Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Constitutional Meltdown Continues

Military action continues in Libya, despite the 60 day limit allowed by the 1973 War Powers Resolution. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has criticized legislators for avoiding confrontation with the President on the issue, saying Congress has become “not even a rubber stamp, but an irrelevancy”.

Tell us something new. Since being intimidated by Bush and Cheney’s “unitary executive” seizure of powers to make war, Congress has continued to abdicate its Constitutional duty.

Paul said, “The real hypocrisy of the conservative movement is that they claim to be such fans of the rule of law. But they sure aren’t willing to follow it, when it comes to how we go to war.”

I applaud him for this, and furthermore I’d substitute the word liberal for conservative and send the same message. We are suffering some serious Constitutional meltdown here, and both parties are to blame.

8 comments:

T. Paine said...

The only difference is that Bush at least got congressional approval. Obama has not. It still does not excuse Bush or congress for not making a constitutional official declaration of war though.

I basically find myself in agreement with you, yet again, Dave. We really have to stop doing this. People might begin to think you are an evil conservative! :)

S.W. Anderson said...

The War Powers Act needs work to accommodate police-type actions such as this. Especially when undertaken in concert with allies.

Libya didn't attack the U.S. It doesn't threaten a vital U.S. interest. The U.S. has no desire or intention to invade. So, it's hard to make a rational case in the form of a war declaration, IMO.

Politically, attempting that would be a very bad career move for the president.

Then again, backing off and standing by while the rebels get slaughtered doesn't seem right, and most Americans would be appalled. The prospect of Libya being taken over by a new dictator, perhaps worse than Gadhafi, is vrey unappetizing. The possibility of Libya becoming a base of operations for al Qaeda is even worse.

I admit to having mixed feelings about this. I want the Constitution and War Powers Act followed. I don't want another all-out war. Yet I find the outcomes I mentioned unacceptable.

Dave, if Obama called on you for advice, what would you tell him?

T. Paine said...

Anderson, you bring up excellent points. The problem is exactly that. Some of the Libyan rebels we are helping have ties to the Muslim brotherhood leadership. I am not sure in the long term that we are helping our interests by helping the rebels.

This is one fight we should have stayed out of altogether.

I see now where we are also involved with drone attacks and bombings in Yemen. What the hell is President Obama doing?!?!

Dave Dubya said...

SW,
There are easy answers, but no easy solutions. The easy answer is no military intervention, unless we are directly threatened.

The other easy answer is we should protect "freedom fighters" everywhere.

Neither of these answers offer practical solutions to the complexities on the ground. In fact, it is often difficult enough to grasp the reality within these complexities.

Advice for Obama? He should read our blogs. I'm only half joking here.

He should have taken a page from the Bush/Cheney playbook in rallying the public and Congress to the cause. If he had, we'd have been bombarded with slogans like, "(Fill-in-Dictator) is another Hitler" and "(Fill-in-Dictator) murders his own people and is a threat to his neighbors and all humanity". He could have at least hammered on the Lockerbie incident to support the case for Khadafy’s removal.

The problem is we are still cozy with other dictators.

He needed to demonstrate how this action is required for our national security, or at least vital to our economic interests. He could have then paved the way to congressional authorization. Without public and congressional support, he has no "legal" basis. Sure, he may have good intentions, but we all know where those take us.

S.W. Anderson said...

Paine wrote: "Some of the Libyan rebels we are helping have ties to the Muslim brotherhood leadership."

Libyan rebels were probably sick enough of living under Gadhafi that they have "ties" with any person or group they think will help them throw off his dictatorship. That doesn't make the rebellion a Muslim Brotherhood production.

Several rebel groups trying to throw off dictators during the Cold War had communists and socialists in their ranks but didn't end up being communist or socialist countries. These things often aren't simple black-vs.-white conflicts.

Mary Mayhem said...

I'm not understanding Obama either. On one hand, he acted in Libya, which was multilateral, and falls perfectly into the whole liberal school of thought, as far as international politics are concerned (not national). Yes he probably should have consulted with congress, but we are progressing towards a more global society, which includes international security, and Obama is a supposed institutionalist.

But anyway, in complete contrast, he allows these CIA drone attacks, unilateral missions, highly criticized by the UN (almost like a slap in the face to the UN) and international community, which fall into some messed up amalgamation of the realist/neo-liberal school of thought. What are his intentions? What is the goal? It depends on what you believe. Are we doing this to make our country more secure? More profitable?

Is THIS really Woodrow Wilson's idea of "Democracy Promotion"?

Dave Dubya said...

Mary,
Nobody gets into the White House without deference to the Military Industrial Complex. There are no more "peace presidents". We never even hear the word "peace" from politicians anymore. Obama must demonstrate a certain level of bellicosity just to keep the job, I’m afraid. We are an empire, after all.

Weaseldog said...

Libya is about oil, the rest of it's a smokescreen.

And don't get fooled by the notion that we're at war to steal the oil. That's not why we fight for oil. We fight, so that our Arab friends can control the oil and make more money. We do it, because our politicians love the money that their Arab friends give them.

T. Paine, as I watch conservatives in action, it's clear to me that they stand for maximizing spending for wars, oil and bankers, while eliminating revenue.

The differ from liberals in that liberals lie about it more.

I don't think Dave is promoting the notion of infinite borrowing and spending, while earning nothing by doing nothing.