What John Yoo Says

The Daily Kos FP on what John Yoo says and how this means President Bush can attack Iran without Congressional authorization:

[John Yoo wrote that] the AUMF is "an express affirmation of the President's constitutional authorities by Congress." Not an authorization to use force, then, but an affirmation. An affirmation of what? That the power to use military force exists independent of this (or any other) act of Congress.

John Yoo is, of course, full of it, as Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman explained:

BA: The president has to get another authorization for a war against Iran. It isn't up to Nancy Pelosi or the House to prevent him; he doesn't have the constitutional authority to just expand the war. He does not have the authority to unilaterally invade Iran.... Air strikes would be an invasion. It's an act of war of an unambiguous variety....On a major incursion into another large Middle Eastern country, I believe that, when push comes to shove, the president will once again request the explicit authorization of Congress. When he was contemplating the invasion of Iraq, he was in a much stronger position politically -- and he was still obliged to request authorization


Which reminds me, as Glenn Greenwald noted, John Yoo believes that the Congress can end the Iraq Debacle by not funding it:

Even John Yoo -- the most radical worshipper of limitless executive power and one of the architects of the administration's radical theories of lawlessness -- said in a February Op-Ed in The New York Times:
The fact is, Congress has every power to end the war -- if it really wanted to. It has the power of the purse. . . . Not only could Congress cut off money, it could require scheduled troop withdrawals, shrink or eliminate units, or freeze weapons supplies. It could even repeal or amend the authorization to use force it passed in 2002. . . . But to stop President Bush's proposed troop surge, Congress doesn't have to do anything. It can just sit back and fail to enact the periodic supplemental spending measures required to keep the war going. Congress has wielded considerable power by just threatening such measures, as with President James K. Polk in the Mexican-American War and President Ronald Reagan in Lebanon after the 1983 barracks bombing.
That Yoo and company recognize this power is not a sign of their reasonableness. They hardly have a choice. The Constitution unambiguously and expressly assigns these powers to Congress in Article I -- so clearly that even the Cheney wing does not dare deny these powers.

That impeachment proponents do not even recognize a Congressional power that even John Yoo accepts without question is indicative of the intellectually bereft argument that has to be made against defunding in order to prop up support for impeachment.

Yes, it is this type of argument that makes me strongly against what many impeachment proponents are doing to argue for their cause. And let's be clear, their cause is impeachment, not checking the President. Their cause is impeachment, not ending the war in Iraq. Their cause is impeachment, not stopping war with Iran.

Impeachment is the holy grail. Nothing else.

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    Impeachment (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by HeadScratcher on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:54:24 PM EST
    Instead of impeachment why doesn't the House take all that time, energy, and money and use it to defund the war and then work to do something useful to help the needy? Oh yeah, politics.

    dems are trying to help the needy ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Sailor on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:19:39 PM EST
    ... but republicans keep fillibustering to stop every bill.

    Not filibustering (none / 0) (#8)
    by kovie on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:03:01 PM EST
    but the more palatable "blocking" that the media seems to prefer now that Dems are the majority. Wouldn't want to upset those "serious" and "sober" Repubs, as opposed to Dems who had nothing better to do than obstruct when they were the minority. Repubs don't obstruct, they "block".

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:56:01 PM EST
    I guess I'm (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:10:01 PM EST
    And traitors, murderers (none / 0) (#10)
    by kovie on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:34:28 PM EST
    and of course stealth Republicans. Funny how the radical element on both sides of the aisle cannot stand, do not comprehend and will not abide differences of opinion and resort to malicious smear and silencing tactics to squelch opposition.

    No need to think things through or exercize critical thinking if you already KNOW that you're right and that everyone else is a feckless Bush enabler. When you got "religion", nothing else really matters or needs to be considered.

    Which, of course, is a great irony, which these people neither see nor care about.


    I don't know if you're cowards or not... (none / 0) (#4)
    by JHFarr on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:15:52 PM EST
    ... but you sure are making yourselves de facto accomplices to the coming war with Iran. Nothing will stop these criminals EXCEPT removal from office, because "power of the purse" means nothing when Bush can use a signing statement. He doesn't obey the law and he's getting away with it...  

    Why is everyone taking the bait on this?

    priorities: (none / 0) (#6)
    by Compound F on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:31:30 PM EST
    1. Preventing regional escalation against Iran.
    2. Getting out of Iraq.
    3. Impeachent

    I don't see any of that happening.  

    What about false flags? (none / 0) (#9)
    by kovie on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:26:30 PM EST
    As was done with the Mexican, Spanish-American and Vietnam wars and which would be fairly easy to stage given our military profile in the region right now? Will congress be willing to stand up to him if he does that and refuse to authorize a new war? Until 2002 I would have said yes, definitely. Now, I'm not so sure.

    Then again, if congress does refuse, or he anticipates this and doesn't bother seeking authorization, and attacks anyway (which Cheney would likely prefer as it would just validate--in his mind--his theory of plenary executive power), what will congress do then? Again, I'm not so sure.

    And unless and until congress makes its intentions clear by voting to defund the war, the admininstration will likely view this as an implicit green light to attack Iran. Or, perhaps, a yellow light, i.e. "We don't want you to attack, but we're not going to stop you or do anything about it if you do".

    The threat of an attack on Iran may well be a political ploy against Dems as much as against Iran's leaders. With the latter, it's stop developing nukes or we'll attack. With congress, it's stop trying to end the Iraq war or we'll attack Iran. The questions are whether it's a bluff or they're really serious about doing it, and if they are serious, what congress is going to do about it.

    Harry, Nancy--time to start using those sharpened (metaphorical) arrows. And aim them well, because you might not have a second chance.

    impeachment is a huge (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 05:34:41 PM EST
    waste of scarce, allocable congressional resources, and bound to fail. better to do as feingold suggests, and put the curbs on this out-of-control presidency, using the constitutional weapons at congress' disposal.

    and while they're at it, find some funds to put william kristol in a nice home for the terminally delusional.

    Heh. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 05:50:28 PM EST
    He really short circuited this morning: Fatuous Nonsense of the Week Award goes to Bill Kristol

    Praise the lord and pass the hallucinogens (none / 0) (#13)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 06:21:19 PM EST
    I'm a supporter of impeaching Bush and Cheney, and have been for several years. The reason I support it is that they have committed serious crimes -- and have acknowledged some of them publicly -- and the remedy for a criminal president and vice president is impeachment. It's in the Constitution, just as Congress's power of the purse is. Yet somehow, in your view, impeachment is idiocy. I don't get that.

    I have to admit that I doubt the Democratic resolve to defund the war, precisely because, as Yoo said, they could do so if they really wanted to. Can you point to any indication that anywhere near a sufficient majority of Democrats really want to? Certainly that's not the case in the Senate, and it's very doubtful in the House. And as the procedural contortions by the Democratic leadership in the House on the last supplemental demonstrate, the hesitancy begins at the top.

    Regardless, those two tacks, impeachment and defunding, are not mutually exclusive.  To me, your reaction seems every bit the knee-jerk one you ascribe to impeachment supporters.

    Not knee jerk. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 07:29:59 PM EST
    Acknowledgment of political reality.

    Political reality isn't immutable (none / 0) (#17)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 07:52:14 PM EST
    The most damaging aspect of this reflexive attitude toward impeachment is that if the climate does change, Democrats who categorically reject the process now have painted themselves into a corner for the future. Are you really willing to bet that nothing which would otherwise compel impeachment will come to light between now and the end of Bush's term? Do you really trust future presidents, Democrats included, to reject the precedents et by administration's executive excesses once they're in the position to find those excesses attractive?

    One can argue the political difficulties, but the notion that people who think the rule of law is a principle worth defending, through a legitimate Constitutional process, are idiots for adhering to it, is offensive to me. For whatever that's worth.


    No one is :categorically: (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:00:51 PM EST
    rejecting it except in the current political reality. If the votes were there it would be a done deal.

    Did you even read what I linked you to? It appears not.


    Oh, stuff and nonsense. (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:34:54 PM EST
    I read your comment; I just don't find it remotely compelling.

    When someone says "impeachment is off the table," that's a categorical rejection of it. That means not only that they'll invest no effort in creating a new political reality, but that they'll actively discourage anyone else from trying to do so, which I would think you'd have to admit is exactly what's going on here. It also means that should something come down the pike which stirs public demand for impeachment, congressional Democrats will face a choice of actively resisting it or of seeming to support it based solely upon political necessity, which will once again reinforce the perception of Democrats as a principle-free party, something which is not in our best long-term interests.

    But whatever. I can live with being thought an idiot.


    Off The Table (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:42:42 PM EST
    Is the same as on the table for a disciplined political pragmatist.

    Imeachment is just not going to happen despite all the rhetoric on both sides. Because it cannot be done before Nov 2008, and would fail anyway.

    Feingold has it right, it is just not what some people want to hear.


    Up is the same as down (1.00 / 1) (#25)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:52:57 PM EST
    for a disciplined political pragmatist. War is peace. Day is night.

    Rigjht (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:59:46 PM EST
    Because even when it is on the table, for a disciplined political pragmatist impeachment is only political swaggering, but as a reality it is never going to happen.

    The next election is not that far away.


    A disciplined political pragmatist (none / 0) (#30)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:37:03 PM EST
    wouldn't actually commit to an absolute rejection of impeachment. What you're describing is a disciplined political opportunist -- someone willing to stake out a position for political gain, or in this instance a misplaced perception of political gain, and then abandon it as circumstances change.

    No one (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:10:35 PM EST
    thinks you are an idiot for thinking the rule of law is a principle worth defending.

    But it is a waste of time for anyone to knowingly pursue something that they know cannot succeed, when the time and energy can be better expended towards something that can.


    Couple things: (1.00 / 1) (#24)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:50:33 PM EST
    Some fights are worth losing. What you're saying, basically, is that I'm not an idiot for thinking the rule of law is worth defending, but only for wanting to actually defend it.

    That aside, congressional Democrats have performed woefully since Bush was elected, including in the months before 911. I see little evidence that they're all that much sharper on the strategic front now than they have been while they were in the minority. (For that matter, I see little evidence that anyone at Talk Left is all that enthralled with the Democratic strategic vision other than on this one issue.) I question the validity of the diagnosis.

    I have to run, and I expect we've pretty much plumbed the depths of this one anyway. Thanks for the conversation and the courtesy.



    Now it really l.ooks like you're used to it. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 09:03:33 PM EST
    What I said is what I said. What I meant is what I said.

    What you try to turn what I said into has no relation to my words or my meaning.


    Some fights are (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 09:54:26 PM EST
    worth winning.

    Ending the Debacle is one.


    They aren't mutually exclusive. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by weldon berger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:52:07 PM EST
    At the very least, Democrats would benefit electorally from explicitly identifying the crimes committed by the executive branch and hammering home the point that they are impeachable by any rational measure, which I think is something we agree upon, and that it is only the Republican tolerance for lawbreaking that prevents impeachment and conviction. There's no reason to think that the two efforts would detract from one another, and I think it's  likely they would do quite the opposite.

    why (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jen M on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 07:45:32 PM EST
    are the opinions of this..... "person" being given column space. Why is he being named. This uhm... man's opinions are so immoral and unamerican they are on par with al quaeda's.

    Insanity running rampant? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Nowonmai on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 07:52:57 PM EST
    And I don't mean from a side view. Megalomaniacs, anyone?

    Because he is an influencer. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:13:52 PM EST
    Thread Cleaned (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 01:31:11 AM EST
    I've deleted some comments with name-calling and personal attacks. They aren't allowed here.

    weldon, (none / 0) (#33)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 09:40:19 AM EST
    support impeachment all you want. identify the "treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors" this administration has committed. use them as cudgels against the republicans in 2008. do all of these things, loudly.

    but, don't ask congress to actually waste valuable time, time they'll never recover, in literally pursuing impeachment against bush. it's a no-win for the democrats: they can't achieve a guilty verdict, and the country will recoil from the effort, coming so soon after the clinton impeachment debacle. the backlash will kill them in 2008.

    impeaching mr. bush isn't worth the life or limb of another one of our troops in iraq. sorry, it just isn't.

    that said, mr. bush isn't immune to criminal prosecution, should evidence surface of illegal acts by him, while in office.

    good luck with that.