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Libya And The Power Of The President

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook

With Congress pushing back on military action in Libya, we’ll look at the debate over how the nation goes to war.

Rebel fighters fire a Grad rocket at the front line west of Misrata, Libya, on June 20, 2011. (AP)

Rebel fighters fire a Grad rocket at the front line west of Misrata, Libya, on June 20, 2011. (AP)

It’s now been a hundred days that the United States and its allies have been bombing Libya.
To some in Washington, that means the operation is illegal. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 says presidents need congressional authorization to be at war this long.

President Obama says Libya is not a real war. But getting rid of Moammar Gaddhafi is harder than the White House expected.

This hour On Point: Should the US Congress have a say in how far we go in Libya? Debating War Powers.

-Tom Gjelten

Guests:

Jack Goldsmith, professor of law at Harvard University, who also writes at the Lawfare blog. He was assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004 and special counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003.

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is also the author of “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security – From World War II to the War on Terrorism.”

Nancy Youssef, Pentagon correspondent, McClatchy Newspapers

Rep. Jim Moran, has represented Viriginia’s 8th district in Northern Virginia since 1991.

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  • Roger Runnalls

    The nation goes to war however and whenever it wants in order to maintain its strategic interests and the interests of the multinational corporations it serves.  The 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia.  Why not bomb and invade them?  Because they offer easy access to their oil.  Iraq did not and look what happened to Saddam.  Why were Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al itching to get at Iran?  To spread democracy?  Bullshit!  Obama supported Hosni Mubarak until the end when it became clear he had to go.  He was a suppressive dictator but  compliant to our needs.  Gaddafi was not.  Why was JFK assassinated?  Because he had such an obsession with killing Castro that the CIA judged him too reckless and at risk of starting WW3.  War is good for business, but World War 3 is not, so the CIA will not let that outcome happen. Why not speak the truth and do a program about the fascist nation we have become.  Noam Chomsky can be your first guest.  Do you have the guts Tom?  I think not.

    • Zing

      Check out OP 09/28/10, peep.

    • Cory

      I’m tempted to offer you an ale or lager of your choosing, but it’s just a little too early!

      Seriously though…  The situation you describe is the outcome of a civilization fueled by unbidled greed.  If we truly can’t do any better, this will be our fate.

      • Cory

        …and that should have said “unbridled”.

  • alan/London

    The International Court of Justice in the Hague has signed the death warrant for the Gadaffi family as I am sure Mr. Blair, Mandelson, Lord Rothschild, BP and plenty of other high profile members of the Western business elite would not want the dirty laundry coming out in a courtroom.

    • http://www.bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

      The Saddam “trial” had plenty of dirty laundry to air, yet as far as I know, none of it has been made public.  We couldn’t hang that former Kurd-gassing-ally-turned-next-Hitler fast enough.

  • PeterDurgen

    Is it true that right before America attacked to “overthrow” Gadaffi, Mr. Gadaffi was making comments like “Palestinians should rise up and follow the Egypt example and collectively fight against their occupiers”.

    If that is true, then here is the explanation why we “illegally” are bombing the crap out of Libya, using excuses that just are not true.

    Don’t you dare talk against Tel-Aviv.

    • Cory

      Because the Palestinians needed the encouragement and authorization of the dictator of Libya to take violent action against Israel.  Your assertion is weak by any reasonable measure.

  • Cory

    The terrible precedent set with the Korean police action still haunts us today.  I’m sure at that time it didn’t seem like a big deal, but here we sit engaged in two and a half undeclared wars.  If  congress had to vote up or down today on all three of our current conflicts, does anyone believe we’d still be involved in any of them?  Ask yourself the same question about a national referendum.

    Congress wouldn’t keep us there, nor would the American people.  This presidential abuse really needs to be stopped.  No more undeclared wars begun at the whim of a president alone.

  • Cory

    The terrible precedent set with the Korean police action still haunts us today.  I’m sure at that time it didn’t seem like a big deal, but here we sit engaged in two and a half undeclared wars.  If  congress had to vote up or down today on all three of our current conflicts, does anyone believe we’d still be involved in any of them?  Ask yourself the same question about a national referendum.

    Congress wouldn’t keep us there, nor would the American people.  This presidential abuse really needs to be stopped.  No more undeclared wars begun at the whim of a president alone.

  • wauch

    Barack Obama has officially become his predecessor and succumbed to the powers of the Military Industrial Complex. It is sad and it was predictable. The forces arrayed against peace and for hegemony are extremely strong and must be “outed” by the likes of this show and large-scale media outlets. We need to stop cowering in the face of our military leaders as they are not omniscient and quite volatile. I find it amazing that Boehner et al are all of a sudden upset about a president abusing his war powers imprimatur. Where were they when we were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis along with thousands of our own young men and women in the name of the War On Terror and Weapons of Mass Destruction. This flipflopping in the republican party is insulting and criminal.

    • ThresherK

      I don’t think he’s succumbed to this about Libya.

      Yet I do want an apology from every newly-emboldened stand-up-to-war Republican who was calling Hans Blix and Scott Ritter traitors back in the day.
      Maybe if we offered to snort yellowcake and go down on refined aluminum tubes that would bring the GOP around.

  • Michael

    As a British commentator on the bbc so easier pointed out. That if we’re going to charge Gaddafi for War Crimes we should also charge the rebels for there own war crimes(rape,torture and starvation of African immigrants) as well as other countries that have committed such as well otherwise it looks like the ICC is being used as a political tool. The S.A. president made a similar statement after the hack that is Clinton gave her little speech about freedom and democracy.

  • Michael

    As for the french,

    Why France Was So Keen to Attack Libya
    http://www.hudson-ny.org/1983/france-libya-attack

    Aircraft carrier left us to die, say migrants

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/08/nato-ship-libyan-migrants

    BTW in the U.N. report on WC and HRV the rebels are included yet omitted by most of the U.S. press(including NPR who still refuses to report anything bad about these rebels)

  • Michael

    As for the french,

    Why France Was So Keen to Attack Libya
    http://www.hudson-ny.org/1983/france-libya-attack

    Aircraft carrier left us to die, say migrants

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/08/nato-ship-libyan-migrants

    BTW in the U.N. report on WC and HRV the rebels are included yet omitted by most of the U.S. press(including NPR who still refuses to report anything bad about these rebels)

  • Michael

    I stated this before and needs repeating again for all those die hard supporters of Obama’s action,

    As for Libya,

    Yes be ashamed since

    - The AU did not suppor tit
    -
    The Arab League (funny enough spearheaded by the Hezbollah lead
    government, clearly reverse these-selves when it was regime change not a
    NFZ
    -Qatar which actually supports it and demonstrators to protest
    disallows the same thing and would use the same actions in libya against
    there own people
    - Was stated it would take days not weeks or months.
    -Protecting
    civilians and a NFZ now includes gunship style helicopters and of
    course is killing those same civilians there supposed to be protecting
    -U.N. has reported rebels have been torturing and killing Africans of Libyan origin, including rape.
    -Rebels actually have (what one would considered terrorist anywhere else) in there new (sic) government.
    -How does it feel knowing clinton is using the same tatics and actions the bush admin did for critics of the war in iraq?
    -Also if you shouldn’t be ashamed by now just look at the actions in syria, bahrain,yeman and S.A. same if not worst.

    Glen Greenward addresses some of the above,

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/06/24/clinton/index.html

    • Ellen Dibble

      So “just look at … Syria, Bahrain, Yemen…”
      What should be the United Nations stance on those nations?  Or the Arab nations’, or the Arab oil union, whatever it calls itself now, or the oil cartels here and abroad?
          How does South Africa come in?
         What is WC and HRV in your post immediately below?
          What should diplomacy be doing vis-a-vis the current regime in Libya; should diplomacy address the interests of those challenging the Libyan regime (the not-really-so-democratic regime)?

      • Michael

        “What should be the United Nations stance on those nations?”

        Pretty clear one would assume. If killing civilians in such a manner calls for a NFZ (more obviously now) than it should apply to all countries that violate such. As for diplomacy any attempts or halts civilians deaths have been opposed by those rebels, you can find on the bbc rebels actually calling for bombing and more civilians deaths if they can win(even when the reporter was trying to sheer them away from such comments)

        The A.U. has mutiple times attempted such while the U.S. and the Nato lead (sic) protecting civilians mission rejected such for more suffering. HRW-Human Rights Watch.

        As for South Africa, google the presidents response to SOS Clinton speech in africa, also google the A.U. attempts at brokering a peace deal or for Gadafi to leave.

    • Dpweber83

      “-U.N. has reported rebels have been torturing and killing Africans of Libyan origin, including rape.”

      They say the same thing about Qaddafi’s forces.  What’s your point?

      “-Also if you shouldn’t be ashamed by now just look at the actions in syria, bahrain,yeman and S.A. same if not worst.”

      Why?  Because we do one good thing, we’re required to do that same good thing everywhere?

      Outstanding arguments, buddy…

      -dan
      Boston, MA

      • Michael

        “They say the same thing about Qaddafi’s forces.  What’s your point?”

        Ones clearly reported while the other is not.

        “Why?  Because we do one good thing, we’re required to do that same good thing everywhere?”

        Of course if we state such evil will not be allowed and makes our whole case on such good where doing while ignoring the same evil by our allies maybe a reason.

        Both are done for political reasons not
        Humanitarian ones.   

        • Dpweber83

          What do you mean “one’s clearly reported and the other’s not?”  Where did you get your information?  Were you on the front lines yourself, or did you hear about it from a reporter?

          That’s a lovely way to think about interventionism.  It is also, pointedly, not the rationale the President laid out in his speech to the country: “In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.
          It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. 

          • Michael

            ·                        What do you mean “one’s clearly reported and the other’s not?”  Where did you get your information?  Were you on the front lines yourself, or did you hear about it from a reporter?
             
            What I mean is what I said, Such reported (atleast in the U.S. press is one-sided and clearly biased) The reporting on the U.N. actions along with rumors taken as facts by most of the western media(esp the U.S. MSM). As for getting my info there’s many sources outside the U.S. that are no kneecap in omitting such. “That’s a lovely way to think about interventionism.  It is also, pointedly, not the rationale the President laid out in his speech to the country: “In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.”
             
            And this is a false argument? Others argue that the U.S. (history proves this) has a bad track record in intervening in other countries and the bs there told at the time was completely false at best misleading.
             
             
            “It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action.”
             
            Again you comment proves my point that such action is more political than Humanitarian as I pointed out clear examples are Bahrain, S.A. and even Yeman.  
             
            “ But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.”
             
            Prove it? We were told that we faced violence’s on a horrific scale by the administration that lied and mislead what there actions were in the frist place.
            NFZ-to supporting rebels- to financially supporting rebels- to looking the other way of rebels abuses-to bombing (sic) command structures-to using helicopter type gun ships and drones(since we all know drone attacks don’t killed civilians)
             
             “We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground. To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. “
             
            -Violence didn’t stop actually gotten worst, “broad coalition” is a fallacy statement. Since you look at the members involved.
            -“ Support of the Arab countries” Not true whatsoever, support was given from the hezbollah lead  government  was only for a No Fly Zone  and quickly backed out after it turns out the regime change was the case. .
            - The rest of your comment is fluff  since our responsibilities to our fellow human seems to consist on geo-location and if such despot is a ally or not.

          • Michael

            As for getting my info there’s many sources outside the U.S. that are not kneecaped in omitting such.

  • Anonymous

    This is an operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Security Council. When the Senate passed or consented to the ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945, their unanimous report said the use of American forces to carry out a Chapter 7 decision of the Security Council would not be an act of war, but an act for preserving the peace, and therefore, would not affect the exclusive power of Congress to declare war.

    In Article VI of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause says laws made pursuant to the Constitution and treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land. The president has a power and a duty to carry out the international obligations of the United States under treaties. 

    The US Senate ratified the UN Charter in 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2, thereby granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. The UN Charter requires all member states to provide military resources to fulfill any Article 42 action deemed necessary by the Security Council to counter threats and acts of aggression.

    • Allison

      This is the legal argument that I am surprised that we are not hearing from almost anyone. This has been a UN/NATO operation, and though that inherently means that the US is the nation spending the most money and manpower, I have been wondering what the legal and political standing of an operation approved by the UN and NATO but not by Congress. Do we ignore or international treaty obligations or do we ignore our elected representatives? Somehow I’m surprised that the debate doesn’t go to the heart of this issue, instead of whether or not Obama has superseded Congress.

      • Thinknaboutit

        Does that mean congress should be impeached for not honoring our treaties?

        • Allison

          I’m not siding one way or the other, because I don’t know. I just think that that should be the debate, rather than the personalization of this as Obama overstepping. Narrowly focusing this as “Obama’s decision” makes it one more political wrangling and posturing debate, instead of a debate about the structuring of the government. I’m exhausted of the former, but I think the latter needs some real focus.

          • Thinknaboutit

            Personally I think whoever sells weapons to countries where they are used against civilians should be soley responsible for protecting the civilians.  I do not want the United States to be the police of the world but that doesn’t make it illegal. 

            As for the “impeach congress” remark, it was more sarcastic than anything since there have been so many cries of impeachment from congressional representatives.  

          • Allison

            I would love for that to work! Too bad most of the weapons used in conflicts targeting civilians are Cold War legacies: Soviet or US stockpiles pillaged or gifts to nations fighting against the “enemy.”  At this point, to achieve that goal, one of the following would be paying to protect civilians: the US, the USSR (because Russia theoretically is a different state), or Viktor Bout. China’s more and more responsible for the proliferation of weapons, but we all know how much they care about the welfare of their own citizens, let alone anyone else’s. 

            Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for even US weapons manufacturers to export their wares to unstable countries. That’s a ramification of privatizing our weapons manufacturing and relying on contracting. That, and the creation of such a powerful and widespread lobby that it will be next to impossible to change these realities.  (Also, it will continue to be next to impossible to slow down or stop the production of weapons by companies at least partially contracted to do so by the government. And the bombs have to go somewhere. Either the government keeps spending its money on them – and therefore has to keep finding somewhere else to conduct acts of war – or the companies have to sell them elsewhere. If you stop production, people lose jobs. And jobs are the only metric that matters, right?)

            PS – If you can’t tell, your sarcasm wasn’t lost on me!

    • Cory

      True, but it doesn’t specify quality or quantity of assistance.

      • Zing

        Well done…that shut him up.  I was wondering what the rest of the UN was doing tending their gardens when consensus is clearly needed in this kind of matter.

  • Anonymous

    This is an operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Security Council. When the Senate passed or consented to the ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945, their unanimous report said the use of American forces to carry out a Chapter 7 decision of the Security Council would not be an act of war, but an act for preserving the peace, and therefore, would not affect the exclusive power of Congress to declare war.

    In Article VI of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause says laws made pursuant to the Constitution and treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land. The president has a power and a duty to carry out the international obligations of the United States under treaties. 

    The US Senate ratified the UN Charter in 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2, thereby granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. The UN Charter requires all member states to provide military resources to fulfill any Article 42 action deemed necessary by the Security Council to counter threats and acts of aggression.

  • Anonymous

    This is an operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Security Council. When the Senate passed or consented to the ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945, their unanimous report said the use of American forces to carry out a Chapter 7 decision of the Security Council would not be an act of war, but an act for preserving the peace, and therefore, would not affect the exclusive power of Congress to declare war.

    In Article VI of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause says laws made pursuant to the Constitution and treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land. The president has a power and a duty to carry out the international obligations of the United States under treaties. 

    The US Senate ratified the UN Charter in 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2, thereby granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. The UN Charter requires all member states to provide military resources to fulfill any Article 42 action deemed necessary by the Security Council to counter threats and acts of aggression.

  • Anonymous

    This is an operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Security Council. When the Senate passed or consented to the ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945, their unanimous report said the use of American forces to carry out a Chapter 7 decision of the Security Council would not be an act of war, but an act for preserving the peace, and therefore, would not affect the exclusive power of Congress to declare war.

    In Article VI of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause says laws made pursuant to the Constitution and treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land. The president has a power and a duty to carry out the international obligations of the United States under treaties. 

    The US Senate ratified the UN Charter in 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2, thereby granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. The UN Charter requires all member states to provide military resources to fulfill any Article 42 action deemed necessary by the Security Council to counter threats and acts of aggression.

  • http://twitter.com/mofycbsj Brian

    The way things work is pretty simple. If the president is of your party, he can do whatever he wants whenever without question. If he’s of the other party, Congress must be involved, checks and balances, bla bla bla. That’s why Dems who incessantly blasted Bush for his illegal wars and torture apologias are largely neutered on Obama’s illegal war and torture apologias. And why Republicans who insisted on absolute subservience to Bush’s illegal wars and torture apologias are suddenly demanding “accountability” for Obama’s version thereof.

    • Anonymous

      The War Powers Act has always been used as a political bludgeon and the Supreme Court has refused to rule on its constitutionality, leaving it to the Congress and the Executive office to slug it out.

    • Cory

      There is more tolerance of like minded politicians, but it is not absolute.  We are all hypocrites to some degree.

  • http://twitter.com/mofycbsj Brian

    The way things work is pretty simple. If the president is of your party, he can do whatever he wants whenever without question. If he’s of the other party, Congress must be involved, checks and balances, bla bla bla. That’s why Dems who incessantly blasted Bush for his illegal wars and torture apologias are largely neutered on Obama’s illegal war and torture apologias. And why Republicans who insisted on absolute subservience to Bush’s illegal wars and torture apologias are suddenly demanding “accountability” for Obama’s version thereof.

  • Freeman

    You have to ask WHY America is in shambles; such shameless conduct from both the Legislative and executive branches and an impotent judicial branch. Why is America looking so much like Rome ?

  • SteveV

    The countries involved in Libya are “surprised” that this has gone on for so long. In the song by Peter, Paul and Mary they ask “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn”. The answer is self evident. We won’t.

  • Jason

    As this is a NATO action initiated by European interests, what are our treaty obligations and since the president is constitutionally charged with entering treaties, which has supremacy-the War Powers act or the NATO obligations?

  • Matt

    QUESTION: Have there been any American military casualties in Libya? I have have not heard if there has been. If not, what could be the possible reaction for America since we are not “at war”? 

    • Cory

      Do you know how much one Tomahawk missile costs?  How about a tank of aviation fuel for an F18?  Just because no one has died doesn’t mean there is no cost.

  • ThresherK

    The guest is saying “polarization” in Washington like it’s the same on both sides. Don’t make me drag out the history book on this last Congress, on every single idea they supported before Obama said “X is a good idea!”

    Less false equivalency, please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Carlton/100000259131813 Marc Carlton

    American Casualties are irrelevant.  The President’s responsibility is to serve the American people; to execute the people’s foreign policy.  It is NOT the people’s responsibility to support the President’s military action.  It is clear that the people have had enough of this kind of top driven military action, especially in the Middle East, and this intervention in Libya is a violation against the American People. 

    • Thinknaboutit

      If the United States were leading this humantarian intervention then perhaps there might be something to that argument.  Since we are providing logistical support and intelligence for our allies in accordance with treaties ratified by congress, it is less clear that this is in violation of anything.

      If we had done nothing and there had been continued airstrikes against peacefull demonstrators by the Ghadafi regime most of the people calling this an “illegal war” would be critical of our non-involvment.

  • ThresherK

    There would have been general support for this early on, says our guest?

    I have only to conjecture what would happen if Obama were to, say, stop hitting his knee with a hammer: The entire GOP would come down with ACL injuries in their haste to hit themselves as hard as possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1243650050 Ian Charles

    The fact of the matter is, if the president had said he wanted to go into Libya there would have been huge GOP backlash in congress. Conversely if The President had done nothing there would have been cries of outrage from the GOP calling Mr Obama weak on national security and foreign policy.

    • JimmyKl

      and they would have been right because this is all about politics!

  • Michael

    Like the guest have stated obama violated the WPA, and like all apologist on both the left and right will make excuses as to his reason in doing so.

    Besides the reversal of the Arab L., A.U. being against it, French not actually saving civilians, rebels torturing and killing of africans, being a civil war, the U.S. double standards and hypocrisy of it’s claim on supporting freedom and democracy, oil interest.

    Just cause obama is a democrat and some republicans maybe using such for grandstanding doesn’t mean one has to support and justified actions which are clearly questionable on many levels.

    • Anonymous

      But question the action for legitimate reasons. The War Powers Act is of questionable constitutionality; the Supreme Court (and other federal courts) have refused to rule on it or to intervene in a power struggle between Congress and the Presidency; and the UN Charter clearly over-rides the Congressional authority to declare war when the military action is authorized by the UN (and that Charter was approved overwhelmingly by Congress as a war powers over-ride).

    • Thinknaboutit

      Just because one does not agree with supporting humanitarian interventions being led by our allies doesn’t mean it is illegal for us to do so. 

      Perhaps according to the WPA the president is required to seek congressional approval for actions such as those in Libya, or perhaps approval was already granted according to the ratification of the UN charter by congress and the fact that this is a UN led intervention?

  • http://www.jobwaltz.com JobWaltz.com

    I think the Constitution trumps the War Powers resolution. Congress has failed the American people by delegating responsibility for war to the executive branch. The founders mandated that only Congress could get us into war for a reason; to prevent the imperial presidency. 

    Stuck in a job you don’t like? Let us help you find a better one. http://www.jobwaltz.com for premium job search assistance. 

    • Robert Riversong

      Are you responding because you think you have something to say or just to hawk your business website?

      Clearly, you don’t know the Constitution, for it delegates the power “to make war” to the president and the power “to declare war” to Congress. Madison noted that the Constitutional Convention deliberately changed the initial language for Congressional authority from “make” to “declare” in order to maintain the Commander-in-Chief’s authority to make war.

      Furthermore, the Constitution specifically elevates international treaties to “the highest law of the land”, and the Congress overwhelmingly ratified the UN Charter as an international treaty. That Charter specifically states that UN resolutions supercede all other treaty obligations. And, when the Senate ratified the Charter, the body asserted that the president’s obligation to UN resolutions would not be in conflict with the Constitution’s war powers article.

      • Ggerg

        I believe the WPA is unconstitutional for the reasons you cite and that Republicans are making a huge mistake by pressing the issue. However, I do think it would have been nice to get approval from Congress and by extension the people, especially given the campaign rhetoric against Bush who did so. On the flip side I believe we dragged our feet for too long and missed the opportunity to end it quickly while Gadaffi was on the ropes. That would have required American leadership which was absent. I mean, God bless Sarkozy but when France is leading the way it’s just not the same. I realize I’m talking out both sides of my mouth but the bottom line is Obama is within his rights. It just seems he wants to wage war and not call it hostilities all at the same time to satisfy an unconstitutional act. It’s all muddy as is the question of our national interest and exit strategy.

        I’m rambling, what I’d really like to know is are you saying international treaties trump the Constitution? I wouldn’t think so, did I read you wrong?

        • Robert Riversong

          US Constitution, Article VI: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land…” This makes treaties co-equal with acts of Congress and the Constitution itself.

          The US Senate ratified the UN Charter in 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2, thereby granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. The UN Charter requires all member states to provide military resources to fulfill any Article 42 action deemed necessary by the Security Council to counter threats and acts of aggression. The UN General Assembly adopted the “international responsibility to protect” at the World Summit 2005, giving official endorsement to the idea that the Security Council should act to prevent genocide or other atrocities taking place within an individual state, when the country’s government was “manifestly failing” to protect the population from abuse.

          Congress has long set the precedent of allowing the Commander-in-Chief to determine the need for armed conflict. Of the 200 or so uses of US military power during our national history, Congress has issued formal declarations of war only five times (each upon prior request by the President and with four of those five declarations after hostilities had begun), but never since WWII. Congress has otherwise authorized war 12 times and the US has engaged in UN-declared military actions 8 times. On at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress.

          • Ggerg

            Thank you Mr. Riversong. I am no Constitutional scholar but by my reading our sovereignty is intact. “Granting authority to the President to comply with UN mandates” is different than the UN having authority over us. I suppose treaties, constituent treaties and charters are more or less synonymous but then again the framers were very specific. They fretted over the difference between “inalienable rights” and “unalienable rights”.

            I am no fan of the UN, I think they are feckless and useless as proven by the Iraq fiasco.  If 17 resolutions and a unanimous vote in the security council isn’t enough to act, I don’t know what is. And many still call the Iraq war illegal. If it were up to me I’d withdraw from the UN altogether.

            I know Supreme Court Justice Breyer believes we should use foreign law as precedent. That concerns me greatly.

            Thanks again for a very informative and interesting response.

          • Robert Riversong

            Because the UN has failed so far to achieve its primary mission of preventing wars of aggression is no more reason to dismiss it altogether than the fact that the US has never lived up to the promise of democracy a reason to abandon that potential.

            International Law, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Charter are higher laws than the laws of States, and were intended to be so for the express purpose of preventing aggressive warfare and crimes against humanity. The founders were as sincere in that effort as the founders of the United States were in creating a democratic republic, even if each effort was partially subverted by those who did not believe in full democracy – in the US Constitution with the provision for an Electoral College to limit popular democracy and for an upper house (House of Lords – Senate) to balance the lower house (House of Commons – Congress), and in the UN Charter with the Security Council to wield veto power over the General Assembly.

            The fact that the first and most vocal opponent of the UN “One World Government” was the John Birch Society suggests that the mission of the UN was at least headed in the right direction. And we must not forget that, without the UN Charter, we would not have such organizations, institutions and programs as United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC – which tried to prevent the Iraq war), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Food Program (WFP), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), or the International Criminal Court.

            And, without the UN Environment Program, we would not have the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nor the world-wide attention to the gravest threat facing humanity since the dawn of time.

          • Ggerg

            Sorry, I’ll jump ship on that one. The UN does a few things well but by and large I think they make things worse. What good is a human rights council with oppressive thug regimes running it? Oil for food was a total scam that allowed Hussein to thrive while his people still starved. Other countries also benefited from the corruption. The UN is decidedly anti-semetic as a whole. The IPCC is a bunch of bureaucrats hiding behind a few scientist that have been bought and paid for. There is no telling how much damage the 2007 report did by crying wolf based on fraud. Virtually every climate change nightmare study draws from it and it’s a thoroughly discredited joke.

            We have uprisings all over the middle east and the UN (if competent) should be out in front. Mubarek is gone but who will fill the void? Most likely someone worse. More death and destruction and eventual inevitable wars. And Egypt is a microcosm. There’s Yemen, Libya, Tunisia and others. Iran is going nuclear and that will be disaster. We missed the chance to avoid it all by not supporting their uprising. North Korea is a hell hole of suffering. Where’s the UN? Let’s see how the ICC does with Gadaffi. I liked America’s approach to capturing Hussein and turning him over to the Iraqi justice system better. Thugs don’t give a hoot about international law and they are rampant. I’ll stick with Scalia’s side of the argument.Again, thanks for the informed opinion. It’s obvious you are knowledgeable on the subject but I can’t agree.

          • Robert Riversong

            Yes, you’d better
            “jump ship” at this point, because now you’re really revealing your
            ignorance of both history and science and your John Birch bias.

             

            The UN is not
            “anti-semetic” (sic) nor anti-Israel, since the Middle East conflict
            is one between semitic peoples (the Arabs have more claim to that lineage than
            modern Jews), and since the Security Council never enforces reasonable
            sanctions against Israel (the state which most consistently violates
            international law and UN resolutions), mostly due to US vetoes. The General
            Assembly criticism of Israel is legitimate and based on international and
            humanitarian law. Israel is a rogue nation, not unlike its primary protector,
            the US.

             

            Iran is in
            compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a right to develop
            nuclear energy. Israel is not a party to the NPT and has long been in violation
            of it. Even if Iran were to develop an atomic weapon, that would hardly be a
            “disaster” except for Israel which is intent on maintaining its
            nuclear monopoly of fear. Iran has, historically, been one of the most peaceful
            nations in the region, showing no aggression to its neighbor states beyond
            defending itself from the US-instigated attack by Iraq (when, for a while, the
            US was supplying both sides, hoping that “they would just destroy each
            other”). Iran, by the way, has the largest population of Jews in the
            Middle East outside Israel, who have lived there in peace since the days of
            Esther, and are protected by the Iranian constitution and afforded a seat in
            parliament.

             

            And the IPCC is a
            body of the world’s best climatologists and associated scientists, has
            meticulously built the largest scientific consensus in the history of science
            on irrefutable evidence which continues to prove the validity of its
            conclusions, has not been influenced by any alleged fraud (all investigations
            have disproved those claims from the industry-funded denialists). The only
            legitimate criticism of the IPCC is that they have been far too conservative in
            their conclusions, since anthropogenic global warming is happening at far
            faster rates than they were willing to acknowledge. 

          • Ggerg

            “But the ‘thugs’ are the US and Israel – the two greatest rogue nations in the
            world today and the two that most of the world’s people rightly fear.”

            Well, you’ve shown your true colors but I won’t get personal as you did other than to say you can’t possibly believe it.

            Iran’s stated goal is to wipe Israel off the map and they will if given the chance. They have no “right” to do so. The nuclear energy is a smokescreen. Israel is a threat to no one and the most free and successful Arabs in the world live there.

            “And the IPCC is a body of the world’s best climatologists and associated
            scientists, has meticulously built the largest scientific consensus in
            the history of science on irrefutable evidence which continues to prove
            the validity of its conclusions, has not been influenced by any alleged
            fraud (all investigations have disproved those claims from the
            industry-funded denialists).”

            That is absurd! The “I” stands for intergovernmental, They’re Bureaucrats. Sure there are a few scientint but there also are activist from Greenpeace and other radical groups. They are not the greatest scientist in the universe at all. It’s a hoax and you’ve been duped.

             

          • Robert Riversong

            Yes, I have no problem showing my “true colors” as one who seeks the objective truth behind the myths that too many, such as yourself and the rest of the Faux News minions, live by.

            And you’re quite right that I “can’t possibly believe” what I state, since only dogma requires belief, while truth requires only an open mind.

            Not only Faux News but much of the mainstream media has spread the deliberate disinformation about Ahmadinejad’s statement regarding Israel. He was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini and the correct translation from the Farsi is this: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” And he then used the examples of the Shah, the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein to demonstrate that illegitimate regimes eventually fall. He did not refer to either Israel as a nation or to the Jews as a people or make a statement of intent – he was merely predicting that the Western-installed and supported Zionist regime would fail.

            But, please, go on believing your comfortable myths about the world. Those who live by dogma can never be shaken by simple facts and obvious truths.

          • Ggerg

            “…as one who seeks the objective truth… 

            Okay, lets test that. You wrote of climate change: “… the gravest threat facing humanity since the dawn of time.” Worse that continents colliding to form mountain ranges? Worse than the sudden extinction of dinosaurs after 350 million years of rule? Worse than ice ages followed by great thaws only to repeat the cycle? 

            Are the US and Israel bigger thugs than the Congo?
            Sudan?
            Somalia?
            North Korea?
            Hussein’s Iraq?

            Objective truth my eye.

          • Robert Riversong

            You forget, but Humans weren’t around to be threatened by those events, nor were we responsible for them as we are for not only global climate change but the sixth great extinction of species. After all, we came along about 6,000 years ago when God put Adam and Eve in the Garden. 

          • Ggerg

            Okay we’ll go that route (I didn’t want to offend you if you were a non-believer): Worse than the great flood in Noah’s day?

            It was hotter during the highly productive Bronze age. There has been no significant warming in over a decade according to Phil Jones of the CRU at East Anglia after he was caught. Before he was caught he was saying the opposite in the 2007 ICPP report.

            You know what, I’m being sincere, I don’t want to argue anymore. We started out with civil discourse and then had an honest disagreement and now we’re all snarky and getting nowhere. I’d rather not be that guy.

          • Robert Riversong

            We never had an “honest disagreement”. I’m offering facts and you’re offering only ideologically-distorted dogma. You ARE that guy.

          • Ggerg

            What’s with the “faux news” BS? 

            “But, please, go on believing your comfortable myths about the world. Those who live by dogma can never be shaken by simple facts and obvious truths.”
            Pot meet kettle.

          • Robert Riversong

            Joint science academies’ statement, 2001:
            “The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus
            of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus.”

            Royal Meteorological Society:
            In response to the release of the Fourth Assessment Report, the Royal Meteorological Society referred to the IPCC as “The world’s best climate scientists”.
             
            European Geosciences
            Union:
            “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…is the main representative of the
            global scientific community …IPCC third assessment report…represents the state-of-the-art of climate science supported by the major science academies around the world and by the vast majority of scientific researchers and investigations as documented by the peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

            International Council for Science”:
            “…the IPCC 4th Assessment Report represents the most comprehensive international scientific assessment ever conducted. This assessment reflects the current collective
            knowledge on the climate system, its evolution to date, and its anticipated future development.”

            National Oceanic and
            Atmospheric Administration (US):
            “Internationally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)… is the most senior and
            authoritative body providing scientific advice to global policy makers.”

            National Research Council (US):
            “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to
            have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately
            reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.”

          • Ggerg

            Those are old, get current and check back with those groups now.

            http://notrickszone.com/2010/08/03/climate-scandals-list-of-94-climate-gates/

          • Robert Riversong

            If you are so insistent on publishing your ignorance for the world to see, at least be honest enough to include your full name and a picture.

  • Ggerg

    I think the only recourse for Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) is to defund the action. That comes at great political risk as the troops are in harms way.

    • Michael

      But the White house said there are no troops in harms way and of course we know there would never lie….. So by the WH own ommission if congress were to defund such action ther be no harm done to our troops.

  • Modavations

    Boy do we need term limits.All the Hawks are Doves.All the Doves are Hawks.Where did Code Pink and The Mass.Ave.Candlelight Vigils go!!!!Bring the troops home if the host countries won’t pay us. 

    • Thinknaboutit

      So that’s what Code Pink and The Mass.Ave.Candlelight Vigils are about, bringing the troops home if the host countries don’t pay up?

      Or maybe rallying them to protest fits your agenda of attacking the President of the United States for political gain so you are suddenly a supporter.

      • Modavations

        Code Pink,etc,. are front groups for the Dems and thus,the dissappearence.It took N.O.W.,10 days (only the Queens Branch,I might add)to respond to the A.Weener broohaha.The excuse for not shunning the reprobate was that he votes correctly.Again just a Front group for Democrats.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 31, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Cabinet meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  (AP)

The US and Europe face off against Russia. Are we looking at Cold War II? Something hotter?

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A comical sign suggest the modern workplace is anything but collegial . (KW Reinsch / Flickr)

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Janitta Swain, Writer/Exec. Producer/Co-Director Dinesh D'Souza, John Koopman, Caroline Granger and Don Taylor seen at the World Premiere of 'America: Imagine The World Without Her' at Regal Cinemas LA Live on Monday, June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. (AP)

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

 
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Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

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