Analysis: The Alice in Wonderland Defense
Vol: 117 Issue: 16 Thursday, June 16, 2011
The War Powers Act of 1973 was intended to put a check on presidential powers to commit US forces to an armed conflict without first consulting Congress. Under the Constitution, the power to make war is divided between the Congress and the Executive.
Following World War II the United States found itself locked in long periods of intense conflict in places like Korea and Vietnam. During the Nixon administration, Congressional Democrats used the unpopularity of the Vietnam War to push the Act through both Houses.
When it got to his desk, Nixon vetoed it and sent it back to Congress. By a two-thirds vote in each House, Congress overrode the veto and the War Powers Act became law. The War Powers Act gives the president sixty days in which to either petition Congress for a declaration of war or withdraw US troops.
Before committing US forces, President Barack Obama consulted with — and obtained approval from — the United Nations and the Arab League.
Obama did not consult the US Congress before committing US forces to combat. On May 20, 2011 the United States marked sixty days since combat operations began against Libya.
Obama told the Congress that since the US transferred leadership to NATO and since there were no US troops on the ground, Congressional authorization wasn’t necessary. Obama argued that, as president, he could initiate “intervention” on his own authority.
Libya, he argued, was different because of its nature, scope and duration. In other words, it wasn’t a war, although the administration stopped short of calling it what it actually is — presidential adventurism of the exact sort that prompted the passage of the War Powers Act in the first place.
Jack L. Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, said the Obama theory would set a precedent expanding future presidents’ unauthorized war-making powers, especially given the rise of remote-controlled combat technology.
“The administration’s theory implies that the president can wage war with drones and all manner of offshore missiles without having to bother with the War Powers Resolution’s time limits,” Mr. Goldsmith said.
On June 3 the Congress officially rebuked Obama. On Monday, Speaker of the House John Boehner sent a letter to the President telling him he was in violation of the War Powers Act.
On Wednesday ten lawmakers, led by Dennis Kucinich [D-Oh] filed a lawsuit, asking the third branch of government to rein in the Executive by ordering Obama to pull out of Libya because Congress didn’t authorize it.
In March, while on vacation in South America, President Obama ordered US involvement in Libya, following consultations with the Arab League and the UN.
Nine days later and while speaking from another country, the President had still not consulted with Congress when he brought it to the people:
“When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act,” the president said.
Obama made the case that Khadafy was a ruthless ruler, who vowed “no mercy” on his own protesting countrymen.”
“We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen.”
There were but two problems with Obama’s reasoning. The first is that America’s national interests were not at stake, even peripherally. That was a lie.
Secondly, if saving foreign civilians from slaughter by dictators is in our national interest, why haven’t we gone after President Bashar Assad of Syria? We have a much greater national interest in Syria, where Assad is actively seeking nukes, than we do in Libya, which surrendered its nuclear program in 2003.
On February 20, when Obama first involved the US in Libya, he argued that it was because Khadafy was ‘massacring” civilians, after reports of nearly 100 deaths in two weeks of protest.
At last count, Assad had killed almost two thousand unarmed civilian protestors by firing live ammunition into crowds from helicopter gunships or using snipers to pick people off out of the crowd.
Not only has Obama not threatened the use of force in Syria, the administration has made a strenuous effort to look the other way, in much the same way Obama tried not to notice Iran’s brutalization of its own protestors in 2009.
So now that the Speaker of the House has demanded that the Obama White House justify its war in Libya, the White House must either withdraw from Libya or request Congressional authorization.
The Congress never anticipated Obama trotting out the Alice in Wonderland defense . . .
“War? There’s a war in Libya?”
Let me get something out of the way early on. I have no objection to the removal of Muammar Khadafy – I welcome the prospect of a new Libyan leader whose name is only spelled one way.
But the White House is openly lying when it comes to Libya. In 2003, George Bush was accused of lying about Iraq’s WMD program even though it was impossible for Bush to know the truth until we got to Baghdad.
The charge stuck, and George Bush was forever branded a liar. Worldwide protests ensued; everybody learned a new English term, “No Blood for Oil” and morphing George Bush into Adolf Hitler became so commonplace that the real Bush started to look odd without his mustache.
Obama is actually lying, since he does know better. The war in Libya has probably the weakest justification ever presented by an American president.
No US interests are at stake. For reasons nobody has articulated, Obama apparently deems Libyan civilians superior to Syrian civilians, which is why Khadafy killing hundreds of Libyans is grounds for war — but Assad massacring thousands of Syrians is not.
Moammar Khadfy is an evil guy who deserves to be removed from the planet. But removing Khadafy is not part of our official mission. What exactly, is our official mission? Nobody really knows, including the administration.
“The White House strongly denied that regime change is part of its mission after a statement earlier in the day characterized the goal there as “installing a democratic system.”
But according to the Secretary of State, that isn’t our mission at all, since installing a democratic system means first removing the system in place.
“Clinton said the United Nations resolution authorizing force against Gadhafi was broad, but included nothing “about getting rid of anybody.”
The democratic system the White House hopes to install and the State Department doesn’t must needs be installed by the rebel forces NATO is fighting to defend while refusing to acknowledge.
The White House just announced that Obama has authorized some $25,000,000.00 in non-lethal aid and $53,000,000.00 in humanitarian aid to Libyan rebel forces.
This on top of the fact that America is now paying out just over nine million dollars a day supporting the Libyan rebels — and we haven’t a clue who they are.
“Despite financially backing the opposition, the White House says questions about who exactly the rebels are and their long-term objectives are keeping the U.S. from recognizing the Council as the legitimate Libyan government.”
Here is what we do know, for sure. Many of the rebel groups are openly and vocally members of al-Qaeda. And there are whole detachments of rebels who claim loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood.
PLUS, this is either War #3 or War #4 depending on where you count from. (America is also involved in Yemen’s civil war and yes, we have boots on the ground there and no, the Congress hasn’t authorized it.)
And so now, to the Big Question.
Where are all the antiwarriors now? Did they all move to Canada? Where is Code Pink? Where is Cindy Sheehan? Where are all the scary signs? Where’s the passion? Where are the pictures of the bombed-out monuments to American imperialism?
During the Bush years, antiwar protests were measured by the tens of thousands who attended, up to the end of 2008. After Obama was elected, most of the antiwarriors apparently decided they weren’t against war, after all.
On October 7, 2009, an antiwar protest in Chicago marking the start of our seventh year in Afghanistan only drew 107 protestors. In Obama’s home town!
It is important to remember that since Obama ramped up the Afghanistan war, American fatalities there have been increasing steadily. But you won’t hear statistics like that from the antiwar crowd — not anymore.
During the Bush years, Nancy Pelosi vigorously opposed funding both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that Obama is in office, Pelosi likes war. She voted to increase troops for Afghanistan. She has kept silent about Libya and Yemen, leaving the protests to more principled members.
The hypocrisy of the Left is beyond stunning. It never had anything to do with principles. Never, ever. For the antiwar leaders, it had everything to do with politics. The rank and file protestors proved themselves, as we said back then, to be nothing more than useful idiots of the Marxist Left.
Now that the Marxist Left is controlling the White House, the useful idiots are more useful as pro-war cheerleaders.
In his first letter to Timothy, Paul employed an unusual choice of words to preface his prophecy concerning the last days of the Church Age, saying, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly . . .”
That word, “expressly” (rhetos) carries with it a special sense of urgency – this is something that the Holy Spirit specifically wanted us to see.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
Like Code Pink. Like Nancy Pelosi. Like George Soros. Like Barack Obama. And like those that follow them. And unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”