In the world of global politics, President Obama has had his moments. He was served a plate of excrement, and has managed a fairly decent record on the world stage.
However, there are exceptions: He has failed to close Guantanamo. He has doubled-down on the empire-sodomizing black hole of Afghanistan. He got some sort of Portuguese dog, which I assume is mostly cork.
And these are sizeable exceptions. On 90210, Ray Pruitt was a pretty good boyfriend to Donna Martin, except when he would knock her around occasionally.
Now we move to Libya, the 3rd front of our impending 12-front middle eastern military sunday fun day action.
I’m no strict constructionist. In fact, self-proclaimed “strict constructionists” are usually unreasonable and unhinged longbeards with homemade napalm, or (in most cases), politically motivated clowns who hold these views only when self-servingly expedient.
However, I can’t deny the fact that this is another unilateral executive power grab I genuinely abhor.
As Greenwald points out:
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.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.
I understand that it’s hard to put that Executive Power Genie Back in the bottle. 50+ years of unchecked war partying will do that.
But despite the qualifiers trotted out by the President, there’s no getting around the blatant abuse of power this action constitutes. As Michael Lind points out in his excellent reading of constitutional / international law:
However, while the Security Council can authorize member states to undertake a war for purposes other than national or regional self-defense, it cannot order any country to do so. The U.S. agreed to participate in the United Nations only because the U.N. charter makes it clear that each member state has the right to decide, on the basis of its internal constitutional processes, whether to take part in an enforcement action authorized by the Security Council.
In other words, there are two distinct systems of authorization, one international and one national. Under international law, the U.S. lacks the authority to engage in wars unrelated to its own defense or that of its allies. Security Council action might lift that legal restraint. But once the Security Council has acted, Congress must still authorize the military action by formal voting, not by mere “consultation” with the president.
Yes, Qaddafi is crazy. Yes, he controls a lot of oil, and this country uses a lot of refined oil to fuel its transport vehicles and Japanese sex dolls (diesel). But if we’re truly just going around protecting citizens of other countries from their crazy despots, we still have dozens to go. I’m not sure we want tio get into that. (d.r.a.f.t?)
Eugene Robinson took a moment from his affable chuckling to write an excellent article this morning. This about sums it up…
Gaddafi is crazy and evil; obviously, he wasn’t going to listen to our advice about democracy. The world would be fortunate to be rid of him. But war in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones. If not, then please spare us all the homilies about universal rights and freedoms. We’ll know this isn’t about justice, it’s about power.