Airmen, sailors in Libya receiving “imminent danger pay” despite WH claim of no legal “hostilities”

posted at 10:05 pm on June 20, 2011 by Allahpundit

This is Obama’s big argument for why the War Powers Act shouldn’t apply to Libya, of course. No American is in any serious danger, therefore there aren’t really “hostilities” going on, therefore there’s no need for Congress to formally authorize the mission. In theory, by that logic, if the military developed the ability to wage war entirely via drones and other unmanned units, there’d be no limit to how broad the conflict could get before requiring congressional approval in the form of a constitutional declaration of war, an AUMF, or some lesser compromise resolution under the WPA.

So no one’s in danger in Libya — and yet, according to the Pentagon, the men there are in enough danger to warrant extra pay each month for participating in combat. Which is to say, it is a war. It’s just not … a war-war.

The Defense Department decided in April to pay an extra $225 a month in “imminent danger pay” to service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores.

That means the Pentagon has decided that troops in those places are “subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger because of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions.” There are no U.S. ground troops in Libya…

“Hostilities by remote control are still hostilities,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), normally a close Obama ally, on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” “We are killing with drones what we would otherwise be killing with fighter planes. And we are engaged in hostilities in Libya.”…

The administration’s logic has been criticized by some academic experts. They said it amounted to an argument that a battle, if won handily enough, does not amount to a battle.

The Pentagon’s being perfectly consistent on this. Jeh Johnson, their general counsel, was one of the two lawyers who warned Obama that the Libya mission did indeed rise to the level of “hostilities” for WPA purposes. Johnson even gave him advice on how to get out of that box — simply end the drone strikes and reduce the mission to one of logistical support for NATO. O said no, leaving John Yoo and Robert Delahunty to draw this unhappy conclusion:

If these are not hostilities, then what are? By Obama’s lights, President Nixon’s air campaign over Cambodia — the very kind of operation at which the WPR was aimed — would not count as “hostilities.” Nor would President Reagan’s decision to mine Nicaragua’s harbors, or President Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs fiasco. In those cases too, no U.S. ground forces were introduced; there was little to no risk of U.S. casualties; exchanges of fire were limited or non-existent. Likewise, by Obama’s test, a future president could launch multiple drone attacks on Venezuela if Hugo Chavez refused to step down — or even drop a nuclear weapon on downtown Caracas — without engaging the U.S. in “hostilities.”…

Obama’s indefensible interpretation of the WPR is transparently driven by politics. The WPR is a liberal icon, passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress over Richard Nixon’s veto in the depths of Vietnam and Watergate. Even when presidents have given it lip service, the WPR has failed in its objective of subjecting presidential war-making to tight Congressional controls. Bill Clinton’s 1999 war in Kosovo was emblematic of that failure; the sole sign of Congress’s support was a supplemental appropriation to pay for the costs of air operations. But liberals like Obama think it is useful to keep the WPR on life support — even while disregarding it themselves — in the hopes of resurrecting it against future Republican presidents. That is probably bad as politics; it is certainly contemptible as law.

Excellent point. Obama actually had a lot of options available to resolve the WPA standoff. He could have taken Johnson’s advice and scaled back the mission, which probably would have placated Boehner. He could have done what he should have done from day one, which is seek formal authorization from Congress with McCain and Graham leading the way in support on the Republican side. He could have been bold and dismissed the WPA as an unconstitutional infringement on the president’s military powers and dared Boehner to defund the mission if he opposed it that much. (Where that would leave us vis-a-vis Congress’s war power under Article I, Section 8, I have no idea.) Or he could have done what he actually did: Retain the aegis of legitimacy of the WPA while ignoring it in practice by insisting he was in compliance with it even though his own lawyers said he wasn’t. Or rather, I should say, most of his own lawyers. One of the ones who told him what he wanted to hear was Harold Koh, whose big selling point on the left when he went to work for State was that he’d, um, rein in executive power.

Exit question via Hugh Hewitt, citing Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre”: If Johnson, Eric Holder, and OLC director Caroline Krauss believe Obama is breaking the law by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya, why don’t they resign? And another question: Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Starts with an I then there`s an M, followed by Peach! WHAT`S THAT SPELL?!

ThePrez on June 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Pretzel logic. Still more lies.

HalJordan on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama lawyer-shopping bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

One day story? Some, including CNN, never even mentioned it on their web page all weekend. Haven’t seen it today either.

Crickets.

Knucklehead on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

As a retired U.S.Marine I can state that nothing sustains you more than hearing your Commander in Chief declare to Congress that you are not involved in hostilities (often a two way street).

Thank you President Dumbazz!!!

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

More golf for everyone!

SouthernGent on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Come ON, GOP, please get a grip on this guy’s continued lying and other “distortions” and do something to bring this wretched Admin. to a timely, quick conclusion.

Lourdes on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Starts with an I then there`s an M, followed by Peach! WHAT`S THAT SPELL?!

ThePrez on June 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Guillotine?

HalJordan on June 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Lourdes – First we need a GOP!

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Starts with an I then there`s an M, followed by Peach! WHAT`S THAT SPELL?!

ThePrez on June 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

G-uillotine?

HalJordan on June 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I brought the combat pay issue up here a couple of nights ago because I think it’s a big deal. Most people don’t understand all of the legal nuances involved with Libya, but everyone can understand obvious inconsistencies like this. The Administration has bungled this from the jump.

flyfisher on June 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I wonder if the Libyans considered 110 tomahawks hostile?

Sven on June 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM

“But liberals like Obama think it is useful to keep the WPR on life support — even while disregarding it themselves — in the hopes of resurrecting it against future Republican presidents. That is probably bad as politics; it is certainly contemptible as law.”

Kind of shines a light into Obowma’s dark soul…

… doesn’t it?

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM

And another question: Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama lawyer-shopping bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

I love ya, AP(in a completely hetero way of course), but you can’t seriously be this naive 2 1/2 years into the guy’s term and 4 1/2 years after his run for the Presidency began. The drive-bys will not report on anything resembling a potential scandal if it’ll reflect badly on Barry or his administration. Period. It doesn’t matter how destructive it could be for this nation or how many people get screwed in the process. Why do you think so many of us refer to them as the state run media?

Hell, it’s a minor miracle anybody’s gonna get thrown under the bus over the gunrunning fiasco. You’d think Obama would just ignore that and wait for it to blow over just like everything else.

Doughboy on June 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Wow, what’s amazing is the fact that this place is just crawling with Donk trolls trying to defend all of this.

Oh…

hawkdriver on June 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Kind of shines a light into Obowma’s dark soul…

… doesn’t it?

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM

How can you shine a light through something that doesn’t exist?

Knucklehead on June 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM

It’s just not … a war-war.

War-war….rape-rape…..is-is….liberal doubletalk.

Patrick S on June 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Obama is a deceiver, a dissembler
His Mom trousers are alight
From what pole or banner
Shall they dangle in the night?

What infernal serpent
Has lent him his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
Has all his hiding and all his whoppers sprung?

What red devil of mendacity
Grips his sick soul with such tenacity?
Will not one in a nation he so cruelly showers with lies
Put an impeachment order between his empty eyes?

PercyB on June 20, 2011 at 10:17 PM

In answer to the two exit questions: abject lack of integrity.

BKeyser on June 20, 2011 at 10:17 PM

You must be a racist.

Grunt on June 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

You know exactly why, Allah. And you also know why the Senate’s never going to hold hearings on the matter.

KingGold on June 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Law, we don’t need no stinkin’ laws

Gohawgs on June 20, 2011 at 10:19 PM

War-war….rape-rape…..is-is….liberal doubletalk.

Patrick S on June 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Barackito Obamalini, la, la, la …

HalJordan on June 20, 2011 at 10:19 PM

We got imminent danger pay off and on during the years of no-fly zone and sanctions enforcement on Saddam. Instituting it (and terminating it) is a decision for which there aren’t cut-and-dried criteria.

A more reliable association with “combat zone” — i.e., no-kidding, we-all-agree-it’s-hostilities hostilities — is when federal income tax withholding is suspended on troops’ pay while they’re deployed in the zone. (They still pay SS and Medicare.)

J.E. Dyer on June 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Obama actually had a lot of options available to resolve the WPA standoff.

I think he was hoping this would turn out to be a great foreign policy success, but with it turning out so horribly wrong, he can either begin to back track and look for “options” like those you listed or dig in. But since he’s already entering into campaign mode, the idea of a big “whoopsies” on a foreign policy adventure is simply unacceptable. So he’s going to do what the Left always thought Bush was guilty of: don’t admit error, and keep diggin’ that hole! So now he’s all in, and not even his own DoD lawyers nor his DoJ lawyers are going to change his mind.

Weight of Glory on June 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Eh, the media can skip this all they want, too many servicemen involved for Americans not to know what is going on over there.

But if Holder believes PBHO is breaking the law, does he have either the power or the duty (or both) to arrest PBHO?

Bishop on June 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM

It’s not illegal if the President does it. – Richard Milhouse Obama

HalJordan on June 20, 2011 at 10:21 PM

You know for years people that are true CONSERVATIVE have wondered…..”WHY won’t the GOP stand up to these Libs, these Progressives, these Lefties?”

Is it because the GOP is infested with Progressive BigGov loving legislators?

How else is it possible that they are utter failures at getting ANYTHING done?

5 months and what have they accomplished? Where are the glorified Tea Party Freshmen?

No wonder SoundByte Americans despise Politics so much.

PappyD61 on June 20, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Dennis Kucinich debating Professor Robert Turner, former Reagan Attorney on Constitutional Warpowers

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Kucnich-and-Turner-Debate-by-Mac-McKinney-110616-115.html

watch that before parroting Kucinich and Ron Paul’s version of the Constitution related to War Powers, Letters of Marquis, etc…

Kucinich pwned

jp on June 20, 2011 at 10:22 PM

If Johnson, Eric Holder, and OLC director Caroline Krauss believe Obama is breaking the law by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya, why don’t they resign? And another question: Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

Oh Fast and Furious is in this as well…. since Holder seem to be in about everything concerning POSOTUS!

upinak on June 20, 2011 at 10:22 PM

As a retired U.S.Marine I can state that nothing sustains you more than hearing your Commander in Chief declare to Congress that you are not involved in hostilities…

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I really don’t know if I should laugh or cry. That statement from the CIC is just so ludicrous I honestly can’t make sense of it.

Heck knowing this a$$clown, next thing you know the DOD will be proactively removing the HDP to cover his tracks.

F15Mech on June 20, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Kind of shines a light into Obowma’s dark soul…

… doesn’t it?

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM

See Obama’s moon sink down in the sky
Every dream he has spun is a lie
Here’s the one bitter lesson of Obama’s history
His soul should no longer remain a mystery
His many faces change
What you thought you knew grows ever more strange
And he has so many faces
His real self erases
With all those lies dancing in his empty eyes!

PercyB on June 20, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I can just imagine the fits going on in the White House that the liberals finally get a creature like Obowma into power…

… and they have to deal with this Internet thingy.

It’s a good thing there is always a round of golf to play with the leaders of the opposition…

… otherwise this could get serious.

/

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 10:26 PM

More golf for everyone!

SouthernGent on June 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Let them eat cake play golf!

FloatingRock on June 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Yes, but the constitution says nothing about kinetic military action.

tommer74 on June 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Exit question via Hugh Hewitt, citing Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre”: If Johnson, Eric Holder, and OLC director Caroline Krauss believe Obama is breaking the law by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya, why don’t they resign?
=========================================================
Progressives!

canopfor on June 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

And another question: Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?
===================

Worship/Re-Election MSM Strategy!

canopfor on June 20, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Kucinich pwned

jp on June 20, 2011 at 10:22 P

do you EVER comment on anything else?

Oh and what Obama is doing IS against the Constitution .
Nice try with what we will call the Kucinich fallacy.

CW on June 20, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I think it’s clear by now that he feels that he can do or say anything because the controlling authorities are either in his pocket, or will never vote to remove him, and he can depend on the press to keep the lid on.

He gets a little criticism, but I see no sign that he cares about anything or anyone besides himself. He’s an ideologue with power, a dangerous combination.

Aardvark on June 20, 2011 at 10:30 PM

In the service, you get 30 days leave per year. You can roll up 90 days before you lose it. However, in a combat zone, if you can roll up 180 days leave without losing it. (That is, six years worth of leave.)

Why do I get the feeling that some of our guys and gals might become eligible for this?

The War Planner on June 20, 2011 at 10:31 PM

The Obowmao administration first tried emulating ‘Atlas Shrugged’, now they are trying to emulate The People’s Cube, UN-freaking-believable.

Chip on June 20, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Wow, what’s amazing is the fact that this place is just crawling with Donk trolls trying to defend all of this.

Oh…

hawkdriver on June 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM

hawkdriver:I’ll send out the TROLL SIGNAL:)
==================================================

The Warriors- come out to play
*******************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXmPH2nTcac&feature=related

canopfor on June 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM

With all those lies dancing in his empty eyes!

PercyB on June 20, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I’m glad I’m not the only one to see it…

Seven Percent Solution on June 20, 2011 at 10:39 PM

O/T a bit,

OBL_DEATH CERTIFICATE
************************

http://multimedia.ekstrabladet.dk/archive/00676/obl-dead-claim_676203a.pd

canopfor on June 20, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

gotta get him another 4 years don’cha know….

the outrage if a gop pres did this…bloody infuriating…

cmsinaz on June 20, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Doughboy on June 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM

well said doughboy….well said

cmsinaz on June 20, 2011 at 10:48 PM

gotta get him another 4 years don’cha know….

the outrage if a gop pres did this…bloody infuriating…

cmsinaz on June 20, 2011 at 10:46 PM

cmsinaz:Maddening it is:)

canopfor on June 20, 2011 at 11:02 PM

CW on June 20, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I suppose you didn’t watch Professor Turner, Reagan’s lawyer on this subject, tear Kucinich’s position apart

jp on June 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM

In theory, by that logic, if the military developed the ability to wage war entirely via drones and other unmanned units, there’d be no limit to how broad the conflict could get before requiring congressional approval in the form of a constitutional declaration of war, an AUMF, or some lesser compromise resolution under the WPA.

In theory, by that logic, Obama could launch nuclear-tipped ICBMs and cruise missiles at another country and it wouldn’t qualify as “hostilities”.

Socratease on June 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM

A more reliable association with “combat zone” — i.e., no-kidding, we-all-agree-it’s-hostilities hostilities — is when federal income tax withholding is suspended on troops’ pay while they’re deployed in the zone. (They still pay SS and Medicare.)

J.E. Dyer on June 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Agreed, but in my opinion, any man or woman who puts on that uniform, whether in combat or not, shouldn’t have to pay a single dollar in taxes on their (inadequate) income anyway. And that the extra pay for combat/danger assignments is a whopping $225 per month is a disgrace. These people put their asses on the line every day and night so that we can sleep softly in our beds and hug and kiss our family each morning, before going to our safe little jobs that involve no conflict, hardship, or hassle in comparison.

TXUS on June 20, 2011 at 11:12 PM

“Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?” /// Because its Obama. Bad news relating to The One gets reported once if at all. Especially something that would have legs were it a Republican.

sbvft contributor on June 20, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Starts with an I then there`s an M, followed by Peach! WHAT`S THAT SPELL?!

ThePrez on June 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Uh, blame George Bush?

manwithblackhat on June 20, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Flashback, shall we?

Not defending or supporting the Bush admin as I feel the invasion of Iraq was wrong for so many reasons but I have to post this as a non-partisan, centrist:

Quotes from Democrats about WMD

1. “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

Quoted on CNN

2. “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.” — President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

Quoted on CNN

3. Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.” — Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

Transcript of remarks made at a Town Hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio — from USIA

4. “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.” — Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb 18, 1998

Transcript of remarks made at a Town Hall Meeting in Columbus, Ohio — From USIA

5. “We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.” — Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D — MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998

See letter to Clinton by Levin, Daschle, Kerry and others

6. “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

Statement by Rep. Nancy Pelosi — House of Representatives website

7. “Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.” — Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

Answer to a question at the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs

8. “There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” — Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

Letter to President George W. Bush signed by 9 Congressmen, including Democrats Harold Ford, Jr., Joseph Lieberman, and Benjamin Gilman.

9. ” We should be hell bent on getting those weapons of mass destruction, hell bent on having a credible approach to them, but we should try to do it in a way which keeps the world together and that achieves our goal which is removing the… defanging Saddam..” — Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Dec. 9, 2002

Online with Jim Lehrer — Public Broadcasting Service

10. “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

Transcript of Gore’s speech, printed in USA Today

11. “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

Transcript of Gore’s speech, printed in USA Today

12. “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

U.S. Senate — Ted Kennedy

13. “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…” — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

Congressional Record — Robert Byrd

14. “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.” —Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9,2002

Congressional Record — Sen. John F. Kerry

15. “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years .. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. Jay Rockefeller

16. “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

Congressional Record — Rep. Henry Waxman

17. “In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad. In the 4 years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

“It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein wiill continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East which, as we know all too well, affects American security.”
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. Hillary Clinton

18. “The Joint Chiefs should provide Congress with casualty estimates for a war in Iraq as they have done in advance of every past conflict. These estimates should consider Saddam’s possible use of chemical or biological weapons against our troops.

“Unlike the gulf war, many experts believe Saddam would resort to chemical and biological weapons against our troops in a desperate -attempt to save his regime if he believes he and his regime are ultimately threatened.”
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Oct. 8, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. Ted Kennedy

19. “There is one thing we agree upon, and that is that Saddam Hussein is an evil man. He is a tyrant. He has used chemical and biological weapons on his own people. He has disregarded United Nations resolutions calling for inspections of his capabilities and research and development programs. His forces regularly fire on American and British jet pilots enforcing the no-fly zones in the north and south of his country. And he has the potential to develop and deploy nuclear weapons… — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. Bob Graham

20. But inspectors have had a hard time getting truthful information from the Iraqis they interview. Saddam Hussein terrorizes his people, including his weapons scientists, so effectively that they are afraid to be interviewed in private, let alone outside the country. They know that even the appearance of cooperation could be a death sentence for themselves or their families.

“To overcome this obstacle, and to discover and dismantle Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC and the IAEA must interview relevant persons securely and with their families protected, even if they protest publicly against this treatment. Hans Blix may dislike running ”a defection agency,’ but that could be the only way to obtain truthful information about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction — Sen. Joseph Biden

Congressional Record — Sen. Joseph Biden

21. “With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), October 9, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. John F. Kerry

22. “Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.

“Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council. It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf war and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. — Sen. John Edwards, October 10, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. John Edwards

ProudPalinFan on June 20, 2011 at 11:50 PM

If these are not hostilities, then what are? By Obama’s lights, President Nixon’s air campaign over Cambodia the very kind of operation at which the WPR was aimed — would not count as “hostilities.”

….and you can add to that this administrations attempt to declare a “victory” in Afghanistan will lower the bar so low that Vietnam will look like a smashing success.

by that logic, if the military developed the ability to wage war entirely via drones and other unmanned units, there’d be no limit to how broad the conflict could get before requiring congressional approval in the form of a constitutional declaration of war,

Which is why we are not seeing a whole lot of outrage coming from the Hill on this Libya disaster.
Most liberals are willing to call this war a “kinetic military operation” if it protects Obama and helps deflect their pathetic hypocrisy.
I am afraid Republicans are looking at the abuses of power Obama is getting away with and salivating at the prospects of what they will be able to get away with once the power pendulum changes.

If Johnson, Eric Holder, and OLC director Caroline Krauss believe Obama is breaking the law by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya, why don’t they resign?

Because they are liberals.Ideology and the success of their agenda trumps all.
We have “feminist” having no problem with successful women being called “whores”..”B!tches”… “sluts” while they support the Wieners and Clinton’s out there because in the end…they advance their agenda….
….We have the anti-war crowd supporting and cheering on Wars of choice without Congressional approval..Rendition,NSA wiretapping,Indefinite detention,assassination teams,and Gitmo because if they took it to the streets..it would hurt Obama and the chances of advancing their agenda.
In Liberal land..the end justifies the means.

Baxter Greene on June 21, 2011 at 12:40 AM

So no one’s in danger in Libya — and yet, according to the Pentagon, the men there are in enough danger to warrant extra pay each month for participating in combat. Which is to say, it is a war. It’s just not … a war-war.

Ah, not exactly. Technically Obama is correct.

“What is Imminent Danger/Hostile Fire Pay?
There is also Imminent Danger or Hostile Fire Pay is paid when service members serve within an officially declared “imminent danger” area and this pay does not require the service member to be committed to combat but to be on official duty in this type of area. They receive an additional $225 month. Service members who unexpectedly come under hostile fire in a foreign country are also entitled to this special pay in the same month.”

These areas include (for Ship’s company sailors)

Persian Gulf• — sea and airspace
Gulf of Aden• — sea
Gulf of Oman• — sea
Arabian Sea• (north of 10°N latitude, west of 68°E longitude — sea
Red Sea• — sea
Somalia Basin• — sea

Basically if ya put a box over the entire Middle East it is ALL rated as “Imminent Danger” zones

Land and airspace “Imminent Danger” zones. These are the ones listed that I know where they are.

Somalia• — land and airspace
Sudan — land and airspace
Syria• — land
Turkey — land
United Arab Emirates• — land
Yemen• — land
Egypt — land
Iran — land
Iraq• — land and airspace
Israel — land
Jordan• — land
Kuwait• — land and airspace
Lebanon — land
Oman• — land
Pakistan• — land
Qatar• — land and airspace
Saudi Arabia• — land and airspace

DSchoen on June 21, 2011 at 12:55 AM

The photo you have on the lead page for this post…Obama looks like he has horns on his head.

Lourdes on June 21, 2011 at 3:59 AM

I just love it when someone looks at something and says …

“Aha! We have now BUSTED Obama with irrefutable logic!”

This latest episode of “busted” is based on the military’s imminent danger pay.

Uhm … be careful there – you may find out that imminent danger pay isn’t quite as “imminently dangerous” as you’d think the term suggests.

ID pay applies to anyone transiting through the Persian Gulf – and we’re not exactly “at war” or even engaged in hostilities with any of the nations bordering on the Persian Gulf.

Obama doesn’t need Congressional approval to move a ship through the Persian Gulf.

The only thing that ID pays about the troops engaged in Libya operations is that they are operating in an area where a threat exists. Hell, there IS a civil war going on and we know that Al Qaida is there – so any ship’s crew operating around Libya would be faced with the threat of attack.

“Aha! But isn’t that enough to PROVE our point!!??”

Uhm no …

Your ULTIMATE point goes to the war powers act – and this does nothing to prove that Obama is violating that. In fact, Sailors transiting for harmless reasons off the coast of Somalia get ID duty pay. Troops stationed in Bahrain – even before 9-11 – received ID pay. None of those involved the US engaging in “hostilities”.

HondaV65 on June 21, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

yeah, really. Didn’t his own AG state that lawyers are the biggest counter terrorism effort in the country?

ted c on June 21, 2011 at 5:41 AM

So PBHO himself put paid to that War Powers dodge of his. Congress should defund this travesty ASAP.

MJBrutus on June 21, 2011 at 6:24 AM

Barack Obama is awesome. An awesome liar.

Basilsbest on June 21, 2011 at 6:39 AM

I think the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. If I remember correctly Reagan was accused of being in violation of the WPA three times during his two terms.

As for them receiving hazard pay…well..so what? I mean I guess I am just not getting something here. We bombed Libya before, was that a war? What about Operation Preying Mantis in the late 80s when the US Navy sank about half the Iranian Navy? Or what about Somalia? Were the Rangers that were killed receiving hazard pay? What about military operations in Honduras, Panama, and Grenada?…when Clinton ordered the cruise missile attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan no such pay was necessary…that is one thing about the drone attacks, they don’t need combat pay. But if you are on the business end of one of them, I bet it seems like war. So are we at war in Pakistan?

I think we have had so many of these military operations over the years that the whole concept of what is and is not a war is now up for debate, but it does not change the fact that Congress ultimately has the option to cut off funding. They are not just helpless by standers. My guess is that if he really needs to get this support from Congress he can, but if the mission is not worthwhile, if getting Gaddafi out of there is not important, why did so many people on the right support this whole up front? I can remember them treating Obama like a wimp because he did not jump right in there. And now, there is Bachmann and some others on the right doing everything short of saying hell no we won’t go we won’t fight for Exxon oil.

Obama messed this up by not being more aggressive when Gaddafi was at his weakest. He screwed around and let it drag on to long. But that does not mean that the War Powers Act is anymore constitutional now than it was when Reagan told them to go pound sand.

Terrye on June 21, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Obama messed this up by not being more aggressive when Gaddafi was at his weakest. He screwed around and let it drag on to long. But that does not mean that the War Powers Act is anymore constitutional now than it was when Reagan told them to go pound sand.

Terrye on June 21, 2011 at 6:58 AM

You did great until this paragraph. PBHO messed this up by getting us involved at all. We have no national interest to justify going to undeclared kinetic whatever with Libya. What happened to the dude who campaigned on “not meddling in the internal affairs of other nations?” He’s turned in to a blood-crazed berserker, dropping hurt from above at the drop of a hat.

MJBrutus on June 21, 2011 at 7:04 AM

They had better not let this guy off the hook. He’s living in some kind of bizarro world where up is down and right is wrong.

rplat on June 21, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Just keep repeating this back to the libs…over and over again.

“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.”

Sen. Barrack Obama – December 20, 2007

Trafalgar on June 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

That is strange, becuase Jon Stewart has assured me that the media is generally non-partisan in its quest to find attention-grabbing material just like that…

BlueCollarAstronaut on June 21, 2011 at 8:53 AM

It’s just not … a war-war.

There is no such thing as a “war-war”, anymore than there is such a thing as being “a little bit pregnant”.

The problem with Obama is that his “military” experience probably came from playing with GI-Joe action figures when he was a kid.

This idiot is putting soldiers in harms way and he doesn’t even have a plan for how or why or what!

pilamaye on June 21, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Why is the media treating Friday night’s Obama-ignoring-his-own-lawyers bombshell as if it’s a one-day story?

Is that what they call a rhetorical question?

jnelchef on June 21, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Exit question via Hugh Hewitt, citing Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre”: If Johnson, Eric Holder, and OLC director Caroline Krauss believe Obama is breaking the law by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya, why don’t they resign?

Being a liberal means never saying you’re sorry.

They have plenty of opportunities to do so, considering that they’re wrong all of the time, but that also gives them some built-in immunity/resistance to the notion of admitting it or behaving like a civilized human being in possession of two brain cells and a modicum of integrity.

Midas on June 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

If it involves killing people and things that go boom and it’s not a training exercise it’s “hostilities” plain and simple. Obama must be impeached for this and his other misdeeds. We cannot afford to let a POTUS do this regardless of his ideology. The Commander-in-chief makes sure wars are prosecuted efficiently, he does not start them on whims, particularly whims of other nations not attacking us.

{+_+}

herself on June 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM

If an American aircraft goes down and the crew is injured or killed, will they (or their heirs) be receiving Purple Hearts?

If the answer yes (and it is yes), than I think the question here is already clearly answered.

Professor Blather on June 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM

This thread has a lot of well thought out and logical posts.

Let me break it down to the simplest explanation.

Until one of our service members is killed in action (as a parent of a soldier that was a very difficult thing to type) Obama will continue to skate by on his ludicrous legal argument on the definition of hostilities.

War waged by robots, while it keeps our people safer, allows unscrupulous cowards (like what we have in the White House) to avoid responsibility for their actions.

walkingboss on June 21, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Barry is purposefully orchestrating this kabuki theatre.

Obama wants to provoke this crisis. Obama is allied with the Paulian-Kookcynic bloc in crafting this cynical hawk trap.

Barry is instigating “both sides” outrage over mission creep– all the better to push new binding legislation on any future POTUS.

Progressives and neo-isolationist libertarians both desire cynical restraints on American power enacted by Congress. Imagine America reduced to defending ourselves with a pre-WWII Polish Legislature-in-Chief.

Will conservatives see this trap and counter it?

Terp Mole on June 21, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Blather blathered: If an American aircraft goes down and the crew is injured or killed, will they (or their heirs) be receiving Purple Hearts?

Off-duty military personnel– massacred with 270 other innocents at Lockerbie on Clipper Maid of the Seas– received the Purple Heart (post-humously).

You can’t have it both ways, Professor. Either Lockerbie was a casus bellum against America– in which case no additional declaration is required (now that Libya’s Justice Minister confirmed Kaddafi personally ordered the attack)– or your Purple Heart criteria is rendered meaningless.

Don’t be a Kaddafi-kuddling appeasenik your whole life.

Terp Mole on June 21, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Did anyone really imagine The Obamateur would invoke Article 51 and dust off Reagan’s speech?

He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong.

The Obamateur sees Libya as a community in desperate need of organizing– and NATO as union thug enforcers.

Terp Mole on June 21, 2011 at 2:18 PM

binky reflexively apes Louis Farrakhan;

“Who the hell does he think he is?”

Terp Mole on June 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM