the U.S. can, and does, participate in the fight against. No one authorized the Cold War but there were at least some differing debates over the various conflicts in which the U.S. engaged from Korea to Vietnam and other conflicts from Latin America to Afghanistan.

Congressional Republicans want to talk war but there appears to be little interest in either a declaration of war or doing the work of coming up with an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS that would articulate the dimensions of and commitments to the conflict, even though it's Congress' role.

Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, appear far more interested in using the Orlando shooting to control the arms available to the American people for their own defense rather, even though it's not Congress' role.

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  1. It would have made more sense for Ryan to jump the gun and say that yesterday. Now that it turns out the shooter was probably a self-hating bisexual who couldn’t tell the difference between Sunni and Shia, Ryan just sounds stupid.

    Go GOP Go woohoo….

  2. Meet the new putz, same as the old putz.
    Ryan fails to impress, pretty consistently.

    1. Your first mistake was having expectations.

    2. Shirley you jest.

  3. Let’s be fair, there’s probably way more justification for a War On Florida than the war on drugs.

    1. We have nuclear subs in Jax, so we got that whole MAD thang going on.

      1. Not to mention the weaponized manatees

        1. And giant pythons and mutant alligators. Its like Land of the Lost down there.

          1. Somebody told me there are salt water crocs here now. Great, one more super predator. At this point I just want the movie predator to get here so the set is complete.

            1. I read that as well. That is terrifying.

              1. Anything that hunts bull sharks is not to be fucked with.

                1. +1 Quigg

        2. The deadliest thing in this state is the nonagenarian drives. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a berserker weapon and unpredictable.

          1. +1 Q-tip

      2. Worth it to prevent the coming methademic. It’s like the white walkers, but wearing flip flops and missing more teeth.

        1. Hey, I’m not wearing flip flops right now! I’m wearing crocs!

  4. ISIS is a government that controls a pretty large swath of territory. It may not have UN recognition or send ambassadors but it is a nation by any reasonable definition of the term. ISIS has said it is at war with the US and is telling anyone who wants to join the cause that attacking the US is one way to do it. And twice now someone has taken them up on the offer.

    How is that not an act of war? If Obama were on TV every night telling people in Iran to take up arms and rise up against the government, reason would think that was just fine and Iran unreasonable to consider it to be an act of war? Fat chance.

    So how about reason at least try to apply consistent standards?

    1. So you made it halfway through the headline before commenting?

      1. You sound like you don’t know the meaning of scare quotes. Come on, less engage in two hours of parsing and going through this pile of horse shit of an article. I am sure you can find a pony in there somewhere.

        1. Pretty sure it’s a gay pony, too. NTTAWWT.

        2. Seriously? Scare quotes… also known as quotes or, “quotation marks”

    2. I agree, and maybe people are right about the “self-hating homosexuals” theory, but it doesn’t change the fact that he supported ISIS and they apparently supported him. Maybe some individual Nazis had personal issues too, doesn’t make them lone wolves.

      1. This is what murderous ideologies do, give troubled and violent people a reason to become truly murderous. Most of the top Nazis were sexual deviants and petty criminals. That doesn’t make the Holocaust just one of those things and somehow not the product of Nazism.

        1. Spot on. This is exactly what comes to mind – all the fucked up people who flock to these types of orgs. How many KKK muckety mucks you think were fags or pedophiles? Or both? Or….xi?

        2. Sounds like you are saying it’s a bad idea to have a sexual deviant and a criminal in the Whitehouse ?

      1. Me first what? Call you an idiot? Sure but I am pretty sure everyone who has ever met you has already done that.

    3. Holy strawman Batman. “How is that not an act of war?” How is this piece about whether it is? Seriously, read the articles based on what they are not what you imagine they’re about.

      1. Ryan was right. It was an act of war. What we should about it is a different question. But ISIS is at war with us. And putting it in scare quotes and ignoring it doesn’t change the truth.

        1. They’re not “scare quotes” they’re “quotation marks.” That’s how they’re used in headlines. Like, a headline that said Trump Calls Clinton a “Disaster” is not a judgment on the claim, it’s to indicate that’s the term that’ used. I’m genuinely puzzled by your interpretation.

          1. Those are scare quotes. “Act of War” is in quotes and nothing else. He is not quoting Ryan. Find a better hill to die on that this one.

      2. Congressional Republicans want to talk war but there appears to be little interest in either a declaration of war or doing the work of coming up with an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS that would articulate the dimensions of and commitments to the conflict, even though it’s Congress’ role.

        I dunno – somewhat related, anyway

        1. Congress’s role is to support the President. He runs the country.

          (/sarc tag implied)

        2. Congress’s role is to support the President. He runs the country.

          (/sarc tag implied)

          1. Cry Havoc! and let slip the squirrelz of war!

  5. Wasn’t there a brief moment when Paul Ryan was perceived as having some integrity ?

    1. ….and then I woke up…

  6. I realize that Ryan’s statement was a convenient jumping off point to go after the lack of a declaration of war. Nonetheless, his statement is a model of restraint and temperance.

    We should wish all public figures showed so little reaction. When major media moves their anchors to sites of terrorist attacks, the terrorists win.

    1. When New Coke was introduced, the terrorists won

  7. O.T.: The Dems seem to really be falling over themselves to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this year:…..tion-file/

    1. “Yeah, but there’s nothing in there marked ‘Top Secret’, so it’s all good!” – Hill and DNCbots

    2. the security firm DNC officials hired to investigate and contain the breach, determined the intrusions were carried out by two separate hacker groups that both worked for the Russian government.

      Hill dog definitely has a problem keeping the ruskies out.

      Oh well, what difference, at this point, does it make?

  8. Meh. Congress has already signaled its acquiescence the current state of simmering hostilities. I think it is safe to say that the public also supports “killing bad guys” as Obama defines it.

    A new AUMF could be used to justify a ground war. And no one is up for that.

  9. Ryan will get to the declaration right after they pass spending and tax cuts and defund Obamacare.

    1. If Ryan wants to know why people turned to Trump, he can look in the mirror.

  10. He should declare war on Oceania since whatever war that would be declared would be as undefined and pointless as the one Orwell was talking about.

    What difference does a declaration of war make anyway? It’s just workers shooting other workers in the service of a plutocratic status quo. Does formalizing a bombing campaign that will surely kill thousands of absolutely impoverished and desperate civilians by affixing a signature and a stamp of legislative approval make bombing civilians somehow more honorable? I’ve seen arguments here that it does. I want to learn from you libertarians how codified slaughter is more palatable than uncodified slaughter.

    1. yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAWWWN!

    2. Wow, so even Islamists are, when it comes down to it, mere proles agitating against the bourgeoisie.

  11. If ISIS wants to claim responsibility for something because some murderous dipshit read their websites or whatever, then maybe we should hold them responsible accountable.

    Maybe it’s time to break out the World War II manuals agian. Is ISIS holed up in Fallujah? Maybe it’s time to flatten Fallujah.

    No need to send in U.S. ground troops. Just do to Fallujah what we did to Hamburg.

    Right now might be a great time to get stoopid.

    Let’s show ISIS how stupid we can be. You terrorists think you scare us because you’re stupid? We can show you what stupid really looks like.

    If you don’t want to get bombed to smithereens because you claimed responsibility for murdering innocent Americans, there’s an easy way to avoid that.

  12. Yeah I think it’s time everyone go back to their corners and realize what we had here was a very angry, crazy, conflicted gay man who was struggling with this identity.

    1. I blame the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      1. And Comcast.

        1. …aaaaaand Google.

          1. Yeah! Google sucks!

    2. Of all the excuses given for killing innocents, “struggling with one’s identity” has to be one of the poorest.

      1. It sounds like some sjw attempt to reclaim the narrative

    3. …who got a high-powered semi-automatic assault gun with little more than a signature even though he was being investigated by the FBI as an ISIS terrorist.

      1. Had been investigated and clear. There was no active investigation in over a year.

      2. High-powered? It was a frickin’ .223. Where I come from, that’s illegal for hunting deer, because it’s not powerful enough.

  13. derp

    Derpetologist is right – you gotta work up a tolerance to the derp, or it’s overwhelming. I thought I was ready to go pro, but….whew! Derpy’s right. This isn’t weapons-grade stuff, but Ryan is quickly becoming too ridiculous to tolerate. His 15 minutes are up, I guess. What a turd.

    1. You should work small breaks in between periods of derp. Try exercising, meditating, or listening to music before and after derp exposure to lessen its effects on the central nervous system. With enough practice, soon you’ll be a seasoned derp-diver with a high tolerance for idiocy.

      This message brought to you by the Committee for Responsible Derping.

      1. instead of exercise, meditating and music I have a beer and some port cracklins. YMMV.

      2. “When you can walk through the derp and emerge with no trace, Grasshopper, then you will have learned….”

        1. If thou gaze long into the derp, the derp will gaze also into thee.

      3. Someone posted this derp break video the other day.

    2. It’s all derp all the time for some of us

  14. Just like the Dylan Roof shooting was an Act of War by the National Socialist.

  15. Ed needs to do a better job of “motivating” his orphan proof readers. I’m normally not a grammar nazi, but holy fucking shit.

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