Congress sharpens criticism of Obama: No “King’s Army” in US; Update: Snowe joins criticism

posted at 12:15 pm on March 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The Hill notes that Barack Obama appears to have fulfilled one of his campaign promises, which was to find a way to bring Democrats and Republicans together in Washington.  Both caucuses have increased their criticisms of Obama’s Libyan adventure, with one Republican informing the White House that the US doesn’t keep a “King’s Army,” and a prominent Democrat demanding an immediate session of Congress to discuss the American intervention:

In a harshly worded statement Monday evening, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) declared, “The United States does not have a king’s army.”

“President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution,” said Bartlett, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent ally of the president on foreign policy, also called Monday for “full congressional debate on the objectives and costs” of military action in Libya — and a declaration of war if it goes on.  ….

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, said Obama lacks the constitutional authority to conduct military operations in Libya.

“While the legislative and executive branches have long grappled over the exact division of powers in times of war, the Constitution grants sole authority to the Congress to commit the nation to battle in the first instance,” he said in a statement Monday night. “That decision is one of the most serious that we are called upon to make and we should never abdicate this responsibility to the President.

“I therefore join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in calling for an immediate session of Congress to review United States military engagement in Libya.”

The Constitution is clear on this point.  In Article I, Section 8, the power “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water,” exclusively belongs to Congress.  In 1973, the War Powers Resolution gave the President the authority to deploy military forces in an emergency situation under certain circumstances:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to

(1) a declaration of war,
(2) specific statutory authorization, or
(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

The act then states the requirement for consultation prior to and regular consultation after committing forces to war:

The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.

Jack Goldsmith at Slate argues that Obama’s action meets this standard, especially in relation to precedent, but was not particularly wise to “turn on a dime” without making sure Congress would follow:

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.

I could be wrong in my recollection, but I believe Bill Clinton went to Congress for his Balkan adventures before entering into hostilities.  Somalia and Haiti started off as humanitarian missions, not combat missions, and Somalia only became the latter when American forces had trouble fulfilling the mission and encountered hostilities from the warlords.  Whatever our rationalizations might be for attacking Gaddafi’s military, it’s obviously not starting as a non-combat humanitarian mission.  A better analogy would be Ronald Reagan’s attack on Tripoli in 1986, but even that was predicated on an attack on American troops in West Germany through a terrorist attack at a discotheque staged by Libya.

In this case, no American forces were threatened, let alone attacked, before the start of hostilities.  Goldsmith suggests that the US backing of the UN gives the executive a “foreign relations interest” in sending troops in support of its resolutions, but that would mean that any bilateral or multilateral alignment of the US would give a carte blanche to the executive for troop deployment into combat.  The framers of the Constitution wisely kept authority for war powers separate from foreign policy jurisdiction in order to force American Presidents to get Congressional approval for the very purpose Goldsmith describes.

That said, the likelihood of Congress acting to remove or even rebuke Obama for exceeding his Constitutional authority is rather slim.  They do seem intent on forcing Obama back to Washington to account for himself and to explain in much more detail the purpose, objectives, and resources of his Libyan war before it gets much further.  Obama may have made a monumental error in finally awakening Congress into a defense of its own jurisdiction — and that may not stop with just the military.

Update: We’ve heard from the anti-war Left and Obama opponents on the Right.  How about the middle?  Olympia Snowe criticized Obama for both the intervention and the lack of consultation today:

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe took President Barack Obama to task Tuesday for not involving Congress more deeply in the decision to commit U.S. forces in Libya.

“Given our extensive involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we’re already stretched thin, now to be drawn into another international conflict …” the Maine Republican said.

Snowe said Obama has failed to provide Congress with the full picture of mission objectives and an exit strategy for Libya.

“He should be consulting with Congress,” Snowe said bluntly. “It raises concerns overall.”

Obama has lost the Left, the Right, and the chewy Center now, too.  He still has John McCain, who now wants to impose a “no-drive zone.”


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How about we impose a No-Drive Babble Zone on the Golfer-in-Chief, Maverick?

Christien on March 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Felt the need to dress that up a little Thanks!

dhunter on March 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Barry didn’t act “unilaterally” in Libya.

Congress gave bi-partisan authorization to use force against terrorist belligerants in 2002 (Pub.L. 107-40).

This is merely another shifting front in our GLOBAL war on terrorism.

Barry, you may fire when ready.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Yep the first AUMF after 9/11 gave very broad powers to the POTUS….another point people aren’t bringing up but something I expect Obama to cite if this went very far.

jp on March 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

The Emperor sans Clothes, aka, the nakid man, scrooms the country, royally.

Schadenfreude on March 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

This is merely another shifting front in our GLOBAL war on terrorism.

Barry, you may fire when ready.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Problem with that is that’s not what the President himself stated was the motivation to invest our assets in Libya–it’s a humanitarian mission, remember? …but if this is what he’s left to stand on, I’d like to see it squared with the UN Security council and in a speech to the Nation. That we are extending our War on Terror into a third theater in the Middle East. Which I would have absolutely no qualms about. But his peeps may beg to differ.

RepubChica on March 22, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I R A Darth Aggie: “Libya and His Daffiness have not been implicated in the attack

Nor have Somali pirates.

Nor has al-Awlaki.

Does POTUS need authorization for acting against those terrorist belligerants.

Come on. Kaddafi has publicly vowed to resume civilian airline attacks. We’re not going prevent those attacks?

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Authorization to institute a “No Fly” zone in Libya by the United Nations to protect Libyan rebels from Khaddafi’s air force is not, under the Constitution, a declaration of war, nor can the UN give the president the authority to deploy the US military into harm’s way. If they can, then we might as well cede the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, turn out the lights and close the door. The president did not seek any authorization from Congress to use military force in Libya nor is he likely to. There was and is no immediate threat to the US or any if its citizens therefore the self defense argument does not exist. So what is the reason for the attacks? Khaddafi is a crazy, unstable maniacal killer? OK. But he’s been that for 40 years and no one tried anything other than lobbing a few bombs into a desert tent to keep him quiet for a while.

sdd on March 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM

MJBrutus: I don’t agree that our national interests are at stake.

Please inform the widows and orphans of Lockerbie that bringing justice to the mass murderers of their innocent loved ones’ are not “national interests.”

But if some Christmas you need to pick up what remains of your loved one in a cardboard box (c/o Kaddafi), don’t you dare complain. Because you didn’t dare enough or care enough to do what was necessary to prevent their slaughter.

Good luck with that.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I hope that Congress does take the matter up immediately, but lets face it, the end result of all of that will be a resolution from Congress blessing Prince Barky’s actions, subject to some conditions written in Congressional Weaselwords. Rove has been on Fox saying that Barky finally did the right thing in Libya, meaning he will get GOP votes if he needs them.

james23 on March 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM

sdd: Khaddafi is a crazy, unstable maniacal killer? OK. But he’s been that for 40 years and no one tried anything

Yes, his bill is long past due.

The West offered Kaddafi the Mandela path of rehabilitation– he has vowed to resume civilian airliner destruction.

It is past time to finish the job Reagan started.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM

That said, the likelihood of Congress acting to remove or even rebuke Obama for exceeding his Constitutional authority is rather slim. They do seem intent on forcing Obama back to Washington to account for himself and to explain in much more detail the purpose, objectives, and resources of his Libyan war before it gets much further.

Probably none of the Republicans would have said boo if Obama had enforced the no-fly zone when the Libyan rebels were at the gates of Tripoli, but by waiting until Qaddafi had re-taken all the cities except Benghazi (sp?), it will take a LOT longer to win, as even Flimsy Graham (RINO-SC) pointed out.

As Hillary would say, now that we’re in it, we need to win it. But Obama needs to tell Congress what “winning” means. Killing Qaddafi? Replacing him by whom? Who marches into Tripoli when he’s gone? What kind of government will they set up, and will they be friendly? Blowing things to smithereens and leaving them behind or rebuilding them?
What’s the plan, Mr. President?

For now, nobody even knows whether we’re supposed to kill Qaddafi or not–Obama says he must go, Obama’s general says he’s not a target. So what’s the plan?

If Qaddafi could be captured alive, this would be MY plan. Take him up in a small plane over Lockerbie and push him out the door.

Steve Z on March 22, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Not even a good try. Sorry, but laying some kind of guilt trip on me doesn’t change the facts. Payback is not a national interest. The time to attack him for that would have been back when we had good intel to believe that he would strike again.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:04 PM

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Just to drive that point home, Libya was removed from the US State Sponsor of Terror list in 2006 by none other than W himself.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The West offered Kaddafi the Mandela path of rehabilitation– he has vowed to resume civilian airliner destruction.

It is past time to finish the job Reagan started.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Whether or not Khaddafi deserves to die is a moot point here. What really matters is did the president act within the framework of his Consitutional authority by ordering military action solely based on a UN Security Council Resolution? I do not beleive he did. He has ceded US sovereignty to the United Nations without so much as a how-do-you-do to the Congress or a nod to the American people.

sdd on March 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Conyers must be a rayciss.

Dennis D on March 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

The time to attack him for that would have been back when we had good intel to believe that he would strike again.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:04 PM

^^^This^^^

Frankly, the inability/unwillingness to finish the job against Mad Muammar is one of the few things for which I fault Reagan.

The same can be said for the two Bushes and Bubba Clinton.

It strikes me that these were perfect examples of the folly of worrying about “optics” instead of dealing with reality. Someone would have been mad at us if we took out a mass-murderer; oh, noes!

Now, when we have the most incompetent, untrustworthy and most anti-American president in our history, people want to ramp it up in Libya? Might as well get ‘er done against the entire Middle East, not to mention North Korea, Red China, and any other nations that use murder of civilians as a political tool.

Osama Obama will mess it up, and we’ll pay for his idiocy in lives and dollars. Neither of which we can spare.

MrScribbler on March 22, 2011 at 2:16 PM

MJBrutus sneered: Payback is not a national interest. The time to attack him for that would have been back when we had good intel to believe that he would strike again.

Justice is not “payback“. And preventing another Lockerbie is always timely.

I personally offered to buy one of the Tomahawk missiles,” Robert Monetti, who lost his son Rick on the flight, says.

Their motivation isn’t revenge, Flynn contends: “We often get criticism — even from some of your columnists — that this is about avenging Pan Am Flight 103. This is not about vengeance; it’s about accountability and justice.”

Try harder to cower in your spiderhole of denial.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

[MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 1:47 PM]

I can understand that, maybe when comparing it, at least, to Iran (but not so much wrt Yemen). There are many reasons, though, that I’d add to the argument besides terrorism, for which national interests are at stake. I’d admit that most are not, in and of themselves, sufficient.

Here’s one, briefly. Qadaffi is an unstable character prone to making threats and taking actions on a whim. It threatens our military forces in the Mediterranean and our allies, especially NATO ones, with which we have a mutual defense treaty. Same goes with our interests and our NATO allies interests. Americans lives in and around Libya have been threatened (which I think is a deficiency gap wrt the WPA). The events in Libya were going okay for a while but took a very quick turn for the worse. That in conjunction with Qadaffi’s clear, consistent, and constant pronouncements he was going to wipe out all those defied him created a rather unique situation, vis-a-vis a reason for acting to preclude his follow through.

Anyway, that’s just a start off the top of my head. I think the case is touch and go. All reasons need to be marshaled and well written to be persuasive. A last but not so least item that probably couldn’t be put in the report and most likely has to be assumed by the Americans at large is what message action on Libya would send to other countries, where as you note, on which we could just as easily take the same road to contentious argument. if it changes the situations in those others for the better, then maybe Libya is a good move.

Dusty on March 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Libya was removed from the US State Sponsor of Terror list in 2006 by none other than W himself.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Has Libya complied with the deal Condi struck?

flyfisher on March 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM

MJBrutus: Libya was removed from the US State Sponsor of Terror list in 2006 by none other than W himself.

It should be clear today that was a mistake. Bush and NATO were manipulated by Kaddafi’s EU nurse hostage extortion. Kaddafi played us for fools.

Is sneering at Bush’s mistakes really the best the Kucinich-Farrakhan toadies can do?

*pffl*

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Ah yes, now we move on to the personal slurs round of our descent to the gutter. You chose to start with accusations of cowardice, evidently feeling secure in being the brave warrior. I served honorably in the USAF, how about you?

I noticed you had no comeback, beyond this little ad hom to my telling you that #43 removed Libya from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. No worries, I’m sure a crude remark about my mother will be an adequate replacement.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:25 PM

For Trump it came down to money at least, he said if the Arab league wants it they should pay for it.

The larger point is that the President of these United States just exceeded his authority in using the United States Military as a peace keeping force on the request of a bunch of other nations who themselves are not so stable and foster terrorists of their own in many instances.

American blood and treasure should not be left to the whims of tyrants, dictators, kings or Queens of other countries rather are protected by the Constitution with the consent of congress required!

Rove, Mccain, Grahamnasty, Oreally?, Obama are wrong in allowing or condoning these actions which shows just how ignorant the RINO wing of the Party has become or how complicit they are in turning American sovereignty over to a One World Order!

It’s NOT just one party the Two Party two step is marchingius ever closer to Socialism and submission to a higher authority than our own constitution!

dhunter on March 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Correct me if I am wrong here, but aren’t these “rebels” members of the Muslim Brotherhood (or its ME equivalent) whose idea of “democracy” is “Everybody who wants to live will ‘vote’ to be ruled by Sharia Law”?

Seems to me that we are helping the very people in Libya that we are trying to get rid of in Iraq, Afghanistan, and here at home.

I have no problem with committing troops – I just want to be sure that our leaders know who it is exactly that they are siding with. Otherwise, we’re doing our enemies’ work for them.

I have a feeling this is going to turn into Obama’s Vietnam….

TeresainFortWorth on March 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Ah, going with the mad Dennis/Calypso Louie track instead. A fine choice.

Did I sneer at Bush? Do tell. Here I was thinking that I only stated an unvarnished fact. But it was a mistake by Bush you say. Well we’ve had half of a decade to reinstate Libya. But even now we haven’t done so. A rational mind would say that it’s because we have no intel that says he is a threat. But then I’m not talking to a rational mind, am I?

I look forward to your next childish barb with baited breath.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM

I could be wrong in my recollection, but I believe Bill Clinton went to Congress for his Balkan adventures before entering into hostilities.

Yeah…I remember the 100,000′s missing bullshit line…

Caper29 on March 22, 2011 at 2:32 PM

TeresainFortWorth on March 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM

They’re also the people from which the largest number of jihadis to fight us in post-war Iraq came.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Justice is not “payback“. And preventing another Lockerbie is always timely.

Try harder to cower in your spiderhole of denial.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Please, histrionics don’t serve justice well. Turn off Nancy Grace, the Lifetime Movie of the Week and meet up with reality.

ButterflyDragon on March 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

MJBrutus: I served honorably in the USAF, how about you?

Folks who served honorably generally don’t prance around boasting about it. And those who do generally don’t soil themselves on blogs, parroting Kucinich and Farrakhan. But congratulations.

But (back to the issue) it remains clear today that removing Kaddafi from the terrorism list was a mistake. Bush and NATO were manipulated by Kaddafi’s EU nurse hostage extortion.

I see sneering at Bush’s mistakes really is the best the Kucinich-Farrakhan toadies can do.

*weak*

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

ButterflyDragon: Please, histrionics don’t serve justice well. Turn off Nancy Grace

Shame on you. Tell that to the victims families.

You may not like the fact that they suffer still; but that gives you no right to publicly belittle their loss. More importantly, it does nothing to deminish America’s duty to the cause of justice for those innocent American victims.

Remind Lockerbie widows and orphans again: What’s the statute of limitations on the mass murder of their loved ones at Lockerbie?

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

MJBrutus: we’ve had half of a decade to reinstate Libya. But even now we haven’t done so

Foggy Bottom isn’t reknown for their speed or agility.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Was that a sneer? That sounded like a sneer. I’m telling.

MJBrutus on March 22, 2011 at 2:47 PM

The innocent dead aren’t going anywhere. Their blood still cries out from the earth.

Here’s a short list of Kaddafi’s vicious ‘casus belli’ against America and our NATO allies;

Munich Olympic Massacre
London Constable Murder
Rome/Vienna Airport Massacres
Berlin Discoteque Massacre
Greek TWA840 massacre
Lockerbie PA103 Massacre
French UTA772 Massacre
IRA proxy massacres
EU Nurse Prison Sextortion
Swiss hostage extortion

Kaddafi has now vowed to resume targeting civilian airliner. He has richly earned our Coalition forces’ targeting.

*Kaddafi_Delenda_Est*

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Congress sharpens criticism of Obama: No “King’s Army” in US; Update: Snowe joins criticism

Bad news for Obama, when he loses the very liberal Sen. Olympia Snowe, he’s lost about 85% of America.

RJL on March 22, 2011 at 2:50 PM

So, Obama doesn’t feel the need to obtain Congressional authorization to go to war, but he does feel the need to get the UN’s approval. What’s wrong with this picture?

NNtrancer on March 22, 2011 at 2:54 PM

The Lockerbie victims’ families have thought this through for decades.

How to rid Libya of its longtime leader is a tricky question.My hope is that if we prevent the slaughter of civilians, the mercenaries he’s hired might become aware that their position is rather precarious — they’re not going to get paid, they’re probably going to get killed — and so maybe they’ll go home again,” Monetti reasons. He thinks ground forces should prove unnecessary: “The Libyans will take care of Qaddafi on their own.

If we kill Kaddafi, he becomes a martyr; and his spawn are empowered.

If Libyans execute him, he’s just another Mussolini swinging from a meat-hook; and his spawn are castrati.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Remind Lockerbie widows and orphans again: What’s the statute of limitations on the mass murder of their loved ones at Lockerbie?

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Again, your histrionics are ridiculous. How long does one choose to be a victim? I’m sure there are many family members of the dead who would be horrified at your painting them as bloodthirsty victicrats.

So far as a statute of limitations, not sure if you realize it or not, but there was a trial.

But, if you’re willing to ignore all law and just start bombing someone because of an accusation from a defector (23 years after the fact) then I would suggest Libya is only the first of many nations we would be bombing on such flimsy evidence.

By the way, who designated you the spokesperson for the family members of the victims? You do take the role very seriously, I will grant you that.

ButterflyDragon on March 22, 2011 at 2:55 PM

If they’d take the time to notice, Americans don’t care so much right now about Humanitarian(though its there) but do care about those things I mentioned and general American Interest.

jp on March 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Yeah, there have been tons of polls and protests of American citizens demanding we take military action against Libya for that disco bombing. Those have gotten so commonplace that I plumb forgot about them. Thanks for the reminder that the US citizenry are seething with a desire to go to war with Libya on those counts.

Midas on March 22, 2011 at 3:08 PM

ButterflyDragon: How long does one choose to be a victim?

Their loved ones were victims. Are you really suggesting their families are consumed with self-pity when they take up the cause of justice for them?

The only one mocking them as “bloodthirsty victicrats” is you. Shame on you.

ButterflyDragon: So far as a statute of limitations, not sure if you realize it or not, but there was a trial.

Remind folks again. What was the outcome of Kaddafi’s trial? Because we’re not talking about Kaddafi’s KSM anymore.

But, if you’re willing to ignore all law and just start bombing someone because of an accusation from a defector

These are high ranking Libyan officials. The cables they produced were authentic enough for the UN to authorize action.

Even you can’t seriously believe Kaddafi is innocent. Really? Who designated you spokesperson for the Kaddafi klan?

Farrakhan has a microphone ready for you.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Impose a no basketball, no golf, no vacation, no White House celebrity visitors zone until Mr. Obama has earned the right to have them restored. Do it for the children.

Mason on March 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

These are high ranking Libyan officials. The cables they produced were authentic enough for the UN to authorize action.

Since when does a UN resolution trump the US Constitution and US law? That’s the main question here.

Is Khaddafi a mass murder? Yes.
Will he kill again? Probably.
Would I love to see him writing from a noose answering for his crimes? Definitely.

However, the constitution demands that Congress be involved in this action. That did not happen. We do not have a King dispensing justice in this country. Not even for mass murderers like Khaddafi.

JSGreg3 on March 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Consistent with the Kaddafi klan history of sextortion;

Sexually assaulted and told ‘You’ll die tonight’… but spared as she’s American: Female journalist’s horror at the hands of Gaddafi’s men

A female war photographer from the New York Times revealed tonight how she was repeatedly sexually assaulted during her nightmare hostage ordeal in Libya.

FLASHBACK 2004: EU nurse prison rape ordeals from Human Rights Watch.

Bulgarian defendant, Kristiana Valceva, said interrogators used a small machine with cables and a handle that produced electricity. “During the shocks and torture they asked me where the AIDS came from and what is your role,” she told Human Rights Watch. She said that Libyan interrogators subjected her to electric shocks on her breasts and genitals. “My confession was all in Arabic without translation,” she said. “We were ready to sign anything just to stop the torture.”

Read it all. Don’t turn away.

This was the stick the “rehabilitated” Kaddafi clan used to great affect (along with oil carrots) to extort the West.

Look, Westerners can backbite Obama until we’re blue in the face.

Meanwhile Kaddafi and his terrorist co-conspirators are laughing their way to the bank laden with extortion booty.

National will (and the moral courage to exercise it) that united and motivated our post-9/11 actions has been eroded by appeasement Quislings.

There is a pox on all our houses of government.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Would I love to see him writing from a noose answering for his crimes? Definitely.

JSGreg3 on March 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

That word should have been writhing.

JSGreg3 on March 22, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Is anyone surprised by Kaddafi’s goons raping reporters?

The Kaddafi klan are quite frank about their sextortion racket. You imprison one of our terrorists? OK, we prison rape and torture your nurses until you pay us and release our terrorist.

It’s really that simple.

The Politics of Blackmail

“Blackmail? Maybe,” he says, considering the word. “It is blackmail, but the Europeans also blackmailed us. Yeah, it’s an immoral game by the way, but—I mean they set the rules of the game, the Europeans, and now they are paying the price.” They, and the Americans, too, for that matter, are merely serving their own political and economic interests, as far as Saif al-Islam is concerned. While the medics suffered, governments and multinationals were cutting deals. French President Nicolas Sarkozy even finagled an image-enhancing jaunt for his whimsical wife, Cécilia, as ostensible liberator of the prisoners. “She is the last person to come interfere in that issue and she is the person who took the medics with her back home,” said Saif al-Islam. “She’s very lucky. Lots of people tried in the past and they failed.” The reason: “The French [understood] the requirements and they were very flexible.”

If you’re not severely nauseated by all this, then you’re not paying attention.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

dhunter on March 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I agree with you. We are fighting this war for others who do not want or cannot do it for themselves. We should not be a part of it. Rush talked today about how much it is costing us just to keep the planes in the air. Obama needs to be impeached over this. He is bypassing Congress on many things and getting by with it. Can’t someone stop the madness? And this is exactly what it is.

silvernana on March 22, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Ed,

I tend to side with the camp that says the CinC’s role is plenary. If congress doesn’t like where the king’s army is fighting they may impeach and/or de-fund the operation. If the people don’t like how the army is being deployed they are obligated to elect better kings (please!). Even Madison admitted the power of the presidency was akin to that of a king with a sword whereas the proper check was congress’ “power of the purse.”

I don’t see a Declaration of War (DoW) as being desirable in all cases as do the Paulestinians and their ilk. If I understand DoW’s correctly they transfer authorities to the executive branch that aren’t necessarily needed or desireable in anything other than a state of total war, such as comandeering private assets absent due process. Thus a DoW is reserved only for the express purpose of broadening presidential power beyond strictly military matters.

An AUMF appears mostly to be an acknowledgement by congress that a military operation ordered by the executive has been debated and gained a majority of support.

The War Powers Resolution, to my mind, was not an expansion of the president’s war-making powers but an effort to curtail them by a war-weary congress following Viet Nam. I hasten to add I believe the WPR is an infringement of Art II’s separate powers.

That being said, imagine a scenario where a nation declared a Naval Exclusion Zone. Would a US president be hide-bound by this declaration of a foreign power to refrain from ordering US naval assets into the zone if doing so became a de facto state of war? What would the WPR do in such an instance if congress disapproved and would it pass constitutional muster?

Mr Snuggle Bunny on March 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

If you’re not severely nauseated by all this, then you’re not paying attention.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Nauseating for sure. And don’t forget warped and depraved. However, none of those titles gives the president power to ignore the constitution.

Look, Westerners can backbite Obama until we’re blue in the face.

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Standing up for the rule of law is not backbiting. Will we be governed by the concrete rule of law or the capricious rule of men? I chose the rule of law. There is a constitutional way to get a bullet between Khadaffi’s eyes.

JSGreg3 on March 22, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Terp Mole on March 22, 2011 at 3:16 PM and the rest of your rants as well…

Dear dear Terpie, You are having a whole different conversation. You are defending going into Libya.

That is not the same issue as the failure to go through Constitutional channels and using power that The Executive Branch (Obama) doesn’t have to commit our troops solely on his word. We have three equal branches of government, not one all powerful branch and two meaningless ones.

If he did go to Congress… or at least consult with Congress we could then move to the wisdom of his chosen course.

As it is, we are left to wonder when if ever, this “lecturer” on the Constitution has ever read the Constitution. We also must wonder what reading level he is at because he certainly can’t seem to figure out his job.

These issues are not at all the same.

Speaking of the Constitution has Obama filed his answer to Vinson yet?

petunia on March 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Speaking of the Constitution has Obama filed his answer to Vinson yet?

petunia on March 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Basically he told Vinson to “Bite Me” oh, that’s the VP!

OK he told Vinson to pound sand?

dhunter on March 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

War by committee, nice.

Schadenfreude on March 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Since when does a UN resolution trump the US Constitution and US law? That’s the main question here.

JSGreg3 on March 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Yes, that is the question of the day. My opinion? It doesn’t.

Fallon on March 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Oh my, one of the Fair Ladies of Maine has come down from the clouds to criticize little Bammie. Must have been the promise of some tv face time that did it.

slickwillie2001 on March 22, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Impose a no basketball, no golf, no vacation, no White House celebrity visitors zone until Mr. Obama has earned the right to have them restored. Do it for the children.

Mason on March 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Sounds good except, it is better for the country when he does the above.

Slowburn on March 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Just kills me when I finally get to a thread and it’s dead.

To JP and others who continue to use Jefferson to support your unilateral executive adventures, please stop and learn your history.

Jefferson did not/not order military attacks on the Barbary pirates/states without congressional approval. He sent ships to the Med, yes, but with orders only to conduct defensive maneuvers if attacked, meanwhile he sought and got congressional approval for offensive operations. Congress passed 10 statutes authorizing the use of force against the Barbary pirates. Madison also sought congressional approval for the War of 1812. Please read.

Firefly_76 on March 22, 2011 at 9:53 PM

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