May 21, 2011

"White House on War Powers Deadline: 'Limited' US Role in Libya Means No Need to Get Congressional Authorization."

Jake Tapper reports:
“Since April 4,” the president wrote, “U.S. participation has consisted of: (1) non-kinetic support to the NATO-led operation, including intelligence, logistical support, and search and rescue assistance; (2) aircraft that have assisted in the suppression and destruction of air defenses in support of the no-fly zone; and (3) since April 23, precision strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against a limited set of clearly defined targets in support of the NATO-led coalition's efforts.”

A senior administration official told ABC News that the letter is intended to describe “a narrow US effort that is intermittent and principally an effort to support to support the ongoing NATO-led and UN-authorized civilian support mission and no fly zone.”

“The US role is one of support,” the official said, “and the kinetic pieces of that are intermittent.”
Get it?

UPDATE: Jake Tapper emails:
i know you're not responsible for the folks who post to your site -- God knows i stopped reading my comments long ago -- but FYI, per your first commenter, I never defended Helen Thomas.
He's referring, apparently, to the second comment, from chickenlittle, who said: "Sorry but I lost a lot of respect for Jake Tapper when he defended that hag Helen Thomas."

59 comments:

PaulV said...

War Powers Act has raptured.

WV pyscwar for sure
blogger WV is having fun?

chickenlittle said...

Sorry but I lost a lot of respect for Jake Tapper when he defended that hag Helen Thomas.

lasckbounce said...

How 'bout the House majority initiate impeachment proceedings??? But then again the minority would use the action as club to beat them to ...whatever. The MSM picked up the Uncle Remus baby and can't let go --no matter what..

edutcher said...

The War Powers Act was one of the anti-'Nam Left's devices to keep the US from getting in the Russkies' way.

Ironic that our small c communist POTUS is the one who is showing everybody what it really is.

Also ironic that so many Demos who were denouncing the American military as the second coming of the Waffen-SS a few years ago are so silent on something that Congress, as a check and balance on an arrogant Executive, should be asserting its authority.

lasckbounce said...

How 'bout the House majority initiate impeachment proceedings??? But then again the minority would use the action as club to beat them to ...whatever.

On what? If War Powers is Constitutional, the Republicans would be defending a Lefty law. How do the Demos object?

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Guess Congress should feel flattered these goons at least took the time to write up a bullshit letter; this administration's policy is normally to ignore the law and let their fellaters in the press write their excuses.

windbag said...

If our involvement is so insignificant that he doesn't need Congressional approval, then it shouldn't be missed when we yank it.

Chase said...

Jake Tapper is the most balanced and fair real reporter on any of the Major networks. #1. He is not perfect, but he is provably the best at balance, at trying to be what a reporter/joournalist should be.

If someone whats to complain about specific times that Tapper may have not been as even-handed as he might have been, have at it.

But have the honesty to go tit for tat against anyone you may believe is more fair. You will find Tapper to be the best.

Just sayin'

The Drill SGT said...

WaPo had a war powers story this AM. I got a some smiles from that one. It spoke of the history of the WPA, adn how Reagan and Clinton had not gotten approval for Lebanon or the Balkans. WaPo could not bring themselves to mentiuon that both Bushes, (Hitler, and his father) had indeed gotten Congressal approval.

If it were Bush bombing Libya, what do you think are the odds, after 60 days (busting the WPA limit) that the Democrats and the MSM would just shrug?

With Byrd gone, there are few left in the Senate who actually care about defending their branch, rather than just taking positions based on political advantage

windbag said...

Congress doesn't get it. There has been a power struggle amongst the three branches of government from the get-go. The Dems have given Obama carte blanche, not realizing the power that the executive branch has amassed in two short years. This is bigger than Libya (or Lybia, if you're part of the Obama admin). This is a serious breach of executive powers that needs to be checked. Congress should forcefully refute Obama's actions.

Hagar said...

B.S. as much and more as when they say about whatever it was that it was none of their doing, it was all NATO - as if NATO was an independent state or something.

rhhardin said...

As long as the President can fund it without Congress's funds, say from foreign money, he's free to do what he wants.

The war powers act infringes on the Commander in Chief except for the matter of money.

Phil 3:14 said...

This is a reality series, isn't it

War Powers, Season 12: Kinetic Action

Lincolntf said...

Only a year and a half before this scum-sucking loser gets his ass booted back to Chicago. I really can't wait.

bagoh20 said...

See that? In his first term, Obama has made war itself obsolete. And remember that seas have also stopped rising as promised. Shock and Awe 2.0

Skyler said...

As a military officer, I find this development to be frightening.

Even if you don't like the law and think it is unconstitutional, there needs to be clear authority for using military power.

What is a pilot to do if he's in an aircraft about to bomb some ship in Libya? He should never be put in a position to doubt the legality of his acts. Should he unilaterally question his orders? Should he obey and hope that he won't be held responsible for crimes?

It's a dangerous game to be playing. Challenge the law, certainly, but challenge it through the courts and abide by it until it is decided unless there is an emergency.

Politicians are playing chicken with the moral standing of our military. We are bound to obey lawful orders, and we should never have a question about what is lawful.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

We conservatives like to say things like "Well if Bush had done this.." followed by implications that he would have caught hell. If Bush had done this (evaded the War Powers Act) he certainly would have caught hell, but this doesn't change the fact that Obama has taken an eminently defensible position. By any standard of the last thirty years, we are not "at war" in Libya. Many of us think we should be "at war" in Libya, but that's another issue.

JAL said...

I'm with Chase. Tapper still surprises me, in the sense that he is an ABC reporter.

He's the only one I recognize immediately and am willing to read, knowing IO have a fair chance of finding something close to, or based on, reality.

edutcher said...

What Skyler said.

Little Zero ignores anything he doesn't like, be it court decision or law.

This is what happens in banana republics.

Not to mention the fact that, as Skyler implies, American military personnel could be held accountable legally for this Administration's irresponsibility.

Witness the comments here for the SEALs (and the Nightstalkers) to lawyer up, just in case.

AllenS said...

Because obama is AWESOME, he doesn't need to follow any stinkin law.

JAL said...

Let me see, wasn't it this president who informed Congress critters "I Won."

Seems they should have picked up on the implications of that.

I love the 35 "I"s in his brief (and it was brief) speech to the CIA guys.

I try to contain myself publically, but Barack Obama is an ass and he behaves like one.

If I were his mother I would not have tolerated the behavior that led to this disgusting narcissism.

It is undermining the United States and is going to get people killed uselessly.

The founding fathers understood the foibles of man. They did not believe we were inherently good and even some would be "light bearers"!

Congress and SCOTUS need to get on the ball and remember what we are tasking them to do.

realwest said...

"Get it?" Uh, no, I honestly don't get it.
I guess since Obama got the consent from the Arab League he didn't feel it necessary to get Congressional approval.
But I also don't get how dropping bombs, or using drones to fire missiles on purely ground targets fits in with the U.N. Resolution he got, either. How much force is really required to enforce the No-Fly Zone resolution? And how did that resolution come to mean Kill Qaddafi or Regime Change?
I do think it would be helpful, however for the House to have a roll call vote on whether or not President Obama needs Congressional approval to continue his "kinetic" attempt to effect Regime Change and to kill Qaddafi.
Love to see that introduced in the Senate, even though Reid (I got my whole state waived from compliance with ObamaCare)would never allow it to come to a vote.

David Smith said...

"...we are not 'at war' in Libya."

Absolutely true utterly irrelevant.

Read the "War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541-1548), for example 1543a.2:

"In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces;"

It may or may not be constitutional or binding, but it unquestionably covers a situation like the current operations in Libya.

Wiggle room equals the null set.

tim maguire said...

If Obama thought Congress would give him his approval, he'd ask for it.

Having declared that he doesn't need their support, the ball is now in their court. How do they respond to this usurpation of their constitutional authority?

Tyrone Slothrop said...


It may or may not be constitutional or binding, but it unquestionably covers a situation like the current operations in Libya.


You're right, but Reagan ignored it, Bush 1 ignored it,and Clinton ignored it. The language you quote is incredibly broad in scope and could cover everything from airborne refueling over Malta to a destroyer passing the Panama Canal. Congress's history of complaisance here belies the apparent inflexibility of the language. Presidents need, and are constitutionally entitled to, some latitude in employing the armed forces.

AllenS said...

Let's face it, Libya isn't going to give up it's oil unless we kill a lot of those fuckers. Who cares if it's a war, or some kinetic version of reality.

Hagar said...

So, if I only shoot at you intermittently, that's all right?

dbp said...

What? No bullshit tag?

Phil Candreva said...

The standard should be: if someone did this to us would we consider it an act of war? If the answer is "yes" the president should get congressional authorization.

E.M. Davis said...

I think we need a "kinetic bullshit" tag.

EDH said...

The Republicans won't complain, yet anyway, because for all intents and purposes:

1.) Obama is weakening the ability of a Democrat congress to later use the War Powers Act against a Republican president, and

2.) there is no advantage to the Republicans in not allowing Obama to "own" the Libya intervention for the time being.

AllenS said...

EDH, those are two good points. Afterall, so far none of our guys have been killed. Who cares how many of them, innocent civilians or Quadaffy's goons get dead.

Freeman Hunt said...

Kinetic? The pieces that move? What does that mean? Kinetic components as opposed to what? Potential components?

Freeman Hunt said...

"What we're doing is limited in scope. We're only sending in stuff that moves."

???

Richard Dolan said...

The War Powers Act was always a square peg trying to make it into a round hole. The Constitution is non-specific about when, if ever, a declaration of war is required before the President may use military force abroad. Presidents of both parties have made it clear that such a declaration is only necessary when and if the president says it is; congresses, regardless of partisan control, have disagreed. Courts, wisely, have no interest in being the referee between Congress and the President on these issues. They have many ways of finding war claims generally and WPA claims specifically non-justiciable (standing, political question, etc.).

That leaves it all where it should be left, for political resolution however the President and the Congress (and ultimately the voters) decide to resolve it. The real bite of the WPA is that presidents don't like to be accused of acting illegally -- it can have political consequences -- even if there is no forum in which such legal claims can be formally tested and resolved. Obama has a famously thin skin on pretty much everything, and the WPA's sting in that regard may have more bite against him that it would for, say, Clinton or Bush.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

So to be a 'war', there must be gunfire 24/7 without pause.

Intermittant gunfire with pauses is not addressed by the War Powers Act?

Roger J. said...

While I absolutely detest Mr Obama and think him a fool, this willingness to ignore the law on behalf of the need for executive power isnt a bad thing.

Ever since John Adams fought a naval war with france in 1798 executives have put american soldiers and sailors in harms way.

The 1973 WPA was a temper tantrum by democrats--it was stupid then and it remains stupid--While Mr Obama hasnt done much right in his stewardship, if he kills the war powers act, he may actually have accomplished something.

Now the ball is in the republicans court--file articles of impeachment. Aint going to happen

Jug ears has told the legislative branch to get fucked--and they, in unison will roll over and take it

Ironically that isnt a bad thing--the WPA was stupid from its inception, and its good to see a democrat, half black president drive a stake in its heart.

Robert Cook said...

Obama has been a war criminal for most of his term in office; he has now simply declared his right to be one by saying, "If I do it, it's not a crime!"

Robert Cook said...

"...this willingness to ignore the law on behalf of the need for executive power isn't a bad thing."

Yes...it is a very bad thing.

That is, unless you applaud violation of the law by the chief executive in a naked power grab.

What wouldn't you approve?

(What you wouldn't approve of doesn't matter, though, as the precedent, having been set, if not challenged and thwarted, means what you--or any of the rest of us--think is irrelevent. We're just here to serve the king.)

Big Mike said...

If [the President does it], it's not a crime!

Here's how far off the deep end Obama has gone -- I'm agreeing with one of Robert Cook's comments! Where'd we see a similar point of view by a president? Hmmm, Professor, you do have an "Obama is like Nixon" tag, don't you?

Carol_Herman said...

Q-Daffy is still in there!

The likelihood that the the west gains, here, diminishes every single day!

And, with Tripoli's port on fire (to reduce Q-Daffy's navy) ... how, exactly will the oil from Libya be exported?

Robert Cook said...

"The Republicans won't complain, yet anyway, because for all intents and purposes:

"1.) Obama is weakening the ability of a Democrat (sic) congress to later use the War Powers Act against a Republican president...."


Um...Obama is weakening the power of any Congress to use any force of law to halt any future president from doing whatever the fuck he wants to do...assuming this Congress doesn't stop him now.

"2.) there is no advantage to the Republicans in not allowing Obama to 'own' the Libya intervention for the time being."

What advantage do they gain by surrendering their power to the President, by allowing the President to assert unilateral authority at whim, the law be damned? They're simply making themselves eunuchs of empire.

Carol_Herman said...

Impeachment happened to Nixon after he had a blowout 2nd term win.

I have a feeling IF Obama actually wins, again, in 2012 ... the GOP new comers ... and there will be many ... will be out in force. Impeachment then would be a real possibility.

Not now. The GOP has "campaigns" to run.

Meanwhile, Obama is fleeing to Ireland. So he doesn't have to see what happens on Tuesday. When Bibi gets to speak to both houses of Congress. He was invited by Boehner.

Robert Cook said...

"Let's face it, Libya isn't going to give up it's oil unless we kill a lot of those fuckers. Who cares if it's a war, or some kinetic version of reality."

AllenS recognizes here clearly that we're in Libya because of its oil reserves and not for one second because we're concerned with the fate of any of Qaddafi's subjects...we're not.

What I can't tell from Allen's snark is whether he approves or disapproves. I'd like to think he disapproves, but perhaps I'm being hopeful.

kent said...

"'Limited' US Role in Libya Means No Need to Get Congressional Authorization."

You get what you vote for, Professor.

Might as well own it.

kent said...

Joe Biden: War Without Congressional Approval Warrants Impeachment [Video]

That lousy, teabaggiing Althouse hillbilly!

Peano said...

November 2012. Then we'll see some kinetic.

wv: unrap

You got that straight, Mojambo. Unrap, indeed.

Big Mike said...

Impeachment happened to Nixon after he had a blowout 2nd term win.

Point of information. Nixon was never impeached; he quit in the face of the threat of impeachment.

I still recollect all those Democrats on TV back in the day intoning about how not even the President is above the law. Sure changed their tune when it was William Jefferson Clinton committing felony perjury and now in the face of Obama's defiance of the War Powers Act, haven't they?

Jose_K said...

They told me if I voted for McCain, The President will wage war without congressional aprovval. Indeed

Jose_K said...

they tol me if i voted for Macain, the White house will use newspeak

kent said...

O/T (but delicious): Writer Who Started “Trigs Crew” Phenomenon Out at Wonkette

Awwwww. Poor widdle bun-bun.

chickenlittle said...

He's referring, apparently, to the second comment, from chickenlittle, who said: "Sorry but I lost a lot of respect for Jake Tapper when he defended that hag Helen Thomas."

If there were an easy way to dig back to my Twitter stream from that point in time I could easily prove him wrong. He even "at" tweeted me--I was shocked, shocked! but that's why I remember it.

chickenlittle said...

Sorry I didn't see that update earlier Althouse.

SDN said...

Ever since Lincoln in the first American Civil War every President has known full well he can do anything he pleases as long as 1/3 +1 of the Senate will refuse to confirm impeachment. This is not new.

Robert Cook said...

"I still recollect all those Democrats on TV back in the day intoning about how not even the President is above the law. Sure changed their tune when it was William Jefferson Clinton committing felony perjury and now in the face of Obama's defiance of the War Powers Act, haven't they?"

Well, the Dems who were in office then aren't the same persons as those in office today. But, that said, they might very well have proved just as hypocritical with regard to Obama's actions as the Dems in Congress today.

I can't imagine today's Republicans acting with any greater integrity or lesser hypocrisy toward a Republican president in similar violation of the law. Hey, did any of them call for impeachment of Bush?

Big Mike said...

@Robert, Bush did nothing impeachable, other than in that silly little thing you jokingly call your brain.

Robert Cook said...

"@Robert, Bush did nothing impeachable...."

Hahahahaha!

You prove my point.

Lance said...

Hahahahaha!

You prove my point.


Dude, seriously, what "high crimes or misdemeanors" did Bush commit?

Robert Cook said...

"Dude, seriously, what 'high crimes or misdemeanors' did Bush commit?"

In broad strokes: the illegal aggressive invasion of Iraq; the implementation of torture as standard U.S. policy; the conducting of widespread electronic eavesdropping on Americans without warrants....Bush admitted publicly while in office to having conducted wiretaps without the required warrants, and he admitted after leaving office to having employed waterboarding against prisoners, among other abuses.

I know you and other Bush admirers will howl that these aren't crimes, (but they are); that the invasion of Iraq was legal, (but it wasn't); that waterboarding isn't torture, (but it is).

Obama's crimes are merely a continuation and expansion of Bush's.

Lincolntf said...

"Oh noes!!! An illegal aggressive invasion..."
What a dipshit.