Three Highly Esteemed Constitutional Experts Declare Obama’s Military Attack on Libya Unconstitutional
By: Jim Byrd
Oh, the times they are a-changin’.
Seems like just yesterday that when one nation aggressively amasses eleven U.S. naval ships, which include three submarines, two destroyers, and various sundries of amphibious and supply ships, in another nation’s sea, starts launching missiles, rockets, and whatnot at said country, dispatches fighter jets on bombing missions around said country–especially the leader of said country’s personal compound–receives return fire that downs a dispatched fighter jet, this was called a war.
Mr. Webster describes said action as thus: “a conflictÂ carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.”
But what did the authors of the Constitution mean by the word “war,” one might ask? Samuel Johnsonâ€™s Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755, forty years before the ratification of the Constitution. His dictionary was the pre-eminent guide to the English language until the Oxford English Dictionary was published 150 years later. The Dictionary of the English Language defined the term “war” as, “War. n.s. [werre, old Dut. guerre, Fr] War may be defined the exercise of violence under sovereign command, against withstanders; force, authority, and resistance, being the essential parts there-of.” This is what war meant in 1776.
Times have sure changed since the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama now defines military action against another country as an “overseas contingency operation,” “a kinetic military action,” “a time-limited, scope-limited military operation.” Anything and everything but a war. What if George Washington had to work with such beguiling balderdash from an impotent Continental Congress? How would the Revolutionary War have ended if the politicians during the founding era administered a lethal dose of subterfuge, fraud, and delusory discourse to Washington and the public regarding the Revolutionary War? What if the Revolutionary War was actually not a war but just a “kinetic separation exercise,” or perhaps a “colony contingency operation?” Afternoon tea anyone?
Obama, to date, has yet to cultivate a legitimate reason to have started a non-war with Libya within the guidelines of United States policy and law, nor has he produced a coherent and static legitimate reason that does not expire at the end of the day. Obama operates in that penumbra of politics that dictates that partisanship, ideology, and power will always trump principle. Not only is Obama incapable of explaining why we are bombing Libya in a non-war fashion with the remotest semblance of coherency, or what his end game is, he cannot explain why he lacked the patience to consult with Congress about launching a non-attack against Libya, but he was able to demonstrate the patience of Gandhi mid hunger strike while cooling his heels with the United Nations, backing from the Arab League, a nod from the Security Council, and just enough patience to fly to Brazil for Spring Break as this was unfolding.
Regardless of what linguistic shenanigans Barack Obama uses while employing a Three-card Monte with the American people on what constitutes war, and his licentious use of the American military at his reckless discretion, he is in the wrong for myriad reasons. The Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 gives the power to declare war to the Congress, not the President: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water….”
Barack Obama engaged the United States in a war with Libya, and according to three of the most highly esteemed and knowledgeable scholars of the United States Constitution, this act is unconstitutional.
In descending order of presupposed knowledge in the area of constitutional law, and in accordance with self-proclaimed scholarship of said law beyond the scope and reach of the authors of the Constitution, the three experts weigh-in on the constitutionality of not attacking Libya with a non-war.
Joe Biden will tell you he is smarter than you are. In fact, when pressured about his God-awful academic performance in law school, Joe replied, ”I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.” Joe graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School, with congruent bottom of the class achievements from both, but was only expelled from Syracuse for plagiarism, thus breaking the parallelism of his higher education. But Joe shines when speaking on matters of the Constitution. During Robert Bork’s hearing for the Supreme Court, and upon discerning that Bork was a Yale law professor, somewhere within the dark and empty caverns of Joe Biden’s brain, there was a chemical synapse heard throughout the chambers. Joe’s brain, the one organism that abandoned him in school, manifested a statement of profound and esoteric depth. Joe vociferated the following to Bork: â€œWe have enough professors on the bench. I want someone who ran for dog catcher.â€
After countless hours of study, analyzing, cogitating, and ruminating, Joe Biden, after pushing his cerebral capacity beyond the manufacturer’s stated limits, concluded the following regarding military force and the original intent of the Constitution. By Joe’s calculation, even the slightest military skirmish needed congressional approval–unless the U.S. was being attacked, of course. Joe also concluded that if a president used military power indiscriminately without a congressionalÂ thumbs-up, then the president was acting as Monarch of the United States. This was Joe’s oral precursor to introducing his bill that would limit the President’s ability to engage in military action without congressional approval. In Joe’s own words:
Congressâ€™s responsibilities could not be clearer. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution grants to Congress the power â€œto declare war, grant letters of marquee and reprisal and to make rules concerning captures on land and water.â€
To the President, the Constitution provides in Article II, Section 2 the role of â€œCommander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.â€
It may fairly be said that, with regard to many constitutional provisions, the Framersâ€™ intent was ambiguous. But on the war power, both the contemporaneous evidence and the early construction of these clauses do not leave much room for doubt.
In 2004, then Senator Hillary Clinton stated that she did not regret voting in 2002 to authorize military action against Iraq. She did regret the way the President used his authority, though. Fast forward to 2006, while on the presidential campaign trail, she stated that she would not have voted for military action if she knew what she knew today, but did not elaborate. When questioned by the Boston Globe during her campaign for President, Clinton stated the following:
The President has the solemn duty to defend our Nation. If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action â€” including any kind of strategic bombing â€” against Iran without congressional authorization.
Also in 2007, regarding a what-if George Bush had used military force against Iran, she stated, “President Bush must not be allowed to act without the authority and oversight of Congress. If the administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority.â€
Barack Obama, the sensei of constitutional authority. From Harvard Law School graduate, to untitled part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, to Illinois State Senator, to United States Senator, to President, Obama has become the Zen of constitutional law–he became the law. This explanation is as plausible as others are: either he took to heart the disdain and loathing that Harvard harbors against the original meaning of the Constitution, or he really just doesn’t understand the document.
Candidate Obama was asked two questions by the Boston Globe during his presidential campaign in 2007:
The Boston Globe: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?).
Obama: 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.
The Boston Globe: Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops — either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?
Obama: No, the President does not have that power. To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.
In October of 2002, while doing what radicals do, hanging out and speaking at an anti-war rally, Obama called the war in Iraq a dumb war. He believed it was a dumb war because using military force to remove a dictator of unsavory character is just plain dumb. He was speaking at the anti-war rally because he opposed the war in Iraq on the premise that it was dumb, and he could quite possibly pickup a few votes along the way. Iraq was never a direct threat to the United States, so giving Saddam the boot with our military was bad foreign policy and dumb. Obama’s admirable and patriotic speech at the anti-war rally:
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. Heâ€™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.
At this juncture in their political careers, and after reading the statements regarding the president and war powers, Biden, Clinton, and Obama seem to repudiate the truth in perpetual paroxysms of prevarication. The truth is that which will only enhance their political expediency. After one week of non-war kinetic bombing of another country with our military, Obama relented to pressure to inform the American people why we are engaged in a war but not in a war. The delineation was 30 minutes in length. It happened at the National Defense University in Washington–war speeches are given from the Oval Office, and since this was a kinetic something or other, it warranted a historically non-war venue.
Parts of the speech contained Obama’s orthodox finger pointing–this is Obama’s default nuclear option: reference Bush, Iraq, and Afghanistan–which was delivered in a poorly orchestrated extraneous effort. The speech was a maze of incoherent, contradictory, and sophomorically disguised nomenclatures and terminology that were scattered about and lost in the maze along with Obama’s non-point.
Here is a summation of the speech as clearly as can be presented: There was no explanation why Congress was not consulted, no explanation of our military goal, and no explanation of the end game. Ousting Qaddafi is not the goal, but Obama wants him out. The military is not there to oust or kill Qaddafi, but his personal compound was bombed, but there is no connection. This mission is not to oust Qaddafi, but it is, but not really, technically, but if he did leave, it would not be because of our bombing. Disregard what Obama said two weeks ago about deposing Qaddafi, that is not what the goal is now, but if the goal is to oust Qaddafi, that is not why we are bombing Libya, except if maybe we are attempting to oust, but that is not the goal of this kinetic something or another.
With the assumption of being immune from self-indictment, Hillary Clinton made this bizarre and delusive statement defending Obama and herself regarding the bombings and their prior statements about presidential limitations of war acts:
Well, we would welcome congressional support, but I donâ€™t think that this kind of internationally authorized intervention where we are one of a number of countries participating to enforce a humanitarian mission is the kind of unilateral action that either I or President Obama was speaking of several years ago. I think that this had a limited time-frame, a very clearly defined mission which we are in the process of fulfilling.
Obama’s razor thin veneer of a decoy for preventing the massacre of the rebels by Qaddafi was too far behind the curve for legitimacy’s sake; he will protect and bolster the innocent and covetously righteous seeking rebels that are fighting the good fight against Qaddafi. Yes, indeed they are. These rebels are fighting for the sake of…they defending against…they are rising up against…. Now who are these rebels again to whom we have committed our military? Why are we at a non-war with Libya?Â Hillary Clinton doesn’t know. Barack Obama doesnâ€™t know. Joe Biden doesn’t know. The CIA doesn’t know. All that is known is that they are fighting Qaddafi. Mike Dunn, Retired Air Force General, was able to define the rebels perfectly:
Itâ€™s a poorly defined group of mutually hostile and suspicious tribes and factions that have thus far, at any rate, failed to coalesce into a meaningful military force. Weâ€™d like to think this is a group of democratic Jeffersonian type of people that just are fighting for their freedom, when in reality we donâ€™t know a lot about them.
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, who is steadfast for this non-war, summed the rebels up nicely: the rebels are largely a mystery.
Here is what we do know about the rebels: we do know that we do not know who the rebels are; we do know that we do not know why they are fighting Qaddafi; we do know that we do not know what the outcome will be if they win; we do know that we do not know whether or not they will commit atrocities against the overthrown government and other non-rebels of Libya; we do know that we do not know if Al Qaeda is involved with the rebels; we do know that we do not know if jihadists that have fought against American troops make up some of the rebels. That much we do know.
Here is what we do know about the non-war: we do know that we unleashed a kinetic military, time-limited, scope-limited, overseas contingency non-war against Qaddafi complete with rockets, missiles, and various other things that explode because he was killing the rebels, or citizens. We do know that Qaddafi’s troopers began disguising themselves as the John Q. Publics of Libya. We do know that our beloved rebels, not being of the patient sort, starting killing all the John Q. Publics of Libya. We do know that NATO is angry about this turn of events, and told the rebels to stick with killing the designatedÂ bad guys only or NATO will start unleashing kinetic whatnots upon the rebels. We do know that NATO threatened to bomb the rebels if they kept killing citizens along with Qaddafi’s troopers parading around as citizens. We do know that if the rebels, who are citizens, keep killing the John Q. Public sector of this non-war, instead of Qaddafi’s troopers, who are dressed like citizens, who are dressed like the rebels, who are being imitated by Qaddafi’s bad guys, then NATO may be forced to give them all a taste of Kinetic…, including citizens.
During a time of war, the President should be supported. But what if the President insists he never started a war, but merely engaged in an overseas contingency operation, a kinetic military action, a time-limited, scope-limited military operation, that he initiated without consulting Congress or preparing the American people, then immediately handed over command of our troops to NATO, turning over leadership to a foreigner military leader for the first time, then let other countries volunteer our military to the operation to defend rebels that we have no idea who they are, or what they stand for, are we obligated to support this President for a non-war for which neither he nor the country know why we are there or what we expect the outcome to be?
Not one constitutional scholar, political pundit, or political adversary has been able to explain more perfectly and lucidly that Barack Obama’s bombing of Libya without congressional approval was unconstitutional and illegal other than Barack Obama, Joe Biden, andÂ Hillary Clinton. But it was Hillary Clinton’s statement to Brad Sherman (D-CA), that manifested Joe Biden’s self-fulfilling prophesy that only a monarch would indiscriminately use military force without congressional approval:
She said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they’ll send that to us too. The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission. She admitted the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama’s power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions.
All hail the Monarch of these United States, Barack Obama.
Jim Byrd's website is A Skewed View.