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What Exactly Is the War Powers Act and Is Obama Really Violating It?

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A Libyan rebel fighter on the outskirts of the eastern city of Ajdabiya on May 19, 2011 (Saeed Khan/Getty Images/AFP PHOTO)

President Obama is facing a swell of bipartisan criticism for continuing military engagement in Libya without congressional approval. Even supporters of the Libya intervention have complained that the administration is flouting the law.

So, is it?  

Well, the president is certainly sidestepping the controversial law known as the War Powers Act, but in doing so he’s following a well-worn path.  

The Vietnam-era law requires the president to seek approval from Congress after 60 days of military engagement. The law was passed in 1973 after the United States fought the Korean and Vietnam wars without actual declarations of war. But it’s always been controversial. (President Nixon actually vetoed the law, but Congress overrode him.)

According to a 2004 Congressional Research Service report, “every President since the enactment of the War Powers Resolution has taken the position that it is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s authority as Commander-in-Chief.”

President Obama, in defending the legitimacy of the Libyan operation, hasn’t actually made that argument. On Wednesday, he submitted a report to Congress arguing that his administration isn’t in violation of the act at all, despite the fact that the 60-day deadline for congressional approval of Libya operations came and went in May.  

White House spokesman Jay Carney has argued that the United States’ “constrained and limited operations” in Libya “do not amount to hostilities” because the United States doesn’t have or intend to place soldiers on the ground and has not sustained the casualties typical of such hostilities.

The United States in April pulled its cruise missiles and attack planes out of combat in the NATO-led Libyan mission, though it still has them on standby. It’s currently providing support such as aerial refueling, surveillance and reconnaissance, according to the AP.

Speaker of the House John Boehner has said the White House’s stance “doesn’t pass the straight-face test.”

President Obama is far from alone in finding creative ways around the War Powers Act. As the New York Times has noted, the Clinton administration continued the bombing campaign in Kosovo past the 60-day deadline, arguing that Congress had implicitly approved the mission when it approved funding for it. (The Act specifically says that funding doesn’t constitute authorization, the Times notes. And Obama wouldn’t be able to use that reasoning anyway—the administration is using existing funds for the Libya mission.)

Clinton’s successor, President George W. Bush, did request—and receive—a resolution of support from Congress for the Iraq war, but Bush also made clear that his compliance with the War Powers Act didn’t mean he agreed with the act’s constitutionality. Here’s what he said [PDF], as quoted in a Congressional Research Service report:

As I made clear to congressional leaders at the outset, my request for congressional support did not, and my signing this resolution does not, constitute any change in the long-standing positions of the executive branch on either the President’s constitutional authority to use the Armed Forces to defend vital U.S. interests or the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution.

While presidents have long inveighed against the act, lawmakers have just as frequently invoked it, often as a political weapon.  

This week, a bipartisan group of 10 House members—a combination of Republicans and antiwar Democrats—sued the Obama administration this week over the War Powers Act. But the move may be little more than symbolic. As NPR notes, lawmakers have never successfully used the War Powers Act to end any military mission, and in 2000, the Supreme Court refused to touch the issue when lawmakers complained about Kosovo.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that many of Obama’s critics seem a bit conflicted about the legitimacy of the act. As Politico has reported, Boehner—who sent a confrontational letter to the president this week—actually voted to repeal the law in 1995. In 1999, he called it “constitutionally suspect.” Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker has an obligation to honor existing law “regardless of his personal views.”

But Boehner’s also been unclear about whether Obama is even violating the act. Two weeks ago, Boehner said that “technically,” he wasn’t: “Legally, they’ve met their requirements [under] the War Powers Act,” he said of the administration.

(On Libya, Boehner has said that the United States “has a moral obligation to stand with those who seek freedom from oppression and self-government for their people” and called Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s actions “unacceptable and outrageous.”)

As the House ups the ante on the War Powers Act, Sens. John Kerry and John McCain are advancing a bipartisan resolution to support the U.S. role in Libya. (McCain, a Republican, has criticized Obama administration’s reasoning as “a confusing breach of common sense.”)

As we’ve noted, the Obama administration has sought to downplay its role in the Libya conflict since it began in March—though there’s been some mission creep: The Obama administration originally said that the goal of the intervention was not regime change in Libya, but it has since suggested that its measure for success will be Qaddafi’s departure.

No one on the face of the planet, including Congress and the President, has ever been authorized to pass a bill or do anything else in violation of the Constitution making the War Powers Act null and void and this discussion nonsensical. The Constitution has specific steps through which it must be changed. Congress cannot just pass a bill.

That being said, however, the Constitution is obviously not in effect. Each successive President and each successive Congress takes little baby steps in violation of the Constitution hoping that We the People, the only enforcers of the Constitution, won’t notice.

By engaging in hostilities in Libya without a Declaration of War, as specified in the Constitution, we are in violation of the Constitution and the War Powers Act should not even be in consideration.

YES…THE GOVERNMENT IS MADE UP OF FUDGERS…WHO VIEW THE CONSITUTION AS QUAINT AND PROBABLY A BOTHER IN THEIR SELF INTERESTED PURSUITS..WE DON’T HAVE LEGISLATORS WE HAVE APPARATCHICS..

colleen browne

June 17, 2011, 1:01 p.m.

I have never understood how any president could question the constitutionality of the act.  Since Congress is given the power to declare war it would seem fairly straight forward that the President doing it behind the back of Congress, as it were, would be a constitutional violation.  That said, my reading of the Constitution also tells me that the roles of each with reguard to war are quite ambigious.  While it is clear that Congress making an official declaration of war is very straight forward and very obvious, it is equally clear that the President cannot address the nation and officially declare war- at least without the consent of Congress.  That the framers did not see fit to define what a declaration of war is or what specifically commander in chief means, it gets murky.

That said, those who wrote the Act of 1973 seemed to be very careful to give the President the power to deal with an emergency and yet be accountable to the Congress and ultimately the country. 

While I believe we need a strong president, I also believe that we need a strong Congress and that the latter should be very vigilant to check the powers of the presidency.  Much of the debaucle of the Bush Administration might have been avoided if Congress while under Republican control had not simply allowed him whatever powers he wished, reguardless of how egregious. 

The Obama Adminstration seems to make a reasonable argument in their defense that the U.S. is playing what is basically an auxilliary role which does not involve directly taking part in the hostilities.
At the end of the day, the Administration will get its way as they always have and Congress will simply accede to it.  This does not strike me as the ideal way to keep our democracy.  I am reminded of the woman who asked Franklin after the constitutional convention in Philadelphia whether we will have a monarchy or a republic and he replied “A republic if you can keep it”

colleen browne

June 17, 2011, 1:04 p.m.

Web Smith:  The War Powers Act of 1973 did not “change”  the Constitution, it clarified it which was exactly what the framers had in mind.

Edwin B. Rideout

June 17, 2011, 1:40 p.m.

bout.

The Grim Reaper

June 17, 2011, 1:49 p.m.

We no longer elect presidents but instead kings.  The blatant disregard of presidents with these executive orders and the legions of attorneys that spend countless time writing decisions on behalf of presidents that shit all over our rule of law and constitution are blatant crimes against the people of this country.  Our entire political process is now predicated on dynamics which are completely counter to any rule of law or self-rule.  This includes violations of the FOIA, secrecy used proactively to hide political crimes, executive orders, the extension of corporate personhood, secrecy that never had legal precedence until the last half decade, lobbying, private funding of elections, etc, etc, etc. 

The cat is out of the bag and that means we will never go back to the endless fraud that existed in secrecy just a few years ago.  Now, with so many lives being destroyed by political corruption, the American electorate is focused on what politicians are actually doing.  And that means it’s just a matter of time until the system resets or is fixed. 

The two party system should be banned.  When candidates across the country are hand-picked by a few stooges controlling entire political parties and the message of its candidates through the use of campaign dollars as a form of coercion and bribery, the system yields exactly what it seeks.  That is, the perpetuation of corruption and candidates who show allegiance to that corruption.

The Constitution does not outline any ifs, ands or buts. Not a single bullet should be fired against another nation unless a war is “declared”. When we bombed Libyan targets, would any rational person say that that doesn’t look like war? Proponents of unfettered executive branch power are disingenuous at best. The War Powers Act of 1973 is unconstitutional and so are all these undeclared wars.

Colleen Browne

June 17, 2011, 2:15 p.m.

Alan- The Constitution calls for setting up a judiciary.  But it says nothing about how many judges there should be either on SCOTUS or the other courts.  Does that then mean that none can be appointed?  One thing the framers did know as they looked around the country was that state constitutions were full of dead wood.  They were long and unruly.  They intentionally designed the U.S. Constitution so it would not sufffer from the same ills.  They knew that lawmakers would fill in the blanks based on the guidance they had given.  For example, in The Judiciary Act of 1789, the judiciary was set up.  This bill was passed by the framers.  Washington was president.  No one complained that they had no right to pass this bill since the specifics were not written into the Constitution.

The idea that so called textualists promote that the framers did not intend there to be implied powers in the constitution is nonsense and the proof lies in the example I sited though there are many more.

Colleen Browne

June 17, 2011, 2:30 p.m.

Grim Reaper: While I agree with much of what you posted, there are a few things about which I would have to disagree.  Kings aren’t elected they inherit the crown.  Further, executive orders have been used throughout history beginning with George Washington.  If Congress is unhappy with a specific order, it has an obligation to pass a law barring the President from doing whatever it is about which they disagree.
I do agree that much that has been done in the executive branch has been contrary to our ideals as a democratic country but it has been allowed to go on because Congress has done nothing to stop it. 

I believe that in not properly investigating torture, the actions that led to the war in Iraq, illegal wiretapping, etc. , they abrigated their Constitutional duty of oversite. Unfortunately, too many of these things have been unchallenged by the Obama Administration.

As for the two party system being banned, I am not sure whether you mean that there should be more than two parties or that parties should be banned or that there should be only one.  The fact is, anyone can get involved in their local party and they can have an effect.  The problem isn’t so much with the parties themselves as with the fact that so many people don’t get involved on a local level and play a part in the democracy.

Herbert Lubitz

June 17, 2011, 2:32 p.m.

Well this is just another story as was told before the same as always. We the people better get mobile and take our rights back before the make another law to banish all our rights as non conformists of the state. We own the government, and should have our own elections with our own elections committee, and banish the two party system and only support the people we know that has no ties to corrupt government and pharma pimps. Start more private corporations that are as involved in the outcome as the rest of us. Get rid of the banking cartell, they all belong to England and the New World Order anyway. Get rid of the FED, and start printing money on the quantity of the holdings instead of the piece of paper that is worthless and soon will be worth zilch. We don’t need to be printing money out of thin air, soon or later thinair is all that is left, as it is not worth the paper it’s printed on. Every dollar you have in your pocket is just an IOU from the FED that printed it from debt not the value it say’s we have. Do yourself a favor and buy storable food and fuel and other material items that you would use if you ever find that the electric companys went belly up or was just destroyed by a massive solar flare, that could last for years, and leave you cold and dark, and those computer controlled vehicles you love so much are shiny now but what are they good for when they wont run because of an atomic blast a few miles above the earth is detonated, you do know they wont run as the chips will be destroyed in seconds of any one of these happen to be your fate. And your cell phones and ipods wont go much further either you know, so sell them now and switch to technology of the 1960’s. Go buy some non computerized trucks and autos that run on diesel or cooking oil. Don’t be afraid of people laughing at you, as they can have all the shiney new cars that are sitting on the road dead while I ponder through town in my VW deisel, that may be old, but it wont need three people to push it. I dropped all my banks and now have zilch, I don’t look for credit as they got me once in the mortgage fiasco and wont fall for it again. Even natural gas would do most of the work as all of the other fuels wont be of much help in a pinch, when the wells go dry.
I say take this system and shove it, I aint livin here no more….....

Obama is not off the hook because other Presidents broke the law period.
Time this violation stops.

No single man should have this right.

Put the man in jail. He blatantly pis******ed on his oath of office. And for that matter retroactively put all past living Presidents in jail as well.

colleen browne

June 17, 2011, 2:38 p.m.

Okie dokie Herbert- After you have gotten help for your paranoia you might want to build a time machine and go back to the 1820’s.  No, forget that even they will think your ideas are outdated.  You have a nice day now.

colleen browne

June 17, 2011, 2:54 p.m.

pgillenw- We do not know that Obama has broken the law.  No single man should have this power and he does not.  Congress has handed the power to him.  They could at any time, cut off funding.  Was it not Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 23?  who said that ultimately, the primary war power that Congress posesses is the power of the purse?

He has not pi____ed on his oath of office.  That is nonsense.  He is doing what he believes is best for the country.

Maybe if women were in charge of these countries, including the USA, we would all be having different discussions.

colleen browne

June 17, 2011, 3:18 p.m.

I don’t know about that.  The first person who comes to my mind is Thatcher.  She was as warlike as any man that I am aware of.  When there was an impending election and she was enormously unpopular, she found a war in the Faulklands to fight.  What a coincidence!  And going to war in Western Democracies always seems to provide a short term bump in popularity for the leader.

the framers of the constitution did not assume we would have a standing army, it seems. 

thus this conflict.  you won’t have an army if congress doesn’t fund it, therein lies the balance of power.

“you won’t have an army if congress doesn’t fund it…”

Perfect. Just what I had in mind!

BTW, I thought we were supposed to use our real names here.

Mike McDermott

June 18, 2011, 7 a.m.

If no money has been allocated for this venture, where is it coming from?  What other programs are being cut that the money was allocated for in the budget?

Nothing has been cut- yet. The wars have mostly gone on a credit card. That may change when our social programs get gutted. Stay tuned…

I was about to comment on this until I read the Grim Reaper’s post.  I have yet to read a better formulated and frank description of the political reality that now challenges us as American citizens. 

The Grim Reaper:

“We no longer elect presidents but instead kings.  The blatant disregard of presidents with these executive orders and the legions of attorneys that spend countless time writing decisions on behalf of presidents that shit all over our rule of law and constitution are blatant crimes against the people of this country.  Our entire political process is now predicated on dynamics which are completely counter to any rule of law or self-rule.  This includes violations of the FOIA, secrecy used proactively to hide political crimes, executive orders, the extension of corporate personhood, secrecy that never had legal precedence until the last half decade, lobbying, private funding of elections, etc, etc, etc.

The cat is out of the bag and that means we will never go back to the endless fraud that existed in secrecy just a few years ago.  Now, with so many lives being destroyed by political corruption, the American electorate is focused on what politicians are actually doing.  And that means it’s just a matter of time until the system resets or is fixed.

The two party system should be banned.  When candidates across the country are hand-picked by a few stooges controlling entire political parties and the message of its candidates through the use of campaign dollars as a form of coercion and bribery, the system yields exactly what it seeks.  That is, the perpetuation of corruption and candidates who show allegiance to that corruption.”

Of the article’s examples of what it argues is a “well-worn path’ of presidents sidestepping the law, only the Clinton example can be said to be an example of that. Other presidents have, perhaps reluctantly, followed the letter of the law. So Obama is only the 2nd example, hardly a “well-worn path” that he follows.
He also claims that the U.N. allowance of military action supercedes U.S. law, which is I think is unprecedented, that the U.N. can in effect cancel out the constitution.  Here, Mr. Obama is clearly pioneering his own path:
“U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo,” according to the administration’s report.

Edward Bancroft

June 18, 2011, 2:54 p.m.

I was certainly prescient in trying to undo the American rebellion against our Sovereign, King George III.  Look at the mess they have made of self-government!  The British in North America, even with the hindrance of so many French troublemakers, have done far better for themselves in what they now call “Canada”.  The descendants of the American rebels ought to be glad we are present on their north so that their children can escape being butchered in Amerca’s bloody, imperial wars.  Hmmph!  Try to have an empire based on a plutocracy rather than a well-born, noble lineage and that’s what you get!

Edward Bancroft “GOOD GRIEF!”

John Henry Bicycle Lucas

June 18, 2011, 7:36 p.m.

Hmmm, I wonder why my post was not posted here…maybe it hit to close to home? Not enough courage to let it be posted?

The question of the constitutionality of the WPA is, in my view, beside the point:

First and most regrettably, the US Constitution - as others have written - commands little loyalty from most sworn to uphold it :  presidents, MCs, SCOTUS justices.

Secondly and most importantly, we have a larger problem :  because of the disloyalty of our officials and the resulting concentration of power in the executive branch - as it represents the wishes of the plutocracy - we no longer have a republican form of government. 

Thirdly, not only are the people of the United States no represented, but they lack the basic understanding necessary for self-government.  Their schools have failed to educate them as participating citizens.  The media are disinclined to give Americans more than propaganda.  Our people do not even have the sense to care for their own self-interest and make little effort to inform themselves or express themselves.

The point is we are no longer capable or even willing to exert ourselves in self-government.

“...The point is we are no longer capable or even willing to exert ourselves in self-government.”
__________________

I believe that has been true.  However, as critical infrastructure breaks down and social programs are cut to the bone or eliminated, and the standard of living for 95% of us continues to fall, people will wake up.  We are just beginning to see the consequences of the shift in wealth to the top tier.  Not only has there been no trickle down, but much of the wealth has been invested overseas or lost to arcane and fraudulent financial instruments.  Everyone knows someone who can’t find work, can’t pay for medical bills or pay their mortgage.  Eventually, people will figure it out.

Rudi Samuelson

June 19, 2011, 5:13 a.m.

Even if Obama can get away with violating the War Powers Act, why does he choose to do so? 

I think we’ve seen that as president, Obama has a reckless disregard of the law, both in foreign affairs and domestic rights, that is equivalent to that of Bush-Cheney.  Essentially Obama is a third Bush-Cheney term, without the annoying Texas accent and squint.

“every President since the enactment of the War Powers Resolution has taken the position that it is an unconstitutional infringement on the President’s authority as Commander-in-Chief.” Err something is wrong with my sight I can’t make out the difference between dictators and presidents. This article is plain propaganda.

Mr Samuelson:  I applaud your question, long disregarded since Obama’s election as POTUS.  What makes a man who attended a law school and lectured at another, both at well regarded universities,  violate his oath of office, the laws of the United States as passed or as ratified, should keep historians and sociologists busy for many decades.  Can the answer simply be ambition;  is it lack of courage to resist powerful interests;  has he no feeling for those he has caused to die or suffer greatly (Americans and foreigners);  what drives this man? 

Early in 2008,  I heard an audio clip on the internet by a man who called himself “Ali Sina”.  Some of his opinions I did not share, but his diagnosis of Barack Obama as an example of NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)  is still the best explanation I have yet heard.  Google it!  It may still be available.

Innocent Victim

June 19, 2011, 4:35 p.m.

Note:  I do not use my real name, because I do no safe in the US voicing opinions contrary to the wishes of our national security state, i.e. police state.

Mr Samuelson:  I applaud your question, long disregarded since Obama’s election as POTUS.  What makes a man who attended a law school and lectured at another, both at well regarded universities,  violate his oath of office, the laws of the United States as passed or as ratified, should keep historians and sociologists busy for many decades.  Can the answer simply be ambition;  is it lack of courage to resist powerful interests;  has he no feeling for those he has caused to die or suffer greatly (Americans and foreigners);  what drives this man? 

Early in 2008,  I heard an audio clip on the internet by a man who called himself “Ali Sina”.  Some of his opinions I did not share, but his diagnosis of Barack Obama as an example of NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)  is still the best explanation I have yet heard.  Google it!  It may still be available.

Obviously, this article is a little behind since McCain was on the TV this morning stating that Obama had every right to go into Libya to get rid of Kaddafi…..waffle, waffle, waffle.  That’s what our government is good at lately.

Hmmm….  Reminds me of Iraq. 

Our killing of 500,000 Iraqi preschoolers is not acknowledged as terrorism and “worth the price”, but the killing of less than 3,000 Americans in military facilities is considered terrorism, and is used to justify more mass murders.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2irN1G5HiRo

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”     
                                   
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

We need AMERICANS in public office. Not DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS

Glenn Smith you are right on!

Innocent Victim

June 20, 2011, 7:21 p.m.

@Glenn Smith
I believe we get AMERICANS in office.  They behave as Americans behave.  Those who are more ethical, responsible, patriotic, do not generally seek public office, regrettably.  There are exceptions but that is the rule.  Our country is too big, too diverse.  We do not identify with each other as a people unless something extraordinary happens, something like 9/11.  Then we react with fear and anger and allow ourselves to be misled by our own criminals and liars (i.e. presidents, cabinet secretaries, members of congress, media and corporate moguls) into costly and bloody wars.  We kill millions of foreigners, maim and displace even more.  We send our own young people into harm’s way, getting them killed by the tens of thousands.  They come home, after years of service and cannot live with their experiences.  Yep!  We’re real Americans all!

I have senn many summers and many moons and all Americans were the greatest envy of mine and all people. What happened, who dunnit? The most dispised nation on earth, the Americans!!! I don;t for one minute believe the the average American is capable of creating such low esteem of themselve? Maybe,the current axiom has some bearing :

The boxing glove that lays you low is not guilty!.
Whose HAND is in the GLOVE?
Whose arm drives the Fist?
Whose brain drives the Arm? 
Is your president the Glove, the Fist, the Arm? the Brain?

Perhaps the sugar chrystal may help:
Spill a teaspoon of sugar on a smoothe surface, Use the straight edge of a sheet of paper and move the chrystals into a desired shape or form.As you would a squeegie.
Which are you? The Paper or the Chrystal?

The Media usually moves the Chrystals

John brings up a good point- media manipulation. Even accepting that, why was it so easily accomplished?

I had a discussion recently with a coworker. I mentioned that I felt I was an American and merely resided in my home state. He replied that most people did not feel that way, they thought of themselves as Texans, New Yorkers, etc. FIRST and as Americans second. Could this be? After 200+ years we are still a fractured society of 50 loosely-connected states? Why is this if it is true?

James M Fitzsimmons

June 21, 2011, 6:32 a.m.

Thank you for fair and balanced treatment of President Obama in this matter. I wonder, given the same facts and circumstances, how President Bush would have been treated.

A. Reysenbach

June 23, 2011, 5:36 p.m.

Semantics, as always.
“No boots on the ground” means not involved in war (number 3).
By that same ‘definition’ you could drop nukes from high altitude and not be involved in war. The war profiteering clique is terribly afraid that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might end and they want America to remain FOREVER involved in endless wars, which is their business.
Perpetual war is the only real “entitlement” of the militairy industrial complex who use America as a cash cow for their War Profiteering Racket. There is not a molecule of patriotism in it, only GREED.
They starve the elderly and needy

A. Reysenbach

June 23, 2011, 5:36 p.m.

Semantics, as always.
“No boots on the ground” means not involved in war (number 3).
By that same ‘definition’ you could drop nukes from high altitude and not be involved in war. The war profiteering clique is terribly afraid that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might end and they want America to remain FOREVER involved in endless wars, which is their business.
Perpetual war is the only real “entitlement” of the militairy industrial complex who use America as a cash cow for their War Profiteering Racket. There is not a molecule of patriotism in it, only GREED.
They starve the elderly and needy

Innocent Victim

June 23, 2011, 5:52 p.m.

When two of the dregs of US policy-making,  John Kerry and John McCain, can work together to pass new legislation,  you can be sure they are up to no good.  Now, it’s to give President Obama a retroactive approval for his war that’s not a war in Lybia!  They will cover Obama’s ass, just in case he did violate the WPA.  The wars must go on!

Innocent Victim

June 23, 2011, 5:58 p.m.

“Please use your real name”,  propublica asks.  Don’t we know that journalists are being harried by the CIA?  Don’t we know that Obama is prosecuting patriotic whistleblowers?  Don’t we see that Bradley Manning is being held without trial, without formal indictment for more than a year?  The journalists call it a “national security state”.  Call it what it is:  a police-state!  Der Fuehrer is Barack Obama.

“Call it what it is:  a police-state!  Der Fuehrer is Barack Obama.”

What BS! I supported Obama in 2008. Now, no one is as critical of his performance as I am (real criticism, not some right-wing ideological rant). No jack-booted thugs have showed up at my door and I’m all over the internet. Can the conspiracy theories and just grow a pair. Stand up for what you believe in.

Innocent Victim

June 23, 2011, 6:41 p.m.

What ignorance, Mr Dube!  Do you avoid democracynow.org in order to keep your illusions?  Are the FBI’s admissions of fishing expeditions, unfounded on evidence of lawbreaking, unknown to you?  Does the past use of the C.I.A. to investigate Juan Cole not trouble you?  How do you feel about the feds keeping of lists of citizens who are activists, who attend demonstrations and protests?  That causes you no concern.  Eventually, those lists are used for something: restrictions on air travel,  withholding of passports.  I know what I believe in.  I believe in the well proved theorem that we have in Barack Obama an unscrupulous, pathological narcissist, a shredder of our Constitution, war-monger, torturer (Bradley Manning), and executive assassin. 

By the way,  I am a socialist.

The spin masters can spin what they like it has zero effect on my believe that 1) dropping bombs on Libya is an act of war 2) pulling 30,000 or 33,000 troops from Afghanistan is not an attempt to end our wars in the Middle East and N. Africa.

Who wants to bet that we will see troops on the ground in Libya?

It is past time that we pull back all troops around the world. Why? Nations who reap rewards at the U.S. expense, we bank roll these wars, let them pay for a while.

We have over 26,000 troops stationed in S. Korea. Why? The S. Koreans are quite capable, thanks to America, fighting N. Korea. Our planes and ships are not that far away should we have to engage. This is more cost effective.

I am of the firm believe that America needs to have a time out. We need to heal ourselves. When that healing process is successful and our trillions of deficit has been brought down to a completely balanced budget then and only then should we engage only for humanitarian cases to aid other failed states.

We are bleeding. Vote out the war mongers. Troops at our SW borders is more critical than placing them in harms way in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, S. Korea, the E.U., Japan, Yemen, Bahrain, and the list seems endless.

It seems are elite in Washington is fearful of the U.S. loosing its leadership in the World. This is total hog wash. Besides who cares? Could it be those who care are the multinational corporations, at America’s cost, wanting to open ever more markets for themselves. It is the elite in Washington and the already greedy, filthy rich who are winning. Score for them, we lose.

Innocent Victim

June 23, 2011, 8:13 p.m.

@pgillenw
I agree with a great deal of your comment.  One thing saddens me though.  All the US projections of military power are in our names, American citizens.  I can think of only one since the end of WWII that was arguably necessary to repel aggression, the Korean War, and that one was made far bloodier than it need have been because of Gen. MacArthur’s irresponsibility and Truman’s weakness against the rabid right.  In every other foreign policy of the US, covert, supportive or open engagement, in Asia, Central and South America, now the Middle East and Central Asia, this country has killed, maimed and displaced millions of people who have never harmed us.  Those numbers are being increased daily in our invasions and occupations.  Yet, you mention only the costs to the US.  Perhaps you are so focused on our domestic problems that you have simply failed to mention the havoc we sow around the globe in our quest for resources and markets through military means.  These crimes are committed in the name of the American people, and we are held responsible for them by foreigners.  Some of those foreigners become terrorists and we use them as justifications for our continued criminal behavior overseas.  We create the terrorists, then use them as an excuse for our militarism.  It’s unending, as you observed.

Convincing no demanding that our elite in Washington put an immediate end to U.S. military engagement in foreign nations would not bring back the millions we have unjustly murdered but it would certainly bring us closer to not creating mass murder in the near future.

BTW a vote for Obama for a second term will not be a solution instead business as usual. A vote for a Republican, other than Ron Paul is a vote for business as usual.

Today I am convinced that Ron Paul would have us out of these wars quickly. I do not agree with all of Ron Paul’s beliefs but I do earnestly believe he is the only Presidential hopeful that can possibly get us out of the mess we find ourselves.

BTW what my Gov’t elite does in no way represents my values.

Innocent Victim

June 23, 2011, 9:39 p.m.

@pgillenw     I share your belief that Ron Paul does sincerely wish to end our wars quickly.    There are some shadow candidates, Russ Feingold,  Dennis Kucinich.  My concern is that we no longer have organizations to press forward our anti-war agenda.  I don’t think that individuals, even substantial numbers of them, unorganized, can be effective in changing policies. 

The ruling-class does not represent our values, but it represents us to the world.  I think we have to drop the sham that this is a democracy (or a republic).  That this is a sham democracy is the only defense we can offer to the world when our presidents and congresses approve bloodshed in our name.

As a nation, we have either extremely short memories or we’re just plain stupid. People actually believe our government is made up of warmongers contrary to the will of the people.

I hate to break the news to you all, but We the People voted all of these idiots into office. By now, probably more than half the nation bleeds Republican red (at least by the vote tallies) and it’s no surprise on how they stand insofar as war and the military is concerned. The predictable result is that, now, Democrats are acting more like Republicans so they can retain their seats.

Many people, maybe most of them, believe that the wars are making us more secure. They are not so sure that we should weaken the military in any way. Also, there was not much pressure to end the wars anyway until the economy tanked. For a lot of people, antiwar sentiment is a matter of the pocketbook, not of morality. If the economy improves, any pressure to end the wars will evaporate.

Collectively, we need to take a good long look in the mirror to see who is to blame for this mess. We’ve let this go on for way too long because we’ve been too lazy to be active participants, myself included. While your government rapes and pillages the world, feeling smug behind a veil of anonymity while denying any responsibility for it is offensive to me. We’re all responsible for this. Accept the fact and get over yourselves. There is work to do and blaming Obama, W., Reagan or whatever villain du jour pops up just doesn’t cut it.

It appears that the People of a democratic system depend on the president because he is the ELECTED ONE and therefore not a warmonger, money grubber, or corrupt in the interests of the PEOPLE..
Your Michael Moore wrote a book with title “Stupid White Man” or similar.Amongst other things, he vertually proves that George “W” (War???)  Bush was not the elected ONE, and used the ‘scrambled’ system to his / thier advantage. As a kick off would not Obama have more credibility, authority, validity than Bush?  Were was/ is the CIA, FBI and other peoples protection. The public in general hav’nt made a lot of noise and seem to accept any tom,dick or harry that claims presidency.
To eat an elephant, one must work at it, a bite at a tme. That’s assuming you want to eat an elephant?

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