Video: Obama demands openness on military action …

posted at 8:46 am on March 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The best part of having elected as President a man who pandered to the anti-war Left during his campaign are all of the little video nuggets that campaign left behind as markers for hypocrisy.  Weasel Zippers finds this doozy from the August 2007 AFL-CIO debate broadcast live on MSNBC, in which candidate Barack Obama passionately argues that decisions of foreign policy and military action cannot just take place between “Washington insiders,” but must involve the American public as well, calling this point a “seminal question”:

But the fact of the matter is that when we don’t talk to the American people — we’re debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have a right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that — are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to how we’re going to shift our foreign policy. This is a seminal question. — Barack Obama, August 8, 2007

Actually, this is more interesting than even this small clip does justice.  If you’re wondering why Obama’s practically yelling in this clip, it’s because he’s responding to a criticism from Chris Dodd over Obama’s earlier suggestion that he would unilaterally invade Pakistan if then-dictator Pervez Musharraf stopped cooperating against al-Qaeda.  Dodd called that statement “dangerous,” and here’s Obama’s response in full:

SEN. OBAMA: I did not say that we would immediately go in unilaterally. What I said was that we have to work with Musharraf, because the biggest threat to American security right now are in the northwest provinces of Pakistan and that we should continue to give him military aid contingent on him doing something about that.

But the fact of the matter is that when we don’t talk to the American people — we’re debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have a right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that — (cheers, applause) — are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to how we’re going to shift our foreign policy. This is a seminal question.

MR. OLBERMANN: Gentlemen, I have to end this segment here because we are –

SEN. OBAMA: It’s a fundamental question.

Actually, he did say we would go in unilaterally, and “working with Musharraf” was the problem in his statement:

“I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges,” Obama will say, according to speech excerpts provided to ABC News by his campaign, “but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

Weasel Zippers finds another nugget even more specific to today’s circumstances, italics in original but bolding mine:

In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Obama will speak to the nation on Monday, ten days after he consulted with only a few “Washington insiders” and then launched a war that the Constitutional scholar argued was illegal when he was just a candidate for the presidency.  Think Obama will try to explain these earlier statements and square them with his own actions this month?  Neither do I.


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Openness for thee, none for me!

Roy Rogers on March 26, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Neither do I.

Not a chance. Do as I say…

OmahaConservative on March 26, 2011 at 8:49 AM

I can never get away from the comparison with President Bush’s treatment in the media. This is the biggest chance to draw a comparison between Preisdent Obama and President Bush, heck, President Obama and his own words and the media is not touching it.

It’s like living in a surreal landscape.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM

I don’t know. The Iraq War and Libya are two different situations. I don’t think this meets the standard for hypocrisy.

SoulGlo on March 26, 2011 at 8:54 AM

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

This video is “highly edited”. Because Obama then goes on to say:

“However, the President does have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation and then fly his family to Brazil for vacation”

See everything is copacetic…

Caper29 on March 26, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Obama’s “Operation Premature Evacuation” – he goes in, shoots off his wad of missles too early, and now tries to sneak out.

PatMac on March 26, 2011 at 8:59 AM

It’s like living in a surreal landscape.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM

This song is on a loop in Ogabe’s head:

Can’t touch me.

Caper29 on March 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Think Obama will try to explain these earlier statements and square them with his own actions this month?

Right after he tries a Triple Lindy into the arms of Valerie Jarrett.

Shivas Irons on March 26, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Mark Steyn has a column today that hits many of the points I’ve been making about Libya over the last few days and weeks, but written with his inimitable wit and style (he didn’t mention the nation-building scenario). The piece is brilliant, of course :-)

Most significantly, in his concluding paragraph Steyn tells us,

But lost along the way is hard-headed, strategic calculation of the national interest.

Amen, brother.

MJBrutus on March 26, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Ed, in the future when referring to ObaMao as a “Constitutional scholar,” please use scare quotes.

onlineanalyst on March 26, 2011 at 9:14 AM

I don’t know. The Iraq War and Libya are two different situations. I don’t think this meets the standard for hypocrisy.

True. Bush went to Congress and earned approval by large margins; Obama didn’t. And, since you’ve decided to leave out the word War after Libya, that makes it a lot different as well.

How about if we call it a kinetic action against another country with the unstated intention of removing its government? Not War, but it still leaves Barry as a flaming hypocrite.

I hope this helps.

Shivas Irons on March 26, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Obama’s “Operation Premature Evacuation” – PatMac

HA! You better patent that before somebody steals it! :-)

Tony737 on March 26, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Obama’s “Operation Premature Evacuation” – he goes in, shoots off his wad of missles too early, and now tries to sneak out.

PatMac on March 26, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I believe I speak for many here when I say “Eeewwww!”

I volley back with “Operation Pos-T-Vac”

I sucks and its paid for by the government… Feel free to add similar vulgarities on your own.

turfmann on March 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

A Bit O’History on Libya …

Historically, Benghazi is part of Cyrenaica, founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists around the ancient city of Cyrene.

Tripoli – 1,200 miles to the West – was, on the other hand, founded by Carthaginians, who wanted to trade with the indigenous Berber tribesmen.

Over two millennia both colonies maintained their separate identities. Greek-influenced Cyrenaica developed a reputation for arts, crafts, medicine and learning while Tripoli focused on the commercial skills of its founders. The Roman historian Plutarch described the Carthaginians as ‘coarse and gloomy, submissive to those who govern them and despotic to those they govern’.

Tony737 on March 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

I don’t know. The Iraq War and Libya are two different situations. I don’t think this meets the standard for hypocrisy.

SoulGlo on March 26, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Then that standard can never be met.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I am more angry at the MSM than some slippery politician about this whole thing. You EXPECT politicians to lie and obfuscate but you also EXPECT someone to call them on their hypocrisy, especially when it is blatant and oh-so-recent!

Does anyone expect Obama to actually take any questions?

Mord on March 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM


“… but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again …”

Well, at least he’s not a “Troofer”, gotta give him credit for that. Many of his worshippers ARE Troofers.

Tony737 on March 26, 2011 at 9:29 AM

The campaign ads just keep writing themselves.

Will we have a candidate that takes advantage?

ladyingray on March 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Tony737 on March 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Plutarch was writing about an empire that had centuries before been destroyed following the threat from Hannibal (no not the Silence of the Lambs dude :-). The entire nation was sacked and burned to the ground and hadn’t come close to resembling a civilization again for a millennium.

MJBrutus on March 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Obama has no positions on anything. He says one thing to pander to one group, then says something contradictory when pandering to another group.

Being President is far more important to Obama than doing the President’s job.

flipflop on March 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Does anyone expect Obama to actually take any questions?

Mord on March 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Not so much, ’cause TOTUS won’t have any answers…

OmahaConservative on March 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

There goes our constitutional scholar again. Under the constitution, the president has no power to authorize the use of military force. He is granted the authority to do so in the event of imminent threat by the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Kafir on March 26, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Dr. Weigel lists and explains briefly the weak, dangerous, and naive rationale behind Dem foreign policy. This explantion is a keeper.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/263126/how-democrats-view-world-george-weigel

onlineanalyst on March 26, 2011 at 9:35 AM

These statements amply demonstrate Obama’s hypocrisy but his leftist MSM supporters will be blind to it. After all, before he sent America’s military to Libya, Obama obtained John Kerry’s Permission Slip from the UN.

Basilsbest on March 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

We know more about his last golf game and vacation plans than the current war he started.

albill on March 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Obama has proven himself to be as “open” as the front door at Fort Knox.

JetBoy on March 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

If this guy were any dumber he’d take out his brain and mold ashtrays with it.

darwin-t on March 26, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Present-dent Platitude pulls out another sound bite to appease the incurious. You don’t like the current explanation? Wait a bit until he finds another. The panting media will never go back to their archives to challenge the contradictions.

onlineanalyst on March 26, 2011 at 9:42 AM

If this guy were any dumber he’d take out his brain and mold ashtrays with it.

darwin-t on March 26, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Do you suppose that Igor, Dr. Soros’ assistant, accidently grabbed the brain in the jar labeled “Abbie Normal” when he was creating his beast?

turfmann on March 26, 2011 at 9:44 AM

MSM ignore button, ON.

artist on March 26, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Think Obama will try to explain these earlier statements and square them with his own actions this month? Neither do I.

Because no one in the WH press corps, with the possible exception of Jake Tapper, will call him on it.

JeffWeimer on March 26, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I am more angry at the MSM than some slippery politician about this whole thing. You EXPECT politicians to lie and obfuscate but you also EXPECT someone to call them on their hypocrisy, especially when it is blatant and oh-so-recent!

Does anyone expect Obama to actually take any questions?

Mord on March 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM

As my unit was sitting in the Frankfurt Airport prior to the invasion, it occured to me the news media was doing every form of story that would dissuade President Bush from using force in Iraq. And of course after the war started they used the troops death milestones as a daily/weekly/monthly reminder the cost of President Bush’s decision. This coverage has an effect on the troops that are able to see it and on their families.

What news of the cost now? Where are the peace protests now? If there were any, where is the media coverage of it?

Never let a liberal or someone in the media give you the impression that they actually care about the harm war causes those in the military. The services are a collective pawn for their political objectives.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Well, this is the same Obama who in 2006 said increasing the debt limit was a failure of leadership, and that debt payments were hurting the country. LOLz

Paul-Cincy on March 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Then we have this:

McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS’ “The Early Show” that he hopes the United States, or others in the international community, supplies rebels with arms, as it once did insurgents fighting the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

And, this:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

…Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country…

We really are this stupid, aren’t we?

Fallon on March 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM

It would be fun to hear what the European “insiders” think of Barack Obama after the latest round of farcical actions, after the sophisticated Europeans went as ga-ga over him 2 1/2 years ago as the Dems and the big media on this side of the pond. Odds are the George W. Bush “Miss Me Yet?” images have been translated into several different languages by now.

jon1979 on March 26, 2011 at 10:02 AM

How does this sack of excrement look in the mirror, the lies he tells are never ending, speaking of which he’s like the kids “Never ending story” always a new lie just to get by.

tim c on March 26, 2011 at 10:03 AM

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

This video is “highly edited”. Because Obama then goes on to say:

“However, the President does have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation after obtaining the approval of the UN and then fly his family to Brazil for vacation”

See everything is copacetic…

Caper29 on March 26, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Further editing required.

Basilsbest on March 26, 2011 at 10:03 AM

“… but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again …”

Well, at least he’s not a “Troofer”, gotta give him credit for that. Many of his worshippers ARE Troofers.

Tony737 on March 26, 2011 at 9:29 AM

He’s not a Troofer, but he sure is a Doper. He – his party and the MSM – think the war which Muslims are waging around the world (which they don’t acknowledge)will be won once bin Laden is dead. They are beyond stupid.

Basilsbest on March 26, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Think Obama will try to explain these earlier statements and square them with his own actions this month?

I think we’ll hear a NewSpeak message from The Won.

In any case, hypocrisy hasn’t bothered him before, and with a complacent and compliant MSM, why should it bother him now?

GarandFan on March 26, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Weasel Zippers finds another nugget even more specific to today’s circumstances, italics in original but bolding mine:

 
Don’t you read your own comments? You’re a week late on said nugget. This quote has been floating around here since the 19th.
 
site:hotair.com search here: http://tinyurl.com/69m6g5s

rogerb on March 26, 2011 at 10:19 AM

WTF?

percysunshine on March 26, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Great takedown of the way the old liberal media is trying to rewrite history on President George W. Bush in order to make little Bammie look like a statesman: Proud DNC Affiliate, -Reuters, Describes The Libyan Coalition

slickwillie2001 on March 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I can never get away from the comparison with President Bush’s treatment in the media. This is the biggest chance to draw a comparison between Preisdent Obama and President Bush, heck, President Obama and his own words and the media is not touching it.

It’s like living in a surreal landscape.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Heck, all you have to do is tune in the insane asylum known as MSNBC on any day of the week, (provided you have a good leak-proof barf bag) and watch the Lunatic Lineup all circling the wagons around Obama and trying to compare him to Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and whoever else they can dig up, while feebly attempting to make him look like the greatest thing to ever happen to this country.

Just trying to sit through a few minutes of Hardball now can be a stomach-turning experience! Chris “Tingles” Matthhews now practically creams in his jeans at the very mention of Obama!

I thought Comcast was going to start cleaning house over there after Olbermann got the heave-ho! What happened?!!

pilamaye on March 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM

The campaign ads just keep writing themselves.

Will we have a candidate that takes advantage?

ladyingray on March 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM

This.

redwhiteblue on March 26, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Between the rocket scientists in the Administration and the LSM, I’m not sure which one is more dangerous…

Khun Joe on March 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Did Barry ever bother to pick up his transparency award from the Freedom of Information Day Conference after the ceremony was postponed?

Christien on March 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Openness for thee, none for me!

Roy Rogers on March 26, 2011 at 8:48 AM

yepper, the little hypocrit…..the lsm just staying mum about it as well….infuriating….

cmsinaz on March 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The campaign ads just keep writing themselves.

Will we have a candidate that takes advantage?

ladyingray on March 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM

question of the day….

cmsinaz on March 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM

The guy is all mouth no content. What a sad sack.

Mason on March 26, 2011 at 11:50 AM

The Charlatan in Chief is impervious to hypocrisy.

He is an impertinent extraordinaire.

The media are 100% brown from living in his ars.

Schadenfreude on March 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

He is the only president who starts a mission, gives it a few days, a week, to see how it goes, then talks about it.

U.S. America, you elected this fool, you live with him. You and the world deserve him fully.

Schadenfreude on March 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM