War Powers and Petulance

It’s heartwarming to see conservatives’ new-found concern for constitutional war powers. Liberals have been complaining about executive usurpation of war powers since at least the 1960s. Conservatives usually just tell us to shut up.

Republicans, and some Democrats, in Congress are complaining the Obama Administration is in violation of the current War Powers Resolution. The White House says it isn’t. The New York Times (begrudgingly) is siding with John Boehner while the Wall Street Journal is siding with the President. I suppose editorial writers, unlike congresspersons, feel a need to be consistent with whatever stance they took during previous military actions.

The fact is, for lo these many years the War Powers Resolution has never been followed to the letter, and Congress only complains about it when is politically advantageous for members to do so. So while I agree with the Republicans in principle, I object to what I see as ex post facto interpretation of the law on their part.

I appreciate that the White House fears the current Congress would order U.S. military aid to the NATO action in Libya be withdrawn. As the New York Times says, if this happened “The cost to relations with Europe and the unity of the military alliance would be enormous — likely felt all the way to Afghanistan.” And the current House will vote to obstruct whatever President Obama wants to do just because it’s him doing it, and the hell with the cost. But I don’t think the President has a choice.

16 thoughts on “War Powers and Petulance

  1. Yeah, the Repbulicans are bitching about it now – but as soon as the next Republican President takes his/her hand off the Bible, they’ll be ready to do the exact same thing.
    Just to prove their toughness, if nothing else.

    Look, this has been a problem literally going back to the mid 19th Century.
    And, especially, and even more frequently with our constant intrusions and escapades on behalf of, among others, United Fruit in many nations over the first part of the 20th century, and various oil and other corporations from the middle to the end of it.

    This is something that really needs to be clarified.
    And, as soon as we get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and complete whatever the f*cking mission is in Libya, we should do it pronto.

    Jeez, wasn’t it just a few short years ago that we were told to support the President, 100%, not matter what he does, lest we be considered treasonous traitors to our country?
    I can’t remember the Presidents name. Something to do with boots…
    Maybe you can?

  2. The blatant politicalization of this, and everything else, is what really galls me. No sense of what is best for the country, or what can move us forward, at all. How can the republicans score cheap, short-term, political points is what is paramount. Here in cheeseland, the Walker Regime eliminated the office of Secretary of State simply because the guy was screwing with them, or so they thought, when publishing their ‘budget repair bill’. It’s a post that has been around for the better part of a century. Grandson or great grandson of Bob LaFollette (same last name). But it’s just so obviously a big fu to who they saw as a political enemy. People like this should never be given power, ever.

  3. “But I don’t think the President has a choice”

    I agree he needs to go to congress and seek authorization, just because the repugs are demanding it is no reason not to do it. The hypocrisy highway is a two-way street. He needs to make his case for the action in Libya to the American Public and then let congress decide on the funding, that’s the way it works. President Obama should not be afraid to let the repugs be hypocrites, he should embrace it.

  4. ..the Walker Regime eliminated the office of Secretary of State

    In states I’m familiar with, the Secy of State oversees elections, and registrations of business entities (corporations, LLCs), and probably lots more I don’t know about. Perhaps WI will now overtake Nevada as the most easy-to-comply with state insofar as forming and maintaining a corporation. As far as elections go, with Republicans, who needs elections? They don’t really believe in democracy anyway.

  5. Without defending either side, I’ve noticed that Obama is sometimes taking positions that merit court intervention.

    For example, he’s continued to use the “state secrets” privilege and he’s pushing the borders of the war powers act.

    Now, if he simply abides by what we’d like him to do, the next President can still abuse either idea. But if the courts reject it, or if Congress takes action, then something can change.

    I sometimes hope – and this may be wishful thinking – that he is daring people to drum up the support to challenge him in court or to push for legislation. But I do know that he’s in a no-win situation until there’s enough support to push for court or congressional challenges.

  6. The DOJ has formally dropped charges against Osaka bin Laden. I’m sure the wingnuts are already screaming that Obama is soft on terrorism.

  7. Moonbat: you’re right. it doesn’t matter who votes, it’s who counts the votes that really counts.

  8. Anybody get the feeling that we’re living in a zoo – only, we’re in the cages; we’re behind the bars; we’re behind the moats – while the animals are running the zoo?

    Did I mention an article in Harper’s, May, 2011? “Owned by the Army – Has the president lost control of his generals?” The author does a good job of arguing that the answer to the question is ‘yes.’

  9. I sometimes hope – and this may be wishful thinking – that he is daring people to drum up the support to challenge him in court or to push for legislation

    I’ve had that same thought..And I’m pretty sure it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  10. Pingback: The War That Isn’t a War | Comments from Left Field

  11. [Comment deleted for violation of comment rule #8 which is —

    Nothing, and I repeat nothing, pisses me off more than commenters who obviously haven’t read the post they are commenting on and have no idea what the post actually says or what my opinion actually is.

    If you want to read the post first (all the way through, to the last sentence) and try another comment, feel free. — maha]

  12. Rob Miller,
    I think you came to the wrong site.
    The audition for the comedy hour was at “haha,” NOT ‘maha.’

    “After all the violations of law and our Constitution this president has committed, it would be ironic is this was the one that finally got him impeached.”

    If you’re talking about Obama, you might win – because, that there’s some funny fuckin’ shit!

    I would like to point out that in comparison to George W. “Little Boots” Bush, if there ARE ANY violations by Barack Hussein Obama, they’re like a parking violation compared to assault, mass murder, and TORTURE – which were but 3 of the ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors” that he, Cheney, Rice, Ashcroft, Gonzalez (etc, because, even you must be getting the idea by now) might have been accused of.

    But, if you’re serious about comparing impeachable offenses between Little Boots and Barack Hussein Obama, please stick around. I’m sure the commenters here, and maha (not ‘haha’), will be happy to provide you with an education based on FACT’S, not ‘feelings.’

    But, hey, it’s YOUR time to waste.
    Hey, how’s your not funny cousin Dennis doing now?
    I understand that he went from occasionally funny comedian to paid shill and whore for Conserative causes.
    Any friction between you two?
    Are you jealous that he got there first?

  13. Well Maha, like the old saying goes. what ever he’s for, I’m agin’ it!
    The Repubs are playing chicken with everything the middle class needs to survive, just to insure Obama is “a one term president”.
    They continually insist that things are getting worse, scare people into buying gold and silver instead of investing in dynamic projects, hoard food, and stockpile weapons. All crazy shit.
    As far as the Bank bailouts and the collapse of the real estate market goes,If the banks would just give home owners a 12 month mortgage payment holiday with the condition that they pay their property taxes, a bunch of pain would be avoided.
    There are at least 5 homes in my neighborhood that are vacant due to forclosure, the lawns are burnt and weed infested due to lack of rain, and the pools are now breeding frogs and mosquitoes.
    This is really screwed up but easy to fix.

  14. 🙂 erinyes
    If there are mosquitoes, be glad for the frogs. Just saying…
    We have them all over (the foreclosures) here in poor south central PA.

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