Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Dubious Battle

There’s a war in Libya and we’re in it. Obama Administration officials don’t want to call it a war and they don’t want to call it a battle either. They prefer to call it a “kinetic military action.” President Obama ordered our military to protect civilians in Libya who were being killed by Colonel Kaddafi as he tries to wipe out rebels there who want to overthrow him. It’s much more complicated than that though, as wars always are. We’re taking the side of the rebels in a civil war. They’re going to benefit as we restrict Kaddafi’s forces, but who are these rebels we’re helping? If and when they take over Libya, will they be better than Kaddafi? Let’s hope. Might they be worse? Evidence exists that they could be worse, both for Libya and for us. We don’t know, and that’s the problem with what President Obama is doing.

Does our president have a long-term policy in the Middle East or is he just reacting to events as they occur? Is he operating under the auspices of the United Nations? NATO? Is the United States leading this operation or following? Who is with us and who is against us? None of that is clear. If we’re protecting civilians from a dictator, why are we doing that in Libya and not Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain, or Iran in which civilians are suffering fully as much as they are in Libya?

Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, advised him that Libya was not a threat to America and we had no strategic interests there. Several weeks ago, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, advised him that we needed to establish a “no-fly zone” in the country as soon as possible and so did Senator John Kerry but Obama did nothing for two weeks. He claims to have been a professor of Constitutional law, but then he acted without consulting Congress, which is constitutionally dubious and which prompted Ohio Democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich to call for his impeachment.

We have a commander-in-chief who can read a speech from a teleprompter very well. While campaigning, he can appear confident and smart to voters, 52% of whom elected him. Reading from a teleprompter isn’t enough anymore, but it’s increasingly evident that he isn’t good at much of anything else. He’s president now though, and he has to make tough decisions. He can’t just vote “present” the way he was accustomed to in the Illinois legislature, but he’s avoiding decisions until he’s absolutely forced to make them - and Libya is the result.

Is there some other way to make sense of all this? It looks to me like Obama epitomizes the worst of the liberal baby-boomer world view. He’s a reflection of the people who elected him. Baby boomers blame their parents for the evils of the world; Obama blames George Bush. He believes the world would be a better place if it were not for capitalism and US foreign policy. Rather than believing that America is an exceptional country in the history of the world, he sees America as a problem. He’s a utopian who thinks people around the world would get along fine if they weren’t “exploited.” The world would be all smiling happy people holding hands if it weren’t for US imperialism.

Obama admires a Europe which has spent two generations apologizing and flailing itself for colonizing Africa and Asia and then expanding socialist welfare programs for everyone, including illegal immigrants. Now it looks like he’s earnestly trying to copy those policies here in the United States. That both Europe and America are going bankrupt as a result seems not to bother him.

As for dealing with the Middle East, President Obama’s actions so far indicate that his plan has been to make nice speeches in Muslim countries apologizing for American “arrogance” and all will be well there, but it isn’t working. They’re burning him in effigy just as they did George Bush. That the rebel commander we’re helping in Libya fought against the United States in Afghanistan, that he recruits al Qaida terrorists to his side doesn’t seem to trouble our president. That they’re murdering black immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa doesn’t trouble him either.Rebel Commander Abdel-Hakim Al-Hasidi from Daily Telegraph UK

Until last week when he intervened, Arab Muslim terrorists were killing each other in Libya and we didn’t have to do anything but watch. What could be better than that? Why mess that up? I just don’t understand the rationale and neither, it seems, does our president. I listened to his speech Monday night, but came away still not understanding why we’re going further into debt and further committing our already overstretched military to install a government in Libya that shows all signs of being worse than terrorist, transvestite, mentally-disturbed Colonel Kaddafi.

If our commander-in-chief is going to commit our soldiers anywhere, he has to know what the goal is, then use maximum force to achieve it as quickly as possible. Or, don’t go in at all.

Labels: , , , ,

30 Comments:

Anonymous Irregardless NH said...

Gee...I don't recall Tom's outrage when The Decider barrelled into Iraq.

And, let's not forget that it was under George W. Bush that sanctions against el-Qadaffi were lifted.

That being said, however, I am 100% opposed to this deplorable, naked 'regime change' in Libya. What's the point? What's the endgame? Why no Congressional consultation? Congressman Kucinich is right on point.

President Obama is proving himself (once again) the inheritor of the mindset [sic] of our last ruler...how bitterly disappointing for anyone who'd thought otherwise.

3/30/11, 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine President Biden, when you stop sweating just hope it wont happen. Did I just hear some big sighs and sense a little panic.
Yes, Mr Bush is to blame for many of our ills, but then so are pretty much all of his and Mr Obama's predecessors. All this did not just pop out of nowhere when Mr Obama was elected. We mostly need to survive the next 22 or so months and hope we can make a wiser choice in 2012. I would pretty much prefer to see an old fashioned hard liner, whatever the line, than this opportunist who only got elected because he was a 'black' man and the liberals had to control their orgasms by voting for him. Would they have voted for a white man with the same qualifications, not likely.

I still haven't learned to love you Tom but you do make sense often enough for me to come back.

3/30/11, 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should now be completely obvious that the President of the US is nothing more than a puppet controlled by the same people. Obama? Bush? What's the difference?
Yes, Obama is clearly in breach of the constitution! Amazing and very insulting considering he is a constitutional scholar. Impeach him? Why bother? "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

You do a great job of pointing out the major flaws in this latest military action. Especially as they relate to Obama. It is clearly unconstitutional and no, the UN does not trump our constitution.
But, then you regress into the old blame game----liberal this, leftist that---c'mon, it's time to realize there is no difference, the ideas of left and right only serve to divide us when we should be coming together. Has it ever been more crucial to get over ourselves and admit the beliefs we've held for so long simply are NOT true.Swallow some pride so we can get rid of people like Obama, Bush, and the rest of the corporate puppets.

You do well to point out the un-constitutionality of Obama's actions. How about getting familiar with the federalist papers. As James Madison states in #10, there is nothing more detrimental to this country as the idea of factions and political parties. Yet, we continue to blame "them" all the time...

"Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority."
James Madison
Federalist Papers #10

3/30/11, 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

The last anon makes many good points. Tom is so incredibly caught up in his "liberal vs. conservative" battles that little else matters to him. His only goal sees to be to belittle and mock liberals, even at the expense of making himself look like a buffoon who must resort to twisting the truth to fit his views.

How can he expect to be taken seriously when all he can do is repeat tired old factles claims about Obama not thinking the US is exceptional, etc, etc, blah blah blah....Tom has no idea how moronic he appears! And resorting to the old teleprompter bit?!?

lol....really, Tom?

I would like a decent debate, but first I have to hear something, anything, of substance and original thought.

Take Irregardless NH. He has the guts and the self-respect to admit that Obama is not perfect. That is to be respected. Tom, meanwhile, is a cartoonish caricature of a conservative....pull his string and he will blurt out insults and right wing rhetoric over and over and over with no thought.

But I guess if that is the SOP of some of his political idols, like Palin, what can we expect from the flock?

3/30/11, 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...this opportunist who only got elected because he was a 'black' man"

If Obama was 'white' he would have received about 80% of the vote.

As it is the right wingers had to control their rage when a darkie was allowed in the white house.

3/30/11, 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Al Qaeda is being run by the Pentagon.

Funny, now Al Qeda is "helping" the libyan "rebels" and is being painted as good by the press.

Unbelievable.

3/30/11, 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Richard M. said...

"I don't recall Tom's outrage when The Decider barrelled into Iraq."

Of course not. We all know that Tom doesn't care WHAT happens he only cares about WHO does it, his "side" or the "other side". Get a load of one of Tom's role models:


Newt Gingrich on March 7

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya?

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him. I mean, the idea that we're confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is. They were very quick to jump on Mubarak, who was their ally for 30 years, and they were confused about getting rid of Gadhafi. This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with. The United States doesn't need anybody's permission. We don't need to have NATO, who frankly, won't bring much to the fight. We don't need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we're INTERVENING.

Now here he is 16 days later:

March 23
GINGRICH:. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with.


WOW! Gotta admire that, huh Tom? Words, truth, self dignity, these things mean NOTHING to some people. Absolutely shameless. Looks like Tom has found a candidate to vote for!!!!

3/31/11, 11:59 AM  
Blogger Tucker said...

I agree with Mr. McLaughlin. We have no idea who these rebels are. For those of you that continue to blame Bush please get a grip on reality. George Bush has nothing to do with the current events in Libya. The fact that you continue to blame him, in my mind, tells me that you are already looking for an excuse when president Obama's foreign policy fails. You can't admit that you are disappointed with his inaction.

3/31/11, 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

I urge you to watch the following.





http://www.infowars.com/al-qaeda-100-pentagon-run/

3/31/11, 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker, who blamed Bush for Libya???

3/31/11, 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker, is Obama's "inaction" the very action that Tom is complaining about?

3/31/11, 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mayber Tucker is complaining about the same inaction that Gingrich complained about before he started complaining about the action!

lol

3/31/11, 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Response to Brians comment:

The thing I love about the Tea Party is that they recognize and admit openly that there is rampant corruption in both parties, and that if we don't do any thing about it we as a country will cease to exist as we know it! So, Let us, as a grass roots organization start to root out the corruption in our own back yard, Democrat and Republican. The fat cat Republicans have been Rocked and the extreme liberal Democrats have been exposed and will continue to be exposed. What I love about Palin is that the First thing she did upon entering her office as Governor was to set straight the fat cat "Republicans". Imagine that, taking care of her own back yard!!!

Last week I commented on how the usual libs... (The Carroll County Democrats, as I refer to them) ...that attack Tom for the sake of being against him and yet offer no solutions of their own,seem to be at it again with the Nuclear issue even though he was probably more on their side of the issue. You asked me to give examples of that.

I then had no time to respond but fast forward to this week and I need only use your example within your own post above. You offer no opinion on whether our Illustrious President was in his Constitutional rights to go into Libya and the only thing you said that might even resemble an oppinion is that Irregardless has guts to admit that Obama is not Perfect...
So, Skippy, Your either part of the solution or part of the problem and I don't hear any solutions or Opinions out of you for that matter. Maybe it's time YOU grow a pair of Jimmies and point out the corruption of your own party before we continue with the debate of whether we as a country move forward as a Socialist or a Capitalist Society.

Whether or not you love or despise the "Tea-Baggers" or Palin you can't deny that they are rooting out the corruption in their own back yard....and based on you and all the other Carrol county Skippies comments, I sense fear in you, as I suspect you want the status quot to continue, Just like a good Allinsky-ite.

A good addition to the debate on libya would be this piece offered by Pat Buchanon:

http://buchanan.org/blog/obamas-war-4653

4/1/11, 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buchanans latest is even better than that previously mentioned above;

http://buchanan.org/blog/a-community-organizer-goes-to-war-4664

OBAMMA IS NOT PERFECT...?????????

Skip, you disappoint me

4/1/11, 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous two anonymous posters:

News Flash: Democrats and Republicans are controlled by the same people. The supposed political parties merely exist to provide the illusion of participation and democracy. Your bickering is clear evidence that THEY have done a great job convincing you of the reality THEY want....

Wake up.. Please

4/1/11, 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry pal, I don't buy your Micheal Moore theories. But Hypothetically lets say your right and I have my head up my Arse. What would you have done and who would you like to see in Office or would you just like to get to a Phish Concert and smoke weed and dream about the reincarnation of Gerry Garcia? I don't hear any points from you. What would you like me to wake up to...Please?

4/1/11, 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Stereotypical assumptions. Original. Michael Moore? Seriously?
I don't need anyone tom tell me that the left and right are controlled by the same interests. I can see it everyday. I first woke up to this fact after the supreme court decided the presidential election of 2000. I was, and still am, truly amazed that Americans let this happen without even a protest...

"What would you have done and who would you like to see in Office or would you just like to get to a Phish Concert and smoke weed and dream about the reincarnation of Gerry Garcia?"

This makes no sense at all. What would I have done..? When? What are you talking about? And what do Phish, whom I can't stand, and Jerry Garcia have to do with it?

It's about living in the country we were intended to live in, which, through constant propaganda and brainwashing, you choose to destroy!!

Points? You want points? How about reading the federalist papers alluded to in a previous post. Consider, as your reading, why the men who founded the country warned against factions/political parties?
Also consider the raping of our constitution in the past 15 years in the name of "terror defense".

The irony here is that you push anything but a true American agenda.

4/1/11, 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for stereo typing you chief, I was "Phishing" for information as to what you stand for and where you stand as to left or right of center so I can ascertain some perspective as to what it is your trying to get across to me and then respond to you with some clarity. Based on the comment that the Popular vote vs. the Convention delegate vote gave GHW Bush the election over Al Gore I am starting to think that you lean left of center. ? If I'm correct then what would your take be on the Al Frankin senatorial election and The Constitutionality of that.

If your trying to make the case that there is but a dimes worth of Diff between the two parties these days then I would agree. If your trying to say that the link Wilson Smith asked us to watch is true then I would ask you to clarify your points as I'm weak on that subject and not the type to go out like the guy in the movie "Shooter" and do something about it. Hence the question, What would you do about it.

so the two parties are controlled by the same interests, well,who would you put in there to make sure this would not continue? Even the Anon who wrote about the #10 Federalist Papers said this; "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

You see chief, the fact is, it's not so much that I vote for one party cause I love them. It's that I vote for one because I find I like 50 to 60% of what they Espouse and I only have 10% in common with the other. reading me, you can guess what party that would be. I've yet to figure out where you stand and for what. Enlighten me Skip.

4/1/11, 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What in your opinion is the "True American Agenda" ? Enlighten me?

4/1/11, 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was referring to the anonymous that mentioned the federalist papers. Not Winston Smith. (i'm not sure how you missed that?) And my reference to that previous post would suggest where I stand. The point that James Madison was making, in fed. papers #10, was that political parties/factions are divisive and do not truly serve the good of the people. In fact, he and Hamilton, et al, were against the idea all together. Hence--I tend to agree with the founding fathers. I refuse to be labeled and prescribe to neither party because to do so plays into their hands. It's all a bunch of paranoid name calling and arguing over "beliefs". Meanwhile we all suffer at the hand of the war mongering corporate-state we have become..(just look at wall st. and consider the idea of liability).

And your reference to the election is flat out wrong. It was stolen. Never before in the history of this country has the supreme court decided a presidential election. Never. I was a fan of neither candidate, both losers in my book, --but i was a fan of the process--until it was completely dismantled right in front of our eyes. Very very sad.

So, "chief", once again I refer you to the federalist papers, read #10, that's where I stand.

4/1/11, 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

I am not a member of either party. I too believe that there is little difference between the two parties and that corporations rule the roost. If I tend to lean slightly to the left it is because I believe they try to do a tiny little bit to weaken the grip of big corporations, and oil & coal while the GOP only seems to want them to have more power. Weakening unions hurts the middle class and further empowers big business.

How to fix this? I don't know....start with grass roots and try to weed out corruption but it is a huge task.

As for Palin she is for nothing except how long she can extend her 15 minutes of fame. She is a proven quitter who would rather try and reap in the big bucks with tv show, etc before her fame is gone.

4/2/11, 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a dodge to the Question of how you feel about Obamma. Thanks Brain, you proved my point that all you have to say is negative and only that, yet you offer no alternative except that the Repubs Bad and Dems better
every time I try to talk to Brains like you I get these Canned answers about Big Oil and Big Corporations and then more attacks. In the mean time you mention nothing about the point of whether or not The O-man was legal in doing what he did in Libya.

Well here's a twist for you Skippy. Today Palin said that no matter whether or not Obamma was right or wrong, legal or illegal, If he stays in power after all this is said and done we as a country now have an enemy that is swarn to do everything in his power to kill Americans no matter how he does it. So what do you propose we do now SKIP? I ask you Skip; Which one is the Quitter and which one has balls even though she has none? You bore me!

4/3/11, 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MUST SEE!

MUST SEE!

This is a link to watch the recent oscar winning documentary Inside Job about the recent economic collapse.

Cuts to the heart of the matter and will surely infuriate you---

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Watch_%22Inside_Job%22_-_The_Wall_Street_Horror_Movie%2C_For_Free/13347/0/38/38/Y/M.html

4/3/11, 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Of course I bore you, you obnoxious little twit...and coming from a person who finds dim-witted reality TV characters like Palin fascinating I find it quite a compliment. That latest blabbering
coming from Palin is stuff of real genius...we made some people mad at us??!!!??? With her logic we would have stayed out of WW II so as not to piss off any Germans. You'd be better off going to hear what Snookie is twittering about the subject. Yeesh. Which one is a quitter? The one that ran away to reality television...duh. Although I wouldn't be surprised if you were right about Palin having balls....I mean literally.


What do I feel about Obama's action in Libya? Torn...the same way I was about Iraq. On one hand it is good to see tyrants brought down, on the other hand it is very hard to determine when US soldier deaths make it not worth it and whether or not the "change" will stick and the country will be better off in the long run. As for it's legality I have heard both arguements coming from people with much more expertise than I.


Now back to your video game, junior, don't want you getting bored.

4/5/11, 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Part I said...

War Power
The president's campaign against Libya is constitutional.
By Jack GoldsmithPosted Monday, March 21, 2011, at 6:48 PM ET
President Barack ObamaSeveral days into a campaign of air and sea strikes against Libya, I agree with many of the arguments from critics of the intervention: President Obama acted imprudently in committing American forces to a conflict with an ill-defined national security justification. It is unclear how, on balance, a third war in a Muslim country helps our foreign policy goals. It is uncertain that the intervention will produce a regime more to our liking than Qaddafi's. It is hard to justify military action in Libya while the United States does not use military force in the face of brutal crackdowns by allies elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was especially unwise not to explain this action to the American people in advance or to better consult with and seek formal authorization, or at least political support, from Congress.
But that said, I depart from the critics of the Libya action, and from Sens. Obama and Hillary Clinton themselves circa 2007, and from the academic writings of Legal Adviser to the State Department Harold Koh on this one point: I do not believe that the military action in Libya is unconstitutional.

Legal scholars disagree about the original meaning of the Constitution's conferral on Congress of the power "to declare war." Many contend it required Congress to formally approve all uses of U.S. military force abroad, save, as James Madison said at the Convention, in situations needed to "repel sudden attack." Others maintain the "declare war" clause provides more leeway, allowing the president to use force abroad as long as the force does not rise to the level of "war," whatever that means. Yet others argue that the framers meant simply to give Congress the authority to signal under international law a state of war; the real work in controlling presidential initiation of force, under this view, was Congress' control over appropriations and the size of the standing army. There are many more theories about the original understanding. Even if we could definitively resolve this debate, which we can't, it is unclear why original intent—which in practice rarely determines contemporary constitutional meaning—should control outcomes in the context of presidential war powers, a context that as much as any is marked by radically changed circumstances.
Advertisement
Compounding the problem of indeterminate constitutional language is the fact that the courts have never resolved the question about the scope of the president's power to use military force abroad without congressional authorization. Almost all litigation seeking to resolve whether a war was properly launched has been dismissed as a "political question" or because the plaintiff lacked standing. As a result, the constitutional issue has been worked out almost exclusively by practice between the political branches and not by the courts.
That practice confirms that the president, under his commander-in-chief and other executive powers, has very broad discretion to use U.S. military force in the absence of congressional authorization. Presidents have done this, in military actions large and small, over 100 times, since the beginning of the republic. The largest and most consequential unauthorized military action is the Korean War launched by President Truman in 1950. Another big conflict without congressional authorization—and, indeed, in the face of an overt congressional vote that declined to provide such authorization—was President Clinton's Kosovo intervention in 1999. Some less significant unilateral uses of military force in the past 30 years include Haiti (2004), Bosnia (1995), Haiti (1994), Somalia (1992), Panama (1989), Libya (1986), Lebanon (1982), and Iran (1980). The executive branch has issued public legal opinions explaining the constitutional basis for most of these actions.

4/5/11, 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Part 2 said...

Critics will claim that a pattern of consistently violating the Constitution cannot remedy the illegality of these actions. But that is not the right way to view this pattern. An important principle of constitutional law—especially when the allocation of power between the branches is at issue—is that constitutional meaning gets liquidated by constitutional practice. As Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist explained in his opinion in Dames & Moore v. Regan: "[A] systematic, unbroken, executive practice, long pursued to the knowledge of the Congress and never before questioned … may be treated as a gloss on 'Executive Power' vested in the President by § 1 of Art. II. Past practice does not, by itself, create power, but long-continued practice, known to and acquiesced in by Congress, would raise a presumption that the [action] had been [taken] in pursuance of its consent."

Congress has known about this pattern of presidential unilateralism for some time and done little in response. It has never impeached a president for using force in this way. It has continued to finance an enormous standing military force in the face of this practice. And it has done practically nothing by statute to push back on the president's power to initiate military action with that standing military force. Not even the famous War Powers Resolution of 1973 does much to address the unauthorized initiation of force by a president. It requires the president to submit a report to Congress within 48 hours whenever armed forces are introduced "into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances." After the president reports the introduction of forces abroad, the resolution requires him to withdraw those forces within 60 days (or 90 days, based on military necessity) unless Congress has authorized continued operations.
The WPR does not, as some claim, authorize presidential military action within its 60-day (or 90-day) window. But it does acknowledge an inherent presidential power to use military force within that window. As former Office of Legal Counsel chief Walter Dellinger explained in his official legal justification for the planned 1994 intervention in Haiti, the WPR, by requiring quick notice to Congress and termination after 60 or 90 days, "recognizes and presupposes the existence of unilateral Presidential authority to deploy armed forces" during that period. The WPR's "structure makes sense," he explained, "only if the President may introduce troops into hostilities or potential hostilities without prior authorization by the Congress." Dellinger acknowledged that "the WPR announces that, in the absence of specific authorization from Congress, the President may introduce armed forces into hostilities only in 'a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces,' " but noted that "even the defenders of the WPR concede that this declaration—found in the 'Purpose and Policy' section of the WPR—either is incomplete or is not meant to be binding," especially since the WPR states that it is not "intended to alter the constitutional authority of the … President."

4/5/11, 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Part 3 said...

In light of the long pattern of presidential unilateralism, Congress' continued funding of a standing army in the face of this practice, and only very qualified restrictions in the WPR, it is hard to conclude that President Obama has acted unconstitutionally in his actions thus far in Libya. The best argument for the contrary conclusion is that no American lives or property, and no national security threat, is at stake; the Libya action seems purely humanitarian. Even if that were all it was, there are recent precedents for action, most notably Kosovo, but also Somalia, Haiti, and to some extent Bosnia. President Obama, moreover, indicated that the mission was more than humanitarian when he said that without it the "entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners" and the "words of the international community would be rendered hollow." This last factor might be relevant because, as many executive branch legal opinions going back to the Korean War have maintained, the United States has a national security and foreign relations interest in effectuating the U.N. system that is implicated here, and the president may take that into account in deciding to use force.
The constitutional question will become much harder if the military action in Libya approaches the 60- or 90-day limit of the WPR without congressional authorization. (Congress should be careful about how it appropriates for Libya: In 2000, the Clinton Office of Legal Counsel opined that, despite the WPR's specific proviso that authorization to continue hostilities after 90 days cannot be inferred from a congressional appropriation, Congress had in fact authorized the Kosovo intervention in an appropriation, and that this last-in-time indication of congressional intent trumped the earlier WPR.) Until he bumps up against the 60- or 90-day limit, the president can feel safe that he is acting constitutionally without getting Congress' formal approval.

Which is not to say that he is acting wisely. There are powerful political reasons for presidents to seek congressional support, and many political risks from not doing so, especially if the military exercise drags on or goes badly. The Constitution establishes this system of political incentives, which causes most presidents most of the time (for example, George W. Bush, twice) to avoid large-scale or extended military actions abroad without first securing congressional approval. It does not appear that President Obama gave the issue of domestic political support much thought when he turned on a dime last week. This is an astonishing oversight, if it was that, from a man who campaigned on the need for retrenchment and prudence in the use of U.S. military force.

4/5/11, 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't call you Brain for nothing Skip.

Your words Brain: "I would like a decent debate..."

Skip; in order to have a debate you must first have an Opinion...it kinda goes hand in hand.

Your words: "What do I feel about Obama's action in Libya? Torn...the same way I was about Iraq. On one hand it is good to see tyrants brought down, on the other hand it is very hard to determine when US soldier deaths make it not worth it and whether or not the "change" will stick and the country will be better off in the long run. As for it's legality I have heard both arguments coming from people with much more expertise than I. "

Can I assume that your Opinion is that It's a definite maybe? OK, Skip, thanks for the intriguing debate.

The Only thing I know for sure about you skip is that you hate Tom and You hate Palin. As far as her Having Balls...it's a definite maybe skip but one things for sure, if she has them they are probably Obama's cause he is obviously not using any.

No matter how you slice it Brain, During the election Palin had more executive experience than Obama hands down. But you had an Orgasm when he won. Word to the wise Skip; Keep Wanking it till you need Glasses...any more and you'll go blind! Nice "Debating" with you skip.

4/5/11, 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, Libya is one of the countries that attack Israel.

Ez 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet

4/10/11, 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally think our Country needs to stop playing the blame game. We are in a pickle and we need to work together to fix it, as corny as that sounds. "A house divided cannot stand," why do you think Lincoln said this? It is because he noticed first hand that we have to work together to accomplish things, although we aren't physically at war in the US, people sure are taking sides.

4/13/11, 9:23 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home