June 18, 2011

"According to the liberal apparatchiks in the White House, Mr. Obama can bypass Congress simply by redefining 'hostilities.'"

"War is no longer war. It is whatever Mr. Obama says it is — or isn’t. George Orwell warned that the perversion of language is the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism."

Oh, settle down. You're acting like Obama is a Republican.

ADDED: "You only are what you believe, and I believe the war is over," sang Phil Ochs a long time ago. And Barack Obama believes what we're doing in Libya is not the introduction of U.S. armed forces...
(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;

(2) 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; or

(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation...
No. He can't even believe that. He can only pose as someone who believes that. And he can't believably pose as someone who believes that. The linked article warns us about the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism. I would have pictured the first step on that road as more of a confident stride or bold march, not a crazy bike trick with a spectacular stumble and...



... "I meant to do that."

143 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

George Orwell warned that the perversion of language is the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism.

Well shoot, NewAgers have been up to that shit for decades,...

rhhardin said...

The War Powers Act being unconstitutional would be the correct approach, not claiming that it's valid but it isn't a war, which is stupid.

Congress can though cut off funding, and the President either has to have bake sales or withdraw.

Kirby Olson said...

I don't think BO has any respect for law unless it is what he says it is. There's the Arizona law that he won't countenance. He won't respect any law that inconveniences him. He goes over the border into Pakistan to ake out OBL. He just does whatever he wants. HE wants Obamacare. Who cares about the Commerce Clause? He's setting very bizarre precedents.

Henry said...

Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of kinetic operations.

Fernandinande said...

"The misuse of language induces evil in the soul." -- Socrates.

Erik said...

I, too, think arguing that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional would have been a better approach. But that just points out the obvious: we need a Constitutional amendment clarifying the separation of powers when it comes to war.

I doubt either party wants that sort of clarification, Obama least of all.

nevadabob said...

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Pub.L. 107-243, 116 Stat. 1498, enacted October 16, 2002, H.J.Res. 114, is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing the Iraq War.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (Pub.L. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, enacted September 18, 2001), one of two resolutions commonly known as "AUMF" (the other being "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002"), was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001.

Barack Hussein Obama has ordered the United States military to kill people in Libya and in Yemen. He had 60 days to seek Congressional authorization for those hostile actions against foreign nations.

In defiance of the top lawyer at the Pentagon, and in definace of the legal advice he was given by the top lawyer at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Barack Hussein Obama has refused to seek proper Congressional authorization for these killings to continue from the Congress.

Barack Obama is therefore acting outside the law. He is a war criminal. He should be arrested, transported to The Hague and given a fair trial. The accused criminal has rights.

Upon his conviction for these war crimes, he should be hanged by his neck until dead as a warning to all future war criminals who seek to illegally order United States servicemen to kill people in the furtherance of their own personal whims.

nevadabob said...

"In defiance of the top lawyer at the Pentagon, and in definace of the legal advice he was given by the top lawyer at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Barack Hussein Obama has refused to seek proper Congressional authorization for these killings to continue from the Congress."

And the reason that he has refused to seek authorization from the Congress to allow these killings to continue is because the Congress would not so authorize him to continue this action.

Barack Hussein Obama is deliberately defying the law and violating his oath of office to protect and defend the United States Constitution.

He is a common criminal.

It is now the duty of the United States House of Representatives to Impeach this president for his crimes and for the United States Senate to try him for his crimes.

If they refuse to bring this war criminal to justice, then it should fall to the same world organizations who brought the Nazi's to heel to do their Earthly duty.

Erik said...

NevadaBob, I only wish the Constitution and our history of its interpretation were as clear and unproblematic as you seem to think it is. Unfortunately, it's not. If it were so clear, we wouldn't be in this situation, would we?

And transported to the Hague for trial? Surely we can't take you seriously.

clint said...

There've been stories recently asking whether President Obama really wants to be reelected.

Is it at all possible that he's daring the Congress to impeach the first black president? (He could spend the rest of his life as the Left's ultimate martyr, rather than a losing one-term president, like Carter and Bush sr.)

The number of lawless acts out of this White House seems extreme to me, and it's like they aren't even pretending to follow he law anymore. (Then again, I remember thinking the same thing, both about Reagan and about Clinton.)

SGT Ted said...

Giving the Hague any sort of authority over us would be foolish, but i get the sentiment as an 'in-your-face' to the juvenile leftists who see every US war action as 'war crimes'.

madAsHell said...

Another un-forced error!!

This whole administration is like watching a high school junior varsity game. They wanna play, but they don't know how to avoid mistakes.

Milwaukee said...

See, we don't need his "long form" birth certificate. Yes, he needs a trial, probably a military tribunal, and then shot. The military gave up hanging years ago, although the Navy might still put their yardarms to good use.

The acronym is SHTF, as in Shit Hits The Fan.

Damn, if he's gone, who is going to fix the lack of a tournament for the National Championship of NCAA Football? Blast.

When SHTF, will we be able to get rid of Affirmative Action and seal the borders?

nevadabob said...

"I only wish the Constitution and our history of its interpretation were as clear and unproblematic as you seem to think it is."

As I think it is? THis is not my interpretation.

No ... the top Pentagon general counsel and separately the United States Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel believe that Barack Obama is acting outside the law. And told him so. They warned him that he would be acting illegally.

NY Times: "Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch."

The President sought legal advice. He was given that advice and because he didn't like that advice, he refused to heed it. He wants to continue to order American servicemen to kill Libyans and Yemenis and he believes that the United States Congress will not authorize him to do that.

And so he has chosen to act outside the law in defiance of the United States Justice Department.

Barack Obama is a criminal.

He must be impeached. We cannot allow our presidents to order our servicemen and women to kill people without proper Congressional authorization. It is immoral.

Our servicemen and servicewomen are now honor-bound and duty-bound, and above that they are legally required to refuse to carry out Barack Obama's illegal orders.

Any U.S. serviceman who continues to carry out these illegal orders and who kill Iraqi's are committing murder and should be brought to justice.

EDH said...

War is no longer war. It is whatever Mr. Obama says it is - or isn’t.

Not sure this is what John Lennon meant when he sang...

"WAR IS OVER!

IF YOU WANT IT"

chickenlittle said...

Barack Obama is therefore acting outside the law. He is a war criminal. He should be arrested, transported to The Hague and given a fair trial. The accused criminal has rights.

There's your Moby tell right there folks.

LOL

Almost Ali said...

Kindly keep in mind that the law is only a guideline - a rough draft, a general direction, a specific misdirection, a romantic desire, a pliable artifact, an exercise in wishful thinking, a matter of humor (as in; to humor), the means to a political end, a zero-sum game, a scheme, a racket, an eviction notice, a contempt citation, a parking violation, a mechanism to induce bankruptcy, the means of sanctioned harassment, a vendetta, a tool of intimidation, an amorphous organism, a midwife, a means of corruption, a bastard child... well, anything you want it to be "if" you can afford it.

nevadabob said...

"Any U.S. serviceman who continues to carry out these illegal orders and who kill Iraqi's are committing murder and should be brought to justice."

Correction: Slip of the tongue. Obviously, I mean to say Libyans and Yemenis.

Milwaukee said...

Is impeachment an option? I thought the Democrats showed us that they were unwilling to impeach a sitting President for "trivial" reasons. Given the level of noise from the socialist-progressive-left, this is trivial. Just a bunch of right wing-nuts who are over obsessed on following lame rules. Same as protecting our borders.

Weiner should not have been allowed to resign: the House should have expelled him, and cause him to lose his "privilege of the House". Those people in Congress are severely ethically challenged.

nevadabob said...

"There's your Moby tell right there folks."

Chickenlittle why don't you advance a rebuttal to my comment?

Let's see what you have to say on the subject. Shed some light on this issue. Your president is killing people. Do you not take such a thing seriously? I should think that killing people would concern you enough to offer your own opinion on the matter.

HDHouse said...

perhaps that is why GWB spoke so incoherently .....

just passing through

Milwaukee said...

Almost Ali: You mean "laws" are like the Pirate Code in Pirates of the Caribbean? Guidelines, sort of.

Didn't we not long ago have some elitist educated reporter demonstrate that she had no idea what "rule of law" meant? Why would our former senior lecturer from a law school have a clue?

nevadabob said...

"Is impeachment an option?"

In Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton described the subject of impeachment as: ". . . those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself."

Barack Obama, despite legal advice given to him by the United States Justice Department, has refused to abide by the War Powers Act. He has exceeded the power of his office and had failed to respect the prerogatives of Congress. This is absolutely an impeachable offense. It is why President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868.

Barack Obama has abused the public trust by deliberately exceeding the 60-day requirement for cessation of hostilities without Congressional approval. He has thus illegally and deliberately encroached on the power of the Legislature.

He has refused to seek Congressional approval precisely because in his estimation, the Congress will not grant him that approval.

And thus, this is a deliberate willful act of defiance to the law.

This cannot be allowed to stand.

The United States House of Representatives has been presented with a rogue president acting willfully against the law.

It must impeach him and the United States Senate must try him for his crimes.

Richard Dolan said...

The charge of hypocrisy must have some sting, as even the Dems in Congress reject the O team's gamesmanship here. Partly that's institutional -- if members of Congress won't stand up for Congressional powers, who will? But it's also a reflection of O's weakness. Contrast this situation with the response to Clinton's sexcapades -- even self-proclaimed feminists of decades-long standing lined up to defend what they must have seen as indefensible. (There was a little of that with Weiner more recently too.) And the Dems in Congress famously rallied around Clinton at the White House on the day he was impeached.

Not here, not on this. That the Dems in Congress are rebelling is in part a tribute to O's weakness, and a harbinger of bad things for him yet to come.

Almost Ali said...

Milwaukee said...
You mean "laws" are... Guidelines, sort of.

Very rough guidelines, analogous to the innumerable variations of the human condition.

Bender said...

The argument is that the WPA is unconstitutional because it infringes upon the president's powers as commander-in-chief.

But Obama denies that we are engaged in hostilities. Therefore, he cannot rely upon his powers as commander-in-chief to justify his actions here.

So if not as commander-in-chief, what is the constitutional authority for Obama's actions?

And if he is, in fact, operating as commander-in-chief in ordering the repeated bombing of Libya, etc., then where in the Constitution is the authority for a president to lie to Congress? In fact, historical precedent establishes that lying to Congress is an impeachable "high crime."

That Congress will never impeach Obama over this does not detract from the fact that Obama does not, in law or fact, have any legal authority for engaging in war as he is.

And it is not as if he would not have gotten the authority if only he had asked.

Rialby said...

Kinetic Operations, what are they good for? Absolutely nothin' say it again!

Rialby said...

HDHouse - you're just passing through shtick sucks. Like your opinions.

nevadabob said...

"The argument is that the WPA is unconstitutional because it infringes upon the president's powers as commander-in-chief."

Barack Obama has not made that argument. Ever. In fact, he has argued just the opposite during his tenure as a United States Senator.

Barack Obama's argument today is that the United States is not engaged in in "hostilities" against either Libya or Yemen.

That is a lie.

United States servicemen and women are using US weapons to kill Libyans and Yemeni's. That is a hostile act and well within the legal meaning of "hostilities" as it applies to the War Powers Act.

Barack Obama is deliberately refusing to bring this matter to the Congress for Congressional approval as required by the law precisely because he believes and knows that the Congress will not authorize him to continue these hostilities.

And so this is a deliberate willful act of defiance to the law.

It cannot be allowed to stand.

nevadabob said...

"The argument is that the WPA is unconstitutional because it infringes upon the president's powers as commander-in-chief."

Barack Obama has not made that argument. Ever. In fact, he has argued just the opposite during his tenure as a United States Senator.

Barack Obama's argument today is that the United States is not engaged in in "hostilities" against either Libya or Yemen.

That is a lie.

United States servicemen and women are using US weapons to kill Libyans and Yemeni's. That is a hostile act and well within the legal meaning of "hostilities" as it applies to the War Powers Act.

Barack Obama is deliberately refusing to bring this matter to the Congress for Congressional approval as required by the law precisely because he believes and knows that the Congress will not authorize him to continue these hostilities.

And so this is a deliberate willful act of defiance to the law.

It cannot be allowed to stand.

Methadras said...

Urkels respect for law is about as facile as him practicing law. Who cares if he is a republican if he is a marxist anyway, ann? Do you think the party makes the man or the ideology?

Tom said...

It will be fun watching the next President ask the press why following the war powers act is so important for his administration when it wasn't necessary for the Obama administration.

Charlie said...

@Richard Dolan: The charge of hypocrisy must have some sting, as even the Dems in Congress reject the O team's gamesmanship here.

Interesting to try to think through, given that charges of being a hypocrite, lying, or not regarding the concerns of others mean nothing to sociopaths. These are notions held only by suckers, to be used against them. It is thus only about tactics. So you will get the vote of the other parasites and sociopaths, no matter what you do on these counts, but this is less than half the voters (I hope). How then do you play your hand to get the votes of the suckers? You do what Obama did spectacularly to get elected: Figure out how to lie baldfaced to the suckers, because they will believe you, and your fellow sociopaths know you are lying.

Tom said...

It will be fun watching the next President asking the press why it is so important for him to comply with the war powers act when it wasn't necessary for Obama.

Curious George said...

SOme have hit it exactly right...Obama has always made the case thatt he POTUS is bound and should follow the WPA. His problem now is that he doesn't want to, and is unwilling to say so. Instead he says it "doesn't apply" and his argument doesn't pass the laugh test.

Since it's passing, Congress and POTUS' have done a dance around this...neither branch really wanting to test the constitutionality. Obama has taken it to a new level of stupid. Smartest guy in the room? Not quite.

The Drill SGT said...

When O'bama loses the NYT on an issue

Apparently O'bama altered the normal process where the DoJ OLC consults with various adminstration departments and forms the view of the law for a President. In this case, O'bama knew that his will would be opposed by DoD and OLC, so he ordered OLC just to gather the views and not make a ruling. O'bama decided that himself, Herb Kohl, and the WH Counsel, outvoted DoJ and DoD. 3-2

AllenS said...

Let's go back aways to when Bush was president, shall we? Here's Blowhard Joe Punk Biden getting all tough, thinking that Bush was going to bomb Iran, which he never did:

I asked them to put together [for] me a draft, which I'm now literally riding between towns editing, that I want to make clear and submit to the Untied States Senate pointing out the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran. And I want to make it clear, I want it on the record, and I want to make it clear, if he does, as chairman of the foreign relations committee and former chair of the judiciary committee, I will move to impeach him.

Well, bitch. How about impeaching obama?

Erik said...

NevadaBob, the constitutionality of the War Powers Act has always been a matter of heated debate. Pretending like it hasn't been is ignorant.

"There's your Moby tell right there folks."

Yeah, and the slip about Iraqis as well. NevadaBob's been slipping quite a bit lately. Better to just pull back the veil and be done with it. He's not fooling anyone.

nevadabob said...

"It will be fun watching the next President ask the press why following the war powers act is so important for his administration when it wasn't necessary for the Obama administration."

The next president isn't going to be a Democrat, so Obama's brand of "illegal war of choice killing brown people" won't occur.

The issue won't come up. Period. If the next president, who will be a Republican, wishes to use US forces to kill other human beings, he'll do what George W. Bush did before him and seek Congressional authorization within 60 days.

That's just how we roll.

nevadabob said...

"NevadaBob, the constitutionality of the War Powers Act has always been a matter of heated debate. Pretending like it hasn't been is ignorant."

But it isn't a matter of debate today.

Because Barack Hussein Obama has always been on record as supporting the Constitutionality of the War Powers Act and he is not now that it is unconstitutional.

He has reported officially to the United States Congress that the United States is not involved in hostilities against people in Libya.

That is a lie. He lied to the Congress.

In fact, US servicemen and women are today using US weapons to kill Libyans with hostile fire. We are, in every way, involved in hostilities against people in Libya.

Barack Obama cannot change the meaning of words. He doesn't possess that power.

He lied to the Congress precisely because he rightfully believes that the Congress will not grant him the authority to continue hostile actions against Libya. He is defying Congress and usurping the power under the War Powers Act that Barack Obama himself has always approved of.

This deliberately and willfully lawless President cannot be allowed to order our military to murder people.

He must be removed from his office for abusing our trust and overstepping the authority of the Executive branch of government.

Erik said...

The WPA only adds to the confusion on the issue. Both sides are reasonably content with the status quo because it gives them ammo to hit the other side with no matter what position they take. No one wants clarity, because lack of clarity aids them in creating talking points.

Obama could have gotten congressional approval. I doubt congress would have said no to him at the time this was initially unfolding. There would have been political fallout, but he would have likely gotten what he wanted. But again he's managed to work himself into a political no-win situation. In fact, he chief political skill seems to be getting himself into jams just like this.

flenser said...

that just points out the obvious: we need a Constitutional amendment clarifying the separation of powers when it comes to war.

The constitution is already perfectly clear on the subject, or as perfectly clear as it ever is about anything. When hostilities commence the President is Commander in Chief . Hostilities commence when somebody attacks us or when Congress says so. The President may not attack other countries on his own whim.

Big Mike said...

Oh, settle down. You're acting like Obama is a Republican.

That's a pretty flippant comment about what is, at heart, a very serious matter. We're spending upwards of $9M a day, and whether our military is actively engaged or not it is nevertheless the case that they are in harms way.

Common decency, if not the War Powers Act, should demand that Barack Obama explain why we are doing this. So far all we've heard from the Obama administration regarding Libya are various variations on "trust us."

Perhaps you and Meade trust him, Professor, but I don't.

edutcher said...

I believe the old soldier's bromide, "If they're shootin' at ya, it's a war", applies here.

Between this and Gunrunner, Little Zero suddenly has more than just the economy to worry about.

HDHouse said...

perhaps that is why GWB spoke so incoherently .....

No, Dubya was forthright on war, but it says a lot about HD.

Rialby said...

HDHouse - you're just passing through shtick sucks. Like your opinions.

He's acting just like J.

PS What clint said. A lot of people have considered his latest, "I'd rather be a one term POTUS", foray intriguing, especially if one considers Ann's empathy post yesterday. The Messiah is discomfited; even Michelle is concerned.

Erik said...

"But it isn't a matter of debate today.

Because Barack Hussein Obama has always been on record as supporting the Constitutionality of the War Powers Act and he is not now that it is unconstitutional."

Then you've completely missed the point of me pointing this out. Obama can make whatever argument he wants to make, *because no one has wanted to litigate it.* The question is why he's taken this tack. There are rhetorical options available to Obama for justifying this war in Libya. He hasn't taken them. You seem to think the answer to all these questions is clear. It's not. In the past there have been two paths possible to tread assuming one doesn't want to involve congress: ignore the WPA as unconstitutional, or curtail congressionally-unauthorized military actions. Either path is rhetorically defensible.

Obama is, as always, attempting to both hold on to the WPA, and have his own little war in Libya. It's mind-blowingly arrogant and unwise, which is basically par for the course with him.

G Joubert said...

NevadaBob, I only wish the Constitution and our history of its interpretation were as clear and unproblematic as you seem to think it is. Unfortunately, it's not. If it were so clear, we wouldn't be in this situation, would we?

It's a lot clearer than you imply. Historically, presidents DO get congressional authorization before committing troops to sustained action. Contrary to popular myth, Bush did get congressional authorization for the invasion of Afghanistan and the overall war on terror in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2002. I assume that's why NevadaBob posted those links.

Heck, even LBJ sought and got the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 for the whole Vietnam shebang, and this was pre-War Powers Act.

Where presidents historically don't get authorization is when it's like a trip to In-N-Out Burger. Examples of this are Reagan's invasion of Grenada to rescue American medical students, GHW Bush's invasion of Panama in 1989 to capture Noriega, and there are other examples. The key is the In-N-Out Burger nature of it, which correlates with the 60 days limit of the War Powers Act.

Libya is beyond 60 days and has no known end game. That's the problem with it.

The War Powers Act may or may not be unconstitutional. Could go either way. It has never been tested, and that's probably for a reason. Nobody wants to.

Boyd said...

"nevadabob said..."

Possibly the only thing more lame than multi-screen posts no one is going to wade through is multi-screen posts no one is going to read through - double posted.

All Nevada Bob, all the time. I'll come back in a couple weeks when old Bob has run out of steam.

Erik said...

"The President may not attack other countries on his own whim."

History--going way back to the beginning of our republic--seems to indicate otherwise. Which is the problem. A cursory modern reading of just the constitution might support such a simple reading, but unfortunately that's not where we're at right now. Whether we like it or not, things are *not* clear. Or at least not clear enough. Which is why a restatement is necessary.

nevadabob said...

"Obama could have gotten congressional approval. I doubt congress would have said no to him at the time this was initially unfolding. There would have been political fallout, but he would have likely gotten what he wanted."

But he chose not to, and launched the war. Our law allows that. But now, the law says he must come BACK to the Congress after 60 days to obtain authorization to CONTINUE the war.

Barack Obama does not question the constitutionality of the War Powers Act. He never has in the past, and he is not challenging it today. There is no debate about the War Powers Act because Barack Obama himself - he is a constitutional scholar you know - believes that the WPA is constitutional and has always argued that it is constitutional.

Barack Obama is now refusing to do what the law requires, and instead told the Congress a lie. He told the Congress that we are not now in "hostilities" against Libya. That is a lie. Obama is, in fact, continuing to order our servicemen and women to use our weapons to kill people in Libya.

So now ... he's acting OUTSIDE the law. Now, we must act to stop him. He had choices before about whether to go to Congress or not and he chose not to. But now, he has no choice. He MUST go to Congress or he's just an outlaw and he's making murderers of our service people.

Without the Congressional authorization for the war in Libya that the War Powers Act demands, it is immoral and dishonorable for our servicemen and women to obey the unlawful orders from their Commander in Chief to kill people abroad.

It's murder if our servicemen obey these orders knowing that the Congress has not authorized this activity.

This simply cannot be allowed to stand. Obama must now be impeached.

Erik said...

"The War Powers Act may or may not be unconstitutional. Could go either way. It has never been tested, and that's probably for a reason. Nobody wants to."

That was precisely my point. But if the Constitution, history, and jurisprudence were clear on the topic, we wouldn't have a WPA to begin with. People keep claiming that there actually is clarity on war powers in the Constitution, but reality seems to paint a different picture. I can see what the Constitution seemed to intend, but clearly that's not enough to get anyone to *actually do what it says.* My desire for an amendment is purely practical. The constitution should have been enough, but it hasn't been so far, has it?

Robert Cook said...

"And the reason that he has refused to seek authorization from the Congress to allow these killings to continue is because the Congress would not so authorize him to continue this action."

No, Congress would certainly authorize the war. Their refusal to cease funding betrays their implicit willingness to let this illegal war continue.

Obama is refusing to ask for authorization in this case for the same reason Bush did not seek Congressional authorization for his illegal wiretap program, in order to establish the principle that in such matters the President is not required to seek Congressional approval and may act unilaterally.

Glenn Greenwald has a pertinent column on this very topic today:

http://www.salon.com/news/libya/
index.html?story=/opinion/
greenwald/2011/06/18/libya

Almost Ali said...

A president can not be [legally] deemed to be in violation of powers granted to him by the constitution and/or special acts of the congress - except as outlined in articles of impeachment.

The violation and the remedy are concurrent. In other words, the congress must be willing to present formal articles of impeachment in order to demonstrate the supposed violation and its [only] remedy.

Of course, the congress may seek an indirect remedy such as denying specific funds, but in the end such a "remedy" only amounts to political fanfare, a performance of righteous indignation signifying nothing.

Fred4Pres said...

You voted for Pee Wee.

C R Krieger said...

As the Army guys are always saying, the Air Frce isn't a REAL Military Service.  Just a bunch of conscientious objectors with an interest in aviation.  And, if shot down, may they lose their boots in a high speed ejection, so there are no boots on their feet on the ground.

Regards  —  Cliff

nevadabob said...

"No, Congress would certainly authorize the war."

What war? Obama reported to the Congress that US servicemen are not involved in any hostilities in Libya.

So what war would the Congress certainly authorize?

And if they would certainly authorize it, why didn't Barack Obama just walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and go pick up the piece of paper authorizing these hostilities?

You guys can't have it both ways. You can't on the one hand claim there is no war, and then immediately on the other hand claim that sure, the Congress would approve this war if only we asked for permission.

Make up your fucking minds. There is either:

A) No war, so no need for Congressional authorization

or

B) A war in Libya that requires Congressional approval per Obama's previously argued constitutional War Powers Act.

It's either one or the other. It cannot be both.

edutcher said...

Anytime this Administration has been faced with a court decision or law it didn't like, it simply ignored it.

This is no different.

And I have to agree with Cook (twice now, God help me). Congress can cut off the money any time it wants. The Republicans have a political axe to grind and suddenly saying WP is Constitutional, etc., and Barry is in violation allows them to do it.

nevadabob said...

"Obama is refusing to ask for authorization in this case for the same reason Bush did not seek Congressional authorization for his illegal wiretap program, in order to establish the principle that in such matters the President is not required to seek Congressional approval and may act unilaterally."

So if President Romney in 2012 unilaterally commits US ground forces into Iran to destroy their ability to make nuclear war against us, then Robert Cook isn't going to have any problem with that?

President Romney can attack Iran unilaterally without Congressional approval?

Do I have this correct, Robert?

nevadabob said...

"Anytime this Administration has been faced with a court decision or law it didn't like, it simply ignored it."

You're right dude. They're a bunch of lawless criminals.

But they've overstepped our hospitality this time.

This time, we're going to the mattresses.

Barack Obama will march his ass down Pennsylvania Avenue and get permission from MY GODDAMNED representative or he will be impeached and removed from the office of the Presidency.

It's that fucking simple.

Man has forgotten who he fucking works for and so it's time to yank his choke-chain.

Erik said...

"A) No war, so no need for Congressional authorization

or

B) A war in Libya that requires Congressional approval per Obama's previously argued constitutional War Powers Act."

Well, you've put your finger on your problem. You don't seem to understand that some people believe a third option exists. If the president believes he's within his war-making power (and some certainly believe he is, in spite of the WPA), then your two options aren't the only ones. Understand now? Probably not, but one can hope.

Your argument seems to be based on the idea that Obama can't possibly be inconsistent. Given what we've seen in the last three years, I don't know how any reasonable person could expect this.

Hillbilly Geek said...

Arr, they be more like guidelines than actual rules... /Geoffrey Rush voice

flenser said...

Congress can cut off the money any time it wants.

Congress never allocated the money in the first place! How, exactly, can it "cut off" that which it never allocated?

G Joubert said...

But if the Constitution, history, and jurisprudence were clear on the topic... I can see what the Constitution seemed to intend, but clearly that's not enough to get anyone to *actually do what it says.* My desire for an amendment is purely practical. The constitution should have been enough, but it hasn't been so far, has it?

The argument can be made that the WPA codifies that gray area between Congress's power "to declare war, to raise and support Armies... to provide and maintain a Navy," and the president's Constitutional role as CINC. SCOTUS might uphold it on that basis. But, SCOTUS might say it impermissibly intereferes with the president's Constitutional role. Me, I'd rather see the WPA tested and construed before seeking an amendment. Who knows, Libya might trigger such a challenge.

nevadabob said...

"If the president believes he's within his war-making power (and some certainly believe he is, in spite of the WPA), then your two options aren't the only ones. Understand now?

But Barack Obama didn't say he believes he is within his war-making power. He never outlined that third option. Instead, he bizarrely claims there IS NO WAR.

Is the man out of his mind?

He has represented to the United States Congress that the United States is not now involved in hostilities with Libya.

That is a fucking lie.

We are in hostilities with Libya and he is continuing to order United States servicemen to use US weapons to kill people in Libya.

The president isn't claiming he has the power to make war. Instead, he's claiming that there ISN'T A WAR GOING ON.

That's bullshit. And it won't be allowed to stand.

If there's hostilities we're involved in (and there are), the the President must either:

A) Claim the War Powers Act is unconstitutional and that he is within his power to make war without Congressional approval (in which case, I'm sure President Romney will thank him when we unilaterally attack Iran without bothering to consult the Socialists), or

B) He must seek Congressional authorization

Barack Obama is not going to be allowed to lie to the Congress and claim there is not a war going on.

If he persists in doing that, he will be impeached and removed from office.

flenser said...

The violation and the remedy are concurrent. In other words, the congress must be willing to present formal articles of impeachment in order to demonstrate the supposed violation and its [only] remedy.

Based on your vast knowledge of constitutional law, explain where it is written that the only permissible remedy for a President who is violating the Constitution or the law is impeachment. I can think of a great many instances where the courts have told the executive branch that is was violating the constitution or the law. Most recently in Boumediene v. Bush.

The courts have also taken action in response to legislative branch overreach. For instance, in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha the SCOTUS slapped down Congress for trying to fill an executive role. So it's not like the courts never get involved in separation of powers squabbles.

Dad29 said...

"You only are what you believe...."

Are you saying that Justice Kennedy is a plagiarist?

nevadabob said...

"Congress never allocated the money in the first place! How, exactly, can it "cut off" that which it never allocated?"

Correct. The Congress has not passed a budget since 2009.

The purpose of the War Powers Act is to enable the Presdient of the United States to commit troops to hostilities without Congressional authorization for the spending that accompanies such an action.

It gives the president 60 days to spend as much money as he wants and commit as many troops as he wants without Congress being required to act.

He is to use this time to convince the polity that his actions are justified and in the best interests of the United States.

Barack Obama has not convinced the polity. Obama believes that the Congress would not give him the authorization to continue hostilities. And so he has bizarrely claimed to the Congress that there are no hostilities.

That is a lie.

It will not stand.

And if he persists in this lie, he will be impeached.

Robert Cook said...

"What war? Obama reported to the Congress that US servicemen are not involved in any hostilities in Libya.

"So what war would the Congress certainly authorize?"


Our war in Libya. It is a war, notwithstanding Obama's lies to the contrary.

"And if they would certainly authorize it, why didn't Barack Obama just walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and go pick up the piece of paper authorizing these hostilities?"

As I pointed out, in order to establish the principle that the President does not need Congressional approval in instances such as this, where he defines the terms as necessary to shrug off the law. It is a naked grab at enlarging the President's unilateral powers and diminishing Congressional power to check him.

Robert Cook said...

"So if President Romney in 2012 unilaterally commits US ground forces into Iran to destroy their ability to make nuclear war against us, then Robert Cook isn't going to have any problem with that?

"President Romney can attack Iran unilaterally without Congressional approval?

"Do I have this correct, Robert?"


Un, no, dude, you don't. Romney could not attack Iran unilaterally and neither do I purport that Obama can legally do the same in Libya...although he is doing so illegally.

Obama is a war criminal and mass murderer as was Bush.

nevadabob said...

"Obama is a war criminal and mass murderer ..."

Thanks, Robert. I just wanted to clarify that. For a moment there, I thought you were advancing the argument that Obama needn't be honest with Congress or even seek authorization for continued hostilities under the auspices of the War Powers Act.

You would, I assume, support the impeachment and trial of Barack Hussein Obama?

Milwaukee said...

Edutcher: This is way beyond the Republicans grinding a political ax. Way. What we are helping with in Libya is war. If a teacher doesn't hit a student, but allows other to hold a victim down and hit the student, the teacher is at fault. Our actions are complicit in the actions of the French and British. "Our" because our President is using our national resources. We all will be responsible for the consequences.

RebeccaH said...

I have no doubt that Obama would love to be in charge of an authoritarian, if not totalitarian, government, and he has done everything he can to make it so. Luckily for us, the man is a tin-eared bungler.

Robert Cook said...

"You would, I assume, support the impeachment and trial of Barack Hussein Obama?"

Yes.

cubanbob said...

edutcher said...
Anytime this Administration has been faced with a court decision or law it didn't like, it simply ignored it.

This is no different.

And I have to agree with Cook (twice now, God help me). Congress can cut off the money any time it wants. The Republicans have a political axe to grind and suddenly saying WP is Constitutional, etc., and Barry is in violation allows them to do it.

6/18/11 11:01 AM

Ed you are right. Its a scary thing when Cook makes sense. I wonder if he now takes the position the Obama is as bad as Bush. A high ranking member of congress told me personally (at a fund raiser) that had Obama come to the congress they would have given him the authorization. Now its gotten beyond that. its a matter of congressional power and executive authority in conflict. Congress is supposed to hold a vote to disallow funding for the Libyan operation.

What Obama has failed to define is what are we doing in Libya? Killing Khadaffi is fine by me, PanAn 103 alone justifies it. But after he is dead, who replaces him? We don't know but it is starting to look like it will be AQ. I can't believe Obama is so stupid to replace what has been a relatively harmless (to us) SOB in the last 8 years with the enemy we are currently fighting elsewhere. The only readily obvious thing visible is the French and British are having a last minor spasm of colonialism and we are ones enabling them to do so. Why are the Brits and French trying to get rid of Khadaffi isn't clear but what is clear they would have ceased air operations at least 30 days ago if not for our support, they don't have the logistics to continue at the current pace without the US. Obama has not articulated one reason for this operation other than some vague human rights reason which begs the question if Libya why not Syria or Iran? Obama appears to be the poodle of the French and the British for no worthwhile reason.

When congress votes to cutoff the funding, then the fun and games will begin. Every gallon of fuel, every bomb etc will have to be very carefully inventoried by the DoD to make sure they were previously authorized. Just like the Nixon Administration had to do so in Cambodia after the democrats withheld funding then. It will be interesting to see how the democrats react when the tactics they used to subvert the Vietnam war in to a defeat for the US is applied to Obama's North African Colonial Adventure.

rhhardin said...

I can think of a great many instances where the courts have told the executive branch that is was violating the constitution or the law.

The courts have even less power over the President than Congress does.

The President follows the courts when he wants; which is most of the time.

Congress can impeach and remove for any reason or no reason.

In the end, it winds up with the voters, so everything everybody does has to pass some kind of smell test.

BlameGirl said...

As a lay person Ms. Althouse you should know all about the manipulations of language. When it comes to the WPA, it sounds to me like Mr. President is within his limits. 90 days is tomorrow and we have no ground troops in the region. This is crazy that we are even comparing this to what Bush did. Bush got congressional approval with lies, is that what you prefer the current POTUS does?

TmjUtah said...

Somebody up there mentioned that the hypocrisy of Obama's actions should be what is focused on... to which I ask "why"?

He's not a democrat, really, but for the run of my adult life Communists in positions of public power get the same hall pass for hypocrisy - as well as racism and freedom from consequences for one's actions?

Something about you can't apply a moral judgement to an amoral person/political philosophy or some such.

I don't pay attention to the people any more. I just vote philosophies and hope the Republicans will someday run some Conservatives.

Shouting Thomas said...

This is all irrelevant. The president is a Democrat and he is black.

That means that every last one of you white robed, Jim Crow loving, knuckle dragging rednecks is a racist.

Milwaukee said...

Robert Cook: I'm glad you agree that President Obama is behaving as a war criminal. Isn't there also some problem where the United States is exceeding whatever permission was given by the U.N.?

Whether or not President Bush was is another thread. Try to focus on the matter at hand, and not history. "Bush is a War Criminal" was something we read on signs by lunatic leftist protesters. Seems he had Congressional authorization, which is clearly lacking here.

Should this Congress de-fund the Libyan war effort, I would expect this President to shuffle money from another account. That tactic won't work because Barack Hussein Obama doesn't believe the laws apply to him.

You did see the video of the New York commuter who informed the conductor that she had attended Harvard and Yale and piddly rules didn't apply to her.

Robert Cook said...

"Its a scary thing when Cook makes sense. I wonder if he now takes the position the Obama is as bad as Bush."

Yes.

Roger J. said...

Have to agree with edutcher--I enjoy Mr Cooks commentary because of his consistency--not his politics, mind you but his consistency--much appreciated.

And yes, Congress can end this tomorrow except the WPA permits both the executive and congress to play silly games. I note that the presidential/congress golf game is ongoing today (yeah and they are wearing shorts)


Congress' unwillingness to act only diminishes its authority--Today its mr obama--what happens when we get a really evil president instead of just a hack, clulesss jugeared asshole.

Roger J. said...

Sad to say I would rather have biden as president than the incumbent (at least for the next 18 months--would do wonders for the onion's circulation.

Robert Cook said...

"Seems (Bush) had Congressional authorization, which is clearly lacking here."

He didn't get UN Security Council approval, which is required under the UN Charter, of which we are signatories.

Thus, our war in Iraq was, legally, and of course, in blunt fact, a naked war of aggression against a nation that was no threat to us and had not threatened us, a war fabricated on lies. Our invasion of Iraq was no less criminal than was Hitler's invasion of Poland.

But yes, Bush's crimes are part of history, and we must focus on Obama's crimes. That Obama did not launch investigations of the Bush administration for war crimes, however, makes the likelihood that this present administration will ever be called to account for its crimes virtually impossible to expect.

Roger J. said...

As I noted Mr Cook--dont particularly care for you politics but you are nothing if not consistent

Robert Cook said...

Thank you, Roger, your disagreement with my politics notwithstanding.

Skookum John said...

if he does, as chairman of the foreign relations committee and former chair of the judiciary committee, I will move to impeach him.

The Senate has no power to impeach. It can only hold a trial on articles of impeachment that originate in the House. If Sarah Palin had said this, it would have made headlines. But for the Left, this is just old Joe being himself.

cubanbob said...

BlameGirl said...
As a lay person Ms. Althouse you should know all about the manipulations of language. When it comes to the WPA, it sounds to me like Mr. President is within his limits. 90 days is tomorrow and we have no ground troops in the region. This is crazy that we are even comparing this to what Bush did. Bush got congressional approval with lies, is that what you prefer the current POTUS does?

6/18/11 11:50 AM

So you prefer Obama's truthiness to Bush's lies?

At least Cook has the decency to be intellectually consistent. You remind me of the feminist who stated at the time they would gladly get on their knees and felate Bill Clinton for his support of woman's rights.

Roger J. said...

You are more than welcome, Mr Cook--politics are disagreements with what ought to be and thats why we have a republican form of government--a person who stands by his convinctions, however, is always a valuable asset in public discourse.

Have a good day, Mr Cook--I enjoy your commentary on this blog.

garage mahal said...

So we're all consistent like Cook and in agreement Bush is a war criminal like Obama?

Milwaukee said...

Garage: No.

garage mahal said...

LOL

Roger J. said...

Garage: perhaps I missed it, but Mr Cooks point (that I disagree with that Mr Bush should have sought UN Approval--thats an arguable proposition) In fact, Mr Bush sought and obtained a congressional authorization to use military force in Iraq. Where is Mr Obama's authorization to use military force in Iraq.

Thats a bit nuanced for you I suppose.

Roger J. said...

Sorry--Mr Obama's AUMF in Libyia not Iraq

cubanbob said...

Robert Cook said...
"Seems (Bush) had Congressional authorization, which is clearly lacking here."

He didn't get UN Security Council approval, which is required under the UN Charter, of which we are signatories.

Thus, our war in Iraq was, legally, and of course, in blunt fact, a naked war of aggression against a nation that was no threat to us and had not threatened us, a war fabricated on lies. Our invasion of Iraq was no less criminal than was Hitler's invasion of Poland.

But yes, Bush's crimes are part of history, and we must focus on Obama's crimes. That Obama did not launch investigations of the Bush administration for war crimes, however, makes the likelihood that this present administration will ever be called to account for its crimes virtually impossible to expect.

6/18/11 12:06 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_Resolution_1441

Bush had congressional authorization, the UN Treaty doesn't subordinate the US constitution to the UN but Bush did have a UN authorization of a sort which is far more than Obama has gotten from both the UN and the US Congress.

Cedarford said...

Every President, and their Solicitor and AG, have argued that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional - for 40 years.

Yet both parties don't want the dispute between Congress and the Executive resolved because "That Would Trigger a Constitutional Crisis on the intent of the Sacred Parchment!"

Well, what is worse, mobs of lawyers in the Imperial City screaming about a paperwork crisis or 40 more years of distracting debate on every other US involvement overseas? With the same 40 year old pro and con arguments for the two Branches backers endlessly regurgitated??

Roger J. said...

C4--and as I suspect you and I both know, the SCOTUS would not touch this--they would term in a political, not a legal issue.

Thus the congress and the president can continue to posture and bullshit.--It is a great show if it didnt involve the lives of US servicemen and women.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J. said...
Sorry--Mr Obama's AUMF in Libyia not Iraq


Actually Roger, one could make your original point. If the Left says that Only a UN Resolution rather than the Congressional Resolution (AUMF) is sufficent to go some where and kill the Nation's enemies, then:

1. Why hasn't O'bama gotten a UN Resolution for Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya (we got one for a no-fly zone, not for regime change which is what NATO says it is doing now)

2. What bothers many of us is that O'bama seems to think that the UN is the "Controlling Legal Authority" rather than either the Constitution or the Laws of the US.

3. Kinetic action aside, if we're paying combat pay and there is a possibility of Casualty Notification Officers ringing door bells, the President should m ake his case to both Congress and the People...

traditionalguy said...

A law blog is where the real connoisseurs of lying backing a pretense of authority gather. In a trial there is the Plaintiff's story, there is the defendant's story, and there is what really happened. Nobody tells what really happened since it is hard to prove because the Jury already has a world view that the Plaintiff and the Defendant both try to win over to their story's side. Neither lawyer has time to educate a Jury into a new world view. King Obama has mastered this skill. Who can the GOP find to tell a story that will beat his stories? Palin-Romney- Bachmann-Cain???

David R. Graham said...

"The key is the In-N-Out Burger nature of it, which correlates with the 60 days limit of the War Powers Act."

Roger that. This is not, really, a legal issue, it is a common-sense/common-courtesy human and American-form-of-government issue. You want to use your C-i-C power to do something of a reasonable, limited nature, do it. You want to make an open-ended or constant-goal-changing operation involving combined US arms, get advice and consent of your funder.

It becomes a legal issue because that's one method we have to operate as best we can in our mutually less-than-omniscient or omnipotent condition. Law is one of the cultural forms we have to try to find our way through circumstances that are never entirely known but which always have an order to them, even when unseen.

So use the law in the hubbub of life for the good it can do. But whatever issue it is under examination, it is not, really, a legal issue. It is a human and more precisely a personal issue, involving persons, people, who are walking, talking, making bundles of indivisibility. That's what's going on always and everywhere.

The objection to this cat in the White House is that he has not regard for people, including his "friends."

I think he has finally met Nemesis. And significantly, Her apotheosis is by the core of his offense: disrespect for people showing up in ethical terms as insult to intelligence and in legal terms as insult to a co-equal branch of government (i.e., insouciance regarding the Constitution).

None of this is, in the first instance, legal, constitutional, moral, whatever. It is personal, first, last and always. Impeachment, indictment -- these are legal formulations of personal reproaches to person-hurting persons.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"...the UN Treaty doesn't subordinate the US constitution to the UN..."

It makes the requirements of the UN Charter the law of the land, as all treaties are. It does not "subordinate" the Constitution to the UN, it means we are constitutionally required to abide by these obligations as we are to all treaty obligations.

When we violate any treaty obligation, we violate the law of the land.

Mitigating conflicts and wars between nations was the primary founding purpose of the United Nations, following the devastation wrought by WWII. Our legal obligations to the UN Charter requirements are thus not some insignificant technicality.

If one argues we may invade or attack any nation we wish simply because our own government ratifies such actions, we have no basis to condemn other nations for their (no doubt self-justified) aggression against others.

Roger J. said...

Drill--thanks for your post--we are two old soldiers who have been involved in what the pentagon now calls "kinetic actions." Tell that the troopers I lost in Vietnam. They are dead and inscribed on the wall. Kinetic action my ass.

And thank you for your comment on notification officer duty--you know when you pull up in a staff car in uniform, it is not going down well--the hardest part of my 25 years in the army

Jay said...

George Orwell warned that the perversion of language is the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism.

Which is why "progressives" have been redefining words since 1968...

SunnyJ said...

...and if you think the same man that micro manages the Libyan kinetics, outside legal counsel advice, isn't also managing the health care waivers and the guns to Mexico fiasco...you are dreaming. He seems disconnected because he is. Michelle tells us he has a memory like a steel trap. Well, so do the American people and we'll be remembering the phony campaign promises, lies and distortions, and outright manipulation when next we vote. Voter registration for ATM's is ongoing...you're going down buddy.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J. said...
And thank you for your comment on notification officer duty--you know when you pull up in a staff car in uniform, it is not going down well--the hardest part of my 25 years in the army


I never was involved in a wartime notification. I got the opportunity to go along with my mentor when he had the duty. the troops were slaving an M60 with dead batteries. front slope to front slope. somehow one of the tanks moved and cut the troop in half. (never ever stand between the tanks :( The Notification Team was my LTC, his CSM, the CSM's wife, a Doc (widow was pregnant), a Chaplain, and a AG weenie from Div. I got to drive one car, because my mentor thought it would teach me something. I wish I hadn't seen that lesson....I guess the only good news was unlike today, nobody had a cell phome thus she was surprised.

Browndog said...

I can't blame him-

Who would you listen to?

Laws, lawyers, and the Consitution

or..

Valerie Jarret.

One is try to tell you what you can't do, the other reminding him he's the President of the United States and yields to no one..."just trying to put a black man back on the plantation"....

Steven said...

I see people in this thread mentioning Yemen. The use of force in Yemen is completely legal, because Yemen is full of Al Qaeda. Under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, all the President has to do is point out, "Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, and Al Qaeda is in Yemen", and he can use "all necessary and appropriate force" against Al Qaeda on Yemen and anybody harboring Al Qaeda in Yemen. Complete with War Powers Resolution authorization.

Libya, on the other hand, is blatantly illegal.

---------

As far as Mr. Cook's UN Charter argument on Iraq goes:

Under traditional understandings of international law, a treaty provision that goes generally disregarded ceases to have binding force. There is arguably no treaty provision that has ever been more thoroughly disregarded than that portion of the UN Charter (well over a hundred times since the Charter was adopted), and so the provision is not binding as a matter of international law. It may be strongly wished otherwise by various persons and bodies, but their wishes are not law.

Now, under domestic US law, a treaty's provisions are indeed domestic law even if not binding international law, but established precedent is that it is no more law than any statute. Accordingly, the enactment of AUMF Iraq (2002) was sufficient to make the Iraq War legal under domestic law.

nevadabob said...

"90 days is tomorrow and we have no ground troops in the region."

Huh? First, there are US ground troops in Libya right now killing people. Secondly, you clearly haven't read the War Powers Act.

President Obama had 60 days to seek authorization for continuing hostilities against the Libyan people he has ordered our military to kill.

The 60 day deadline was May 15. Over a month ago. He neither sought, nor received, authorization to continue hostilities ... and yet, he continued hostilities up to and including today in utter and willful violation of the War Powers Act.

The War Powers Act says nothing about "ground troops" and you know it. It says that the President had 60 days to seek authorization, and failing to get it, he had 30 days to cease hostilities.

He neither sought authorization, nor has ceased hostilities. He is now claiming there are no hostilities, but there is substantial evidence that US troops are continuing to use US weapons to kill people in Libya.

Barack Obama is a war criminal.

Someone call the Capitol Police and let's get this guy handcuffed and into the clink where he fucking belongs.

Erik said...

"The argument can be made that the WPA codifies that gray area between Congress's power..."

In the end, questions over separations of power probably won't be solved by legislation. Litigation is going to be messy. It might be necessary to go through that process, I just have doubts that it's going to make a difference one way or the other.

Cook: "When we violate any treaty obligation, we violate the law of the land."

And when the treaty conflicts with US law, as it does when it comes to the procedure for going to war, the Constitution is trump. You may not like it, but ... there it is.

Congress cannot override the Constitution simply by adopting a treaty as you seem to suggest that it can. Supremacy is supremacy.

nevadabob said...

Every President, and their Solicitor and AG, have argued that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional - for 40 years.

This is false. Every president UP TO THIS ONE ... had in the past argued that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional.

But this president has never made such an argument and is not today making that argument.

Barack Obama believes that the War Powers Act is constitutional.

Nevertheless, merely believing that it is unconstitutional (theoretically) does not then relieve the President of the responsibility to follow the law. No court has ruled that the WPA is unconstitutional ... and so it remains the law of the land.

If Mr. Obama truly feels that the WPA is unconstitutional, then what he can do is to sue the Congress in federal district court and have that question settled. What he cannot legally do is ignore the fucking law.

But that's beside the point. Barack Obama has never claimed that the WPA is unconstitutional and he is today not making that claim. The claim he is making today is the United States is not participating in hostilities against Libya. And that is patently, and on its face, a bald-faced lie.

That is why today the Washington Post urged Mr. Obama to follow the law and belatedly seek Congressional authorization for his illegal war of choice against brown people.

Democrats are now faced with a rogue President willfully breaking the law and ordering US military personnel to murder people.

I suspect that if it were a Republican president doing this they'd have something to day about that, and so the question we should be asking is what do Democrats propose we do about this rogue President?

Erik said...

"If Mr. Obama truly feels that the WPA is unconstitutional, then what he can do is to sue the Congress in federal district court and have that question settled. What he cannot legally do is ignore the fucking law...."

Actually, the President could simply say, "It's unconstitutional" and ignore it. Which is what most presidents have suggested they would do, if they needed to. Congress is perfectly capable of punishing the president for doing so, if they wanted. But that's the point: no one wants to. Just like judicial review, there are implied powers of review in the Executive branch. It's not up to the President to get rulings from a second branch on laws before he acts if the powers are--as Obama seems to believe--inherent to the office.

Congress doesn't consult the Supreme Court on every law before it acts either. And their opinions on constitutionality obviously differ quite a bit.

Obama is not, however, making that argument. He's making a far weaker argument using semantics. Which is why he looks so damned foolish. It's an executive power grab, no doubt, but it's not one without precedent. It's wrong and unwise, but stopping him requires Congressional backbone. In other words, it's unlikely to happen. Not impossible, just unlikely.

Browndog said...

DougRoss@Journal has a list-

Yes, he's historic, alright.

• First President to Violate the War Powers Act

• First President to Orchestrate the Sale of Murder Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels

• First President to be Held in Contempt of Court for Illegally Obstructing Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

• First President to Defy a Federal Judge's Court Order to Cease Implementing the 'Health Care Reform' Law

• First President to Require All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party

• First President to Spend a Trillion Dollars on 'Shovel-Ready' Jobs -- and Later Admit There Was No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Jobs

• First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters

• First President to Demand a Company Hand Over $20 Billion to One of His Political Appointees

• First President to Encourage Racial Discrimination and Intimidation at Polling Places

• First President to Arbitrarily Declare an Existing Law Unconstitutional and Refuse to Enforce It

• First President to Threaten Insurance Companies if they Publicly Speak out on the Reasons for their Rate Increases

• First President to Tell a Major Manufacturing Company In Which State They Are Allowed to Locate a Factory

• First President to Withdraw an Existing Coal Permit That Had Been Properly Issued Years Ago

• First President to Fire an Inspector General of Americorps for Catching One of His Friends in a Corruption Case

• First President to Propose an Executive Order Demanding Companies Disclose Their Political Contributions to Bid on Government Contracts

• First President to Golf 73 Separate Times in His First Two-and-a-Half Years in Office

Gee, I can't hink of anything to add....can you?

nevadabob said...

"Actually, the President could simply say, "It's unconstitutional" and ignore it."

That's an interesting position. I wonder, could he do this with any law?

COuld he just pronounce any law he likes as unconstitutional and then refuse to follow it.

For example, could President Obama refuse to give up his office by saying that would be unconstitutional and just refuse to leave the White House when his term of office expires? And use the armed agents of the Service and United States Marines to kill anyone who tried to remove him from that place?

nevadabob said...

Garage you've bee pretty quiet. He's your president.

Is Barack Obama a war criminal? Speak up man, we can't hear you.

Roger J. said...

drill--sad story--but it was worth sharing--I dont think anyone that wasnt in the army can understand band of brothers

we fought for our brothers--pretty basic

we need to get together for a drink (or three) sometime

cheers

roger

yashu said...

- First President to demand that Israel return to its 1967 borders

- First President to receive a Nobel Prize at the start of his term, before doing anything

- First President to make a presidential campaign speech addressed to Germans in Berlin

This is a fun game

Robert Cook said...

"And when the treaty conflicts with US law, as it does when it comes to the procedure for going to war, the Constitution is trump. You may not like it, but ... there it is.

"Congress cannot override the Constitution simply by adopting a treaty as you seem to suggest that it can. Supremacy is supremacy."


Our UN Charter obligations do not conflict with US Law...they are part of US Law. These obligations do not remove the President's requirement to obtain Congressional approval to mount a war against another nation, it just means we must also obtain approval by the UN Security Council. We are prohibited even from threatening war against other nations. (These charter obligations apply to all member nations of the UN.)

To those who might argue that we have a right to defend ourselves, you're right; under the charter, we may engage in war without Security Countil approval in order to defend ourselves if we have been or are about to be attacked by an aggressor nation.

Of course, in the case of our unprovoked attack on and invasion of Iraq, these conditions did not exist.

Robin said...

HDHouse gives us this: "perhaps that is why GWB spoke so incoherently ....."

Oddly, I can't recall GWB ever being as incoherent as the comment above.

Erik said...

"That's an interesting position. I wonder, could he do this with any law?"

It was a law specifically designed to limit presidential powers. So no, NevadaBob, it does not mean he can ignore just any law. But it does mean since it was a Congressional attempt at limiting presidential powers that the ball is in their court, not his. If they want to enforce the limit, it is *they* that need to go to the mattresses. It's a game of chicken, you see, as the founders intended.

It's not an interesting position at all. It's basic to an understanding of the Constitution.

"Our UN Charter obligations do not conflict with US Law...they are part of US Law."

The Iraq war fulfilled legal requirements for going to war based on US law. Under the Constitution, the US government is not obligated to get foreign approval for such actions, treaty or no. Treaties are binding only so far as they do not violate the law, and adding extra limits to the power to wage war is not something Congress can merely agree to in a treaty. The powers are defined by the Constitution and unreachable by ordinary statute or, yes, a treaty. Which is why the WPA is probably unconstitutional.

Of course, this is a good example of why international bodies like the UN are completely impotent and, generally, worthless.

If you believe what you say, you'd put not only President Bush on trial, but every person who voted in favor of the AUMF. Correct? You'll probably say "yes," but I'll never believe it's anything but a rhetorical yes, not a yes in reality.

Browndog said...

-First President to give a shout out to atheists in his Inaugural Address

-First President to proclaim America as a "muslim nation"..also in the Inaugural Address

-First President to give his first interview as President to a foreign media

-First President to blow off "Salute to Hero's" Inaugural Ball

Right out of the gate....

nevadabob said...

* First President to launch his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist bomber

nevadabob said...

* First president to release terrorists back into the theater of operations

* First president to negotiate with terrorist groups (Taliban, Hamas)

nevadabob said...

"So no, NevadaBob, it does not mean he can ignore just any law. But it does mean since it was a Congressional attempt at limiting presidential powers that the ball is in their court, not his. If they want to enforce the limit, it is *they* that need to go to the mattresses."

I agree with this. The Congress must impeach this lawless president so that future presidents are unlikely to advance the argument that they are above our laws.

nevadabob said...

"Of course, in the case of our unprovoked attack on and invasion of Iraq, these conditions did not exist."

Not true.

Saddam Hussein was routinely ordering his military to fire missiles at aircraft of the United States which were implementing UN Security Council Resolution 668 - the no-fly zone in Southern Iraq to protect its Kurdish minority.

So, we were well within our rights to defend ourselves against these attacks and were doing so in furtherance of the UN Security Council Resolution authorizing our presence there.

Almost Ali said...

flenser said...
...I can think of a great many instances where the courts have told the executive branch that is was violating the constitution or the law. Most recently in Boumediene v. Bush

Good. May we apply Boumediene to the president's prerogative concerning the War Powers Act?

Of course there are plenty of laws, but precious few remedies when the violations reach such an ambitious magnitude. This is to say there is no law, only guidelines followed by great debates of intellectual enterprise. And other related gobbledygook.

SDN said...

flenser, you need a little basic knowledge of American history. During the first Civil War, Lincoln refused habeas corpus. The Supreme Court said, "Abe, that's unconstitutional." Abe replied, "Impeach me." The Congress said, "No, we won't impeach." And the Supreme Court was ignored for the rest of the conflict.

Bottom line, if 1/3+1 of the Senate won't confirm impeachment, and the military won't defend the Constitution, O! can do whatever he pleases.

SDN said...

Not to mention, nevadabob, that the First Gulf War had not officially ended. There was a truce but not a peace treaty.

Hagar said...

Ceasefire, not truce, nor armistice.

nevadabob said...

"... If 1/3+1 of the Senate won't confirm impeachment, and the military won't defend the Constitution, O! can do whatever he pleases."

John Wilkes Booth would beg to differ with you sir.

nevadabob said...

"Not to mention, nevadabob, that the First Gulf War had not officially ended. There was a truce but not a peace treaty."

Correct.

The problem with debating leftists is that they refuse to do their homework and so we have to waste a lot of time giving them the history education they didn't get from their liberal Democrat teachers.

Robert Cook said...

"Saddam Hussein was routinely ordering his military to fire missiles at aircraft of the United States...."

...flying over Iraqi airspace.

Hussein was not attacking our country and he never threatened to do so or had the capacity to do so. There was no exigent need to invade or declare war against Iraq as a "defense" (sic) against missiles fired at our aircraft...or we would have done so at the time.

This doesn't fly as a justification for our invasion of Iraq...not even close.

Robert Cook said...

"If you believe what you say, you'd put not only President Bush on trial, but every person who voted in favor of the AUMF. Correct?"

Actually, yes.

nevadabob said...

"This doesn't fly as a justification for our invasion of Iraq...not even close."

That's your opinion, and you're free to be wrong on that. We disagree.

However the fact of the matter - and something that is not debatable because it is a fact - is that the U.S. Congress and the U.N. Security Council authorized our military to invade Iraq in 1991. The UN Security Council also authorized the no-fly zones and Saddam Hussein violated a negotiated ceasefire when he fired on our aircraft in that no-fly zone.

We had, by your definition, every right to defend ourselves in those circumstances and not be outside your stated claim that we needed Security Council approval for our actions.

You may now claim that Saddam Hussein didn't do enough to warrant us defending ourselves. But that claim fails the straight face test.

That's ancient history, however. Today we're faced with a rogue Hussein of our own, who believes he can murder people with our military resources and defy our laws doing it.

The Congress must stop him and if he refuses to desist must impeach and try him for his crimes.

GMay said...

Robert Cook said:

"This doesn't fly as a justification for our invasion of Iraq...not even close."

No, but there were numerous Chapter VII UN resolutions (the enforceable by force kind) that Hussein violated. Go read the 15 (or was it 17?) resolutions sometime. You'll find plenty of language in those UNSC resolutions that justify force.

They're easily found at www.un.org (start at 660 I think, you shouldn't have a hard time finding them as they're clearly labeled), but it might get in the way of your argument.

GMay said...

Shit, reading the thread from the bottom up, I got to this part second:

"Our UN Charter obligations do not conflict with US Law...they are part of US Law."

Are you able to explain how our UN obligations are part of US law? This should be good.

I notice you ignored this issue when Erik called you out on it, but please give it a shot.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, wherever Q-Daffy is, he's winning. The "rebels" say they've run out of money.

And, NATO just struck a whole array of rebel tanks. To save the children.

No one is responsible.

It's like a movie.

Next? Take two.

There's a whole lot of countries in that area I don't give a rat's patootie about.

Libya, when this is over, will prove Q-Daffy was right to over-stock on munitions.

While Libya hasn't changed much. Wasn't a tourist attraction to begin.

As to the saud's ... they're the biggest stinkers. And, from the looks of things, this time, America ain't actually pulling their behinds out of this conflagration.

Carol_Herman said...

We can't put in ground troops. American soldiers are like Israelis to those freaks. They'd fire at will.

So, NATO works around reality.

While this started because sarkozy went nuts. Merkel, who was going to protect germany from greek debt onslaught ... spent two hours with sarkozy ... and came out a limp rag.

Up ahead? Well, perhaps next week Merkel will be kicked out of her parliament with a "no confidence" vote?

Should be an interesting summer.

Always wise when Americans learn NOT to respond to belligerence.

Obama did. And, canceled his his popularity. Today? He's about 10-points ahead of Dubya, when Dubya left office. Obama's at 39%. Dubya was at 31%.

Even in a plurality ... where we get an Independent running in all 50 states, the best Obama can do is come in 2nd.

The stupid party can come in 3rd. If elections were to be held, t'marra.

Robert Cook said...

"The UN Security Council also authorized the no-fly zones...."

This is in dispute:

(from Wikipedia)

"In 1991, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey and other states intervened in Kurdish-Iraqi dispute in northern Iraq by establishing a no-fly zone in which Iraqi aircraft were prevented from flying. The intent of the no-fly zone was to prevent possible bombing and chemical attacks against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime. The initial operations were dubbed Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Provide Comfort II and were followed by Operation Northern Watch. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorising the operations, the resolution contains no explicit authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time the resolution was passed, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones "illegal" in a February 2003 interview with John Pilger." (emphasis added)

Robert Cook said...

"Are you able to explain how our UN obligations are part of US law?"

Under the Constitution, treaties we enter into become the law of the land.

Penny said...

Here's what I notice.

Whether I agree or disagree with what my President is doing, whatever he is doing is outside the realm of left/right politics, and at a time when Republican presidential candidates are lining up against him in mass.

Not only is he making himself an easy mark for those "hopefuls", he has given congressmen on both sides of the aisle an "out" in their upcoming elections. Polls clearly say that the majority of Americans do not want any more money spent on foreign wars, or foreign engagement, or kinetic anything, when that means their family may need to go with less.

Democratic lawmakers are deserting Obama for one reason. They wouldn't leave their "man"...unless it meant they might lose their own reelection.

Republicans, who can usually be counted on to support military engagement, are what? Looking for ways to hamstring the president? Hell no. It's just more important for them to be poll-watchers, and get re-elected.

President Obama is leading, and without concern for his own re-election.

Quite like Governor Walker of Wisconsin, and Governor Christie of New Jersey.

G Joubert said...

This is crazy that we are even comparing this to what Bush did. Bush got congressional approval with lies, is that what you prefer the current POTUS does?

What truth did Bush have access to let alone knowledge of that Congressional Democrats did not? Being honest is just so tedious, isn't it?

AllenS said...

-First President to inform the citizens that there are 57 states.

nevadabob said...

"President Obama is leading, and without concern for the law."

FIFY

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