The "Fifth Columnist"

The middle part of the country—the great red zone that voted for Bush—is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead—and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column - Andrew Sullivan

I do not see the American national interest in a military intervention in Libya. But it can not possibly be compared to the Iraq Debacle, the worst decision in recent American Presidential history. When you supported the Iraq Debacle and assailed in vicious terms anyone who opposed it, a little humility is in order. Andrew Sullivan is incapable of such humility. Coupled with his hatred of anything Clinton (did you know that Hillary Clinton tricked Obama into the Libya action?), it produces this:

[T]he fact that this is clearly the Clintons' war - egged on by Bill, pushed through by Hillary - could exacerbate tensions between the two primary rivals. After all, why did Democrats vote for Obama over Clinton? In part because they specifically wanted less war, not more; and Clinton has never seen a war she didn't support. Her consistency from Iraq to Libya places her closer to McCain than Obama. Things are at a very early stage as the bombing begins, and these are provisional worries. But unless something miraculous happens quickly, I see this as a lose-lose proposition for the president.

Let's leave aside the fact that this is the FIRST war that Andrew Sullivan did not like (oh by the way, McCain opposed military action in Bosnia). In 2002, Obama said:

Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

[. . .] I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

[. . .] That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear. I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

[. . .] You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

[. . .] Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

(Emphasis supplied.) The Libya action is not yet a "war," in the Iraq Debacle sense. It is not even a war in the Kosovo sense, though it could very well become one. I do not see the American interest in Libya. In that sense, I agree with Andrew Sullivan. But his thinking and writing on the matter (and most matters) is so mindless, so reflexively Beltway stupid, so lacking in nuance, so lacking in understanding, that it can only be charitably called "kneejerk." By contrast, General Wesley Clark (whose thoughtfulness Sullivan has naturally abhorred for years), explained why intervention in Libya is not merited:

[W]hat is the wisest course of action in Libya? To me, it seems we have no clear basis for action. Whatever resources we dedicate for a no-fly zone would probably be too little, too late. We would once again be committing our military to force regime change in a Muslim land, even though we can't quite bring ourselves to say it. So let's recognize that the basic requirements for successful intervention simply don't exist, at least not yet: We don't have a clearly stated objective, legal authority, committed international support or adequate on-the-scene military capabilities, and Libya's politics hardly foreshadow a clear outcome.

We should have learned these lessons from our long history of intervention. We don't need Libya to offer us a refresher course in past mistakes.

The Libya action is not right or wrong because of who opposes or supports it. I think President Obama, with the apparent advocacy of the action by his Secretary of State, made the wrong decision. But not because Obama "opposed all wars." But for the reasons laid out by General Clark.

Sullivan has found a reason and a way to oppose the Libya action that does not require thought - it is a "Clinton" war. Typical from the "Fifth Columnist."

Speaking for me only

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    I abhor (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:43:19 AM EST
    Andy Sullivan. His love of Obama previous to this was reminiscent of this love of Bush in the early 2000's. He's tacitly conceding that Obama isn't sharp enough to be president nor qualified to be president if Bill and Hillary can control him.

    I am sort of ambivalent on the whole thing. I do not want to get involved in another skirmish in the middle east but I do understand helping the people of the country get rid if Gaddafi.

    I saw a poll that said the majority of Americans are against this action. I think it's mainly because Obama has never really sold the public on the reason to be there.

    Considering you (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:55:35 PM EST
    have a similarily irrational hatred of the man its hard not to see why you'd disagree with Sullivan.

    My dislike (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Mar 22, 2011 at 05:37:43 AM EST
    of Sullivan is exactly based on his writings no more no less.

    Well, I think our intervention there (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:44:59 AM EST
    is supportable on the same basis as Serbia and (perhaps to a greater extent) Gulf War I. Most important to me, we are not acting unilaterally. I think the American interest, looked at broadly, is likely being furthered.

    That said, your point about Sully putting personalities and individual pettiness of policy is well taken. What a small man.

    I've never been convinced this is the (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:09:31 AM EST
    speech Obama gave in 2002.  Later "recreation" for purposes of recording it.  

    Also, Greenwald recently pointed out candidate Obama unequivocably stated in writing during the primaries the President of the U.S. is required by the U.S. Constitution to get the approval of Congress to wage war.  

    I'm glad (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 01:31:12 PM EST
    that someone else feels like I do about that speech. As far as I know it was never reported and frankly the whole speech and incident could be completely made up.

    'The Decadent Left' (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by ruffian on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 01:28:34 PM EST
    Surely he can do better than that. Last time I checked, Republicans had most of the money in this country.

    Sullivan's CDS is so deep he is not even an interesting foil anymore. Motivations aside, I also believe Libya is a lose-lose situation.

    Obama is walking the line between supporting it with the beginning air strikes and going all-in. We'll see how well that workd.

    I believe it does not apply (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Warren Terrer on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 07:31:10 PM EST
    2(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    There's been no declaration of war, no specific statutory authorization and no national emergency created by attack up on the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    The Constitution may be inconvenient, but it is still the law.

    The Fifth Columnist :) (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:31:28 AM EST
    I love it!  Well whatever it is that Andrew hopes to stir today because he hasn't been able to be noticed for stirring something for awhile, we will be having very limited participation in Libya.  Milk it Andy, you don't have much time left on this.

    I wish that everyone running this show would  listen to Clark though.  He knows what he's doing in these situations, he bridges the worlds between functional governments, nonfunctional governments, war crimes and military actions like a highwire artist.  He always goes into these things with the blueprints for the roads leading out put in place early on.  He also always seems to know where the center of gravity is in such matters and how to keep that center of gravity in place with humanity first.

    If France and Britain and the swarm now going with them wants to protect the civilians of Libya though from the wrath of Gaddafi, I'm good with that.

    But (none / 0) (#4)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:57:43 AM EST
    Clark says we have no legal authority and no international support?  What about Arab League and U.N.  I may not agree with the decision, but I hardly think the action lacks international support or legal authority.  

    That was written before (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:00:12 AM EST
    the UN resolution and the Arab League statement.

    HOWEVER, neither of those events creates legal authority for the President to act. Only the Congress can do that.

    So far, nothing from the Congress and indeed nothing ASKED of the Congress by the President.

    The Libya action is illegal under US law.


    I've been hearing that conclusion a lot (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:04:11 AM EST
    over the past couple of days. I'm not convinced that it's right, though. I think in the short term, the President is committed with the power and duty to protect our international interests. He must seek Congressional authorization (really ratification) for his actions in Libya, but I think he has more flexibility than you are willing to grant him.  

    Not even close (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:08:43 AM EST
    There is nothing that prevented or prevents the President from seeking Congressional authority. There is no imminent threat. Hell, there is no doubt of how such a request would come out - the President would get a Congressional resolution. Its dumb of the President not to go to Congress.

    As a question of Constitutional law, it is not even a close case.

    As a practical reality, well, we know what that is. It's why I did not make a big deal out of it.


    Where we differ is here: (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:18:13 AM EST
    I think the "practical reality" that I articulated is the working Constitutional law on the subject.

    It's never really been tested in this specific context, though, because Congress always ratifies.


    General Clark says the action (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:21:58 AM EST
    is appropriate now with the U.N. resolution and the Arab League.

    You know how I feel about Clark (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:25:18 AM EST
    but under US law, the UN resolution is meaningless.

    In fact, the Kosovo action has the better argument as a NATO action because of the NATO treaty.

    Nothing under US law regarding the UN provides the President the power to act militarily because of a UN resolution.


    Want to bet that the WH can come up (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:28:01 AM EST
    with some treaty justification for this?

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:37:45 AM EST
    Lawyers can write anything.

    I'm so used to Presidents getting their 90 days (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 01:17:59 PM EST
    for whatever, that it really never occurs to me that there is standard to meet in those 90 days.

    Well that's de facto (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:23:31 AM EST
    I meant de jure.

    Now, that distinction may be meaningless to you, it is not to me.

    The reason is that the easiest way to change the de facto is to point out the de jure.


    I don't think the War Powers Act (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:27:13 AM EST
    is ever going to be tested. I sure hope we're never in a position where it has to be. As a practical matter, I'm not sure I see 5 votes for standing (which would likely belong to Congress, if anyone), let alone the merits.

    Congress's war power is at a low ebb (no pun intended), and that's arguably contrary to Constitutional text. But I don't see how we change that without creating a really difficult situation for everyone.


    That's not the point (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:37:21 AM EST
    The de facto here would be custom and practice.

    Bush 43 went to the Congress for both Afghanistan and Iraq. As did Bush 41 for Desert Storm (Not for Panama though, a clearly illegal action.)

    Clinton I think would have gone to Congress for Kosovo (Bosnia was not exactly a military action but rather a military commitment) but the GOP would have blocked it. So he didn't.

    It's funny because after Desert Storm, Kosovo was the most successful action but without a doubt the most illegal under US law.

    Now international law is another story as the IRaq Debacle was clealry illegal under international law but legal under US law.


    So, if (none / 0) (#18)
    by brodie on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:18:14 AM EST
    The Libya action is illegal under US law.

    that would make it an impeachable offense, no?

    And Clinton should have been impeached for Kosovo, not Monica?


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:23:03 AM EST
    You can make that argument. And Bush 41 for Panama. And Reagan for Grenada. Etc.

    Impeachment is a political act. Presidents dropping bombs without legal authority has long NOT been considered an impeachable offense.

    Hell, I think the only impeachable offense these days is having sex.


    Seems strange that (none / 0) (#25)
    by brodie on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    this cautious president who's normally so concerned about what the GOP thinks and who prefers to meet them more than halfway, this former constitutional perfesser and primary candidate who expressed a view strongly in favor of cong'l authorization, it seems odd that he wouldn't have gone to Congress for a quick okay for a limited engagement.

    Especially when the impeachment-initiating chamber House of Reps is in the control of the mischievous Republicans -- a curious bunch of pols who have a recent track record of pulling some nasty political stunts with the impeachment power when they think it would benefit them.

    This one has me a little nervous.  Especially if the military action drags on beyond a week or begins to go south.


    They aren't going to try and impeach him (none / 0) (#26)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    1)It's an election year, and see how well that played for them last time. When the economy is bad, people have no patience for that.

    2) They got a pass on Bush, Jr. because of Dems with no backbone. If they tried impeaching the second Dem president in a row, every Republican president in the future would be subject to the same thing.

    All this talk of impeachment is good for one thing - fundraising dollars.  Nothing will come of it.


    Under the War Powers resolution of '73, (none / 0) (#28)
    by Farmboy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 12:53:58 PM EST
    the action taken towards Libya is most certainly not illegal. The president announced the action within the 48 hours required, and he has not yet kept troops involved past 60 days.

    While there are arguments debating the constitutionality of the resolution, Congress passed it over a Nixon veto, so until the SCOTUS rules otherwise it is the law of the land.

    And IMHO, the everything-Clinton-did-was-wrong crowd would have impeached him for double dipping in the salsa bowl if they thought it would work. At least this time around it's members of the president's own party that wants him impeached, like Rep. Kucinich.


    IT neither complies with (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:08:35 PM EST
    the War Powrs Act, which requires imminent threat, or the Constitution.

    Jerry Nadler (none / 0) (#50)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 03:26:34 PM EST
    agrees with you, BTD.  He's incensed.  Repubs probably keeping relatively quiet because they want the same pass if one of theirs gains the presidency.  

    How does this Libyan action compare to (none / 0) (#27)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 12:22:50 PM EST
    our action in Serbia/Bosnia.  Both seem to have a humanitarian bent? Both were initiated for a limited time & purpose? (I am assuming that the Libyan intervention will be of the planned short duration in which the US plays a supporting role.)

    For the most part, I am very cautious (and negatively predisposed) when US military intervention is used to problem-solve. Yet, I also believe there are situations that warrant such military action; and, further, that limited intervention may and does occur without a declaration of war. Very limited intervention. (In fact, a declaration in a case like this could have the unexpected effect of widening the action to fit the declaration. Far better to feel hemmed in by time/scope with a watchful public overseeing than obtaining the free pass.)


    Not sure I agree (none / 0) (#46)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:57:47 PM EST
    the 90 days period for some but not full military action has been a recognized (though not explicitly delineated) part of Executive branch powers for a solid half century now (some would argue 2 centuries and date it to Jefferson).

    "Recognized?" (none / 0) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:06:49 PM EST
    Look,de fact is not de jure.

    The Constitution does not allow it.

    But that part of the Constitution is a dead letter.


    It was murky to me too (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 09:20:03 AM EST
    about getting involved at first, when the U.N. moved swiftly though to prevent genocide it firmed up credibility and need in my mind.  Oooooh, Clark just came on CNN as I'm typing. He says that in his mind it is now a legal action since the U.N. resolution and the Arab League signing on.  I didn't plan on him coming on the tube right this minute.....just happened.  He seems happier too with the stated objectives, but I know that whenever he sees the powers that be driving off the road he will speak up.

    Interesting counter-take on Libya... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:18:01 AM EST
    ok, so, in that 2002 speech, (none / 0) (#20)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:30:09 AM EST
    was obama referring to both afghanistan & iraq, because both would qualify as "dumb wars"?

    aside from the "moral" issue involved (khadafi threatening retribution on everyone who looks at him funny), we have no actual national interest in libya, at least not obviously. one could argue that replacing the col. (you'd think he'd have promoted himself to gen. by now) with someone less likely to support/engage in terrorism is in our national interest. you could, but so far the obama administration hasn't made that argument.

    the obama administration also neglected (i'm sure it was an oversight) to get, at minimum, a congressional resolution authorizing him to use military action against libyan forces, in libya.

    not an auspicious beginning of the week.

    That's one of the oddest things (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:57:04 AM EST
    if I've read in a long time.

    the obama administration also neglected (i'm sure it was an oversight) to get ... a congressional resolution

    If it was an oversight, then they are more amateurish than I thought.  Aren't they supposed to have "people"?

    But you know what's saddest?  I think you might even be right.


    Interesting take (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 11:31:20 AM EST
    from Ilya Somin at Volokh on this subject:

    Article I of the Constitution clearly gives Congress, not the president, the "power... to declare War." The Founding Fathers sought to avoid a situation where one man had the power to commit the nation to war on his own initiative.

    It's arguable that some small-scale uses of force don't rise to the level of a war and therefore can be undertaken by the president acting alone under his authority as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. President Reagan's 1986 airstrike on Libya might be an example, as were Bill Clinton's 1998 missile strikes against Al Qaeda base camps in Afghanistan. If all the Obama administration intends is to launch a few Tomahawk missiles, perhaps this action would fall in the same category. However, it seems highly likely that the president plans to go well beyond this. Military operations are likely to continue for some time, perhaps until Gaddafi has either been overthrown or at least compelled to leave the rebel-controlled parts of Libya unmolested. If so, it seems quite clear that congressional authorization for military action on that scale is required.

    Congressional authorization also might not be needed if all the president is responding to an ongoing or imminent attack. However, Gaddafi has not attacked the US in recent years (though he did sponsor numerous anti-American terrorist attacks in the 1980s and early 90s) and there doesn't seem to be any evidence that he had any immediate intention of doing so.

    As Andrew McCarthy recognizes, congressional authorization need not specifically use the words "declaration of war." It is enough that it clearly authorize large-scale military operations against the enemy in question, as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Al Qaeda and the Taliban did in 2001.

    For all the hoopla about the supposedly overwhelming growth of presidential power, presidents have in fact gotten advance or nearly simultaneous congressional authorization for almost every major military intervention the United States has undertaken since World War II. This was true in Korea, Vietnam, the two Iraq wars, and many other cases. Bill Clinton's 1999 military action in Kosovo was the one time during that period when a president entered into a major conflict in the face of actual opposition by the majority in Congress. In part for that reason, Clinton strictly limited the scale of American involvement, avoiding the use of ground forces and ensuring that US troops didn't suffer any combat casualties. Perhaps Obama plans to do the same thing with Libya; but if so, he will be in a difficult position if more coercion is needed to succeed.

    Military intervention in Somalia (none / 0) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 10:35:07 AM EST
    was initially a humanitarian effort by President GHW Bush and left to President Clinton.  The military mission expanded and brought concern for Congressional authorization and reporting under the War Powers Act.   Libya is not genocide in the sense of the Rwandan mass murder, it is a rebellion.

    of course we needed to help in libya (none / 0) (#31)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 01:31:09 PM EST
    Tunisia's and Egypt's dictators left rather than brutally  kill their own citizens and that signaled to other arabs that they too might be able to throw off their oppressors. If we did nothing in Libya then when Quaddafi  put down this rebellion we would have to deal with all the bad consequences of that decision anyway. I understand that the outcome may not be exactly what we want but our hand was forced once Quaddfi didn't leave. Doing nothing would have been chicken shit, something I am sure Obama has no problem with but thank goodness the women in the administration wouldn't watch that happen. Either you support people who are trying to throw off dictators or you are not the united states of america (which we admittedly have not historicallyy been). So if Hitchens is correct and Hillary did this here here!

    What is interesting is that the europeans have helped lead the way unlike when Clinton had to do it himself in the former yugoslavia. Perhaps they are shamed by their  history in that conflict.

    Iraq was a totally unnecessary and dumb war ( I too don't believe that Obama gave that speech ) but this is  kosovo all over again. We could not in good conscience stand by and let slaughter go ahead there and we cannot stand by now. What was our strategic interest in the former yugoslavia? Only our humanity.

    Agree in part; disagree in part. (none / 0) (#33)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 01:50:45 PM EST
    The "agree" part: Yes, it does look like Serbia/Bosnia very much redux. Yes, when Qaddafi did not leave, our choice really had to be that of limited intervention...in view of the transformation now occuring in the region and in view of who we say that we are (see again, Kosovo.)

    The "disagree" part: I applaud President Obama for taking the decision to move ahead with this intervention and with the manner that the whole Administration worked out a seamless approval from the often cantankerous Security Council, etc. While so much of the implementation in the earliest stages must be credited to the formidable, sagacious Secretary of State Clinton, the military intervention overall (the decision taken & the overall coordination) in a real and perceived sense can only be attributed to the one in charge, President Obama. It is the classic "on the watch thing"...no matter one's personal feelings.


    I guess we agree to disagree on that part (none / 0) (#34)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 02:45:34 PM EST
    I don't care what the motivations are for anyone in politics I only look at outcome. In this case the outcome was the right one no matter what the final result is- the US stood up for principle.

    But if I am rating outcomes for the Obama administration they have been largely bad and not in general anything I would support  as a dyed-in-blue democrat. So it is always a surprise when they do something I  support and difficult to hide my feelings.


    Outcomes (none / 0) (#38)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 05:57:48 PM EST
    I tend to look at results rather than hypothesizing motivations. Thanks for your honesty.

    France wanted (none / 0) (#51)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 03:31:06 PM EST
    the intervention because it gets a good portion of its oil from Libya.  Arab League members worried that Qaddafi will blow up oil facilities.

    I think a no fly zone is appropriate... (none / 0) (#35)
    by masslib on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 02:50:55 PM EST
    with the UN resolution.  I don't think it requires congressional approval.  I think it is utter hyperbole to compare the US actions in Libya with the launch of the Iraq war for which let's recall there was not even an uprising to support.  I do wonder if some on the Left have too willingly embraced isolationism, that used to be the Republican position, but that's neither here nor there.  I have to say, I find it humorous that anyone who supports the President would call this Hillary's war. It assumes he's a dupe and a pawn for the Clintons.  On whether or not this is illegal, I think that question is unanswerable unless Congress wrestles with it itself and finds it is.  I mean, Presidents will always exercise more power than may be permissible under the Constitution until Congress says they can not.

    Congress in the last ten years (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 06:20:04 PM EST
    has, by their lack of action, set the precedent that the president is above the law and the Constitution (exception: 2nd Amendment) is not binding if the president choses to ignore it.

    Exactly. (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by masslib on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 06:29:30 PM EST
    And the only remedy for that is Congress.  

    To hear the military briefings (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 04:59:15 PM EST
    on bomb damage assessment and air superiority is like a re-run of the first Iraq war and wars since.....

    Just too many wars.....

    Kissenger reborn as BTD? (none / 0) (#39)
    by diogenes on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 06:13:55 PM EST
    "I do not see the American national interest in a military intervention in Libya."

    Surely there are more important things in the world than parochial American self-interest narrowly defined.

    Invade China!!! (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 06:56:08 PM EST