Obama Throws OLC Under the Bus

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

In a remarkably rare event, President Obama has chosen to reject the legal opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) on the subject of his responsibilities with respect to the War Powers Resolution (WPR).

In the opinion of the OLC, President Obama would have to terminate or scale back operations against Libya or seek Congressional approval. Obama accepted the analysis of the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh, who argued that the United States needed no permission from Congress to continue operations.

The core function of the OLC is to provide clear, accurate, thoroughly researched, and soundly reasoned legal advice to the Executive Branch. The OLC mission is to “give candid, independent, and principled advice — even when that advice is inconsistent with the aims of policymakers.”

The President is under no legal or Constitutional obligation to adopt the analysis of the OLC. However, the OLC’s procedures are designed to avoid the cherry-picking of legal advice that has occurred here. President Obama simply side-stepped the OLC.

President George W. Bush had a different modus operandi when it came to dealing with the OLC. When Bush sought legal justification for his torture program, he found a small group of lawyers at the OLC, headed by John Yoo, who gave Bush the advice he wanted. This short-circuited the usual process by which the OLC canvasses the Executive Branch for various opinions and forms an independent analysis.

President Obama has undermined the OLC as a honest broker of legal opinions. The Department of Justice lost its cachet of independence and non-partisanship when it was treated as just another political tool during the Bush administration. The Obama administration has rendered the OLC irrelevant.

The OLC has not had a leader since 2003, when Jack Goldsmith resigned. Dawn Johnsen, the first Obama nomination, withdrew after Republicans refused to allow a confirmation vote. The latest nomination to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel is D.C. lawyer, Virginia A. Seitz. The person selected to fill that position is going to require more than the ability to generate premier legal scholarship, it’s going to require a strong and assertive personality.

Update: Glenn Greenwald recalls a similar episode:

Just imagine if George Bush had waged a war that his own Attorney General, OLC Chief, and DoD General Counsel all insisted was illegal (and did so by pointing to the fact that his White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and a legal adviser at State agreed with him).  One need not imagine this, though, because there is very telling actual parallel to this lawless episode:

Bush decided to reject the legal conclusions of his top lawyers and ordered the NSA eavesdropping program to continue anyway, even though he had been told it was illegal (like Obama now, Bush pointed to the fact that his own White House counsel (Gonzales), along with Dick Cheney’s top lawyer, David Addington, agreed the NSA program was legal).  In response, Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign en masse if Bush continued with this illegal spying, …

H/T: Balkinization, Charlie Savage.

72 thoughts on “Obama Throws OLC Under the Bus

  1. Obama Long Form Birth Certificate is a Forgery!

    Obama’s Draft Registration Forged & Back Dated to 1980!

    Obama is Using Someone Else’s Connecticut Social Security Number!

    Obama is Guilty of Innumerable War Crimes and other Massive Felonies!

    Criminal Obama was Never Eligible to be president!

    Why Aren’t Congress and the FBI Investigating?

    The Congress and FBI are Corrupt!
    —————————————–
    Legal proof that President Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth is a Forgery
    Expanded Analysis of President Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth
    by Douglas Vogt

    “I have irrefutably proven that the Certificate of Live Birth that President Obama presented to the world on April 27, 2011 is a fraudulently created document put together using the Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator programs and the creation of this forgery of a public document constitutes a class B felony in Hawaii and multiple violations under U.S. Code section Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, Sec. 1028, and therefore an impeachable offense. When this comes to the public’s attention, it will be the greatest scandal in the country’s history — nothing comes even close.”

    http://www.vectorpub.com/Obamas_certificate_of_birth_May-22-2011_Expanded_News%20Realease.pdf

    ARREST OBAMA AND HIS LAWLESS REGIME !

  2. The only consolation I have is that almost any Republican since Eisenhower would have been worse. Has anyone noticed that it is the Presidents who never saw combat that are the most cavalier about committing the military to battle?

  3. BVM, I for one, do not appreciate the hijacking of the thread. Please take your nutty conspiracy theories somewhere else.

  4. So long as the wheels on the Bus still go round and round…whats the problem….oh yeah….

    OS, Ditto on all fronts on this thread…

    SWM,

    What decision was reached by the OLC…I say it will cost him a lot of votes…whether he defeats himself , will depends on who is running against him…

  5. If you look at polls, matters concerning war rank near the bottom now. Economic issues are overwhelmingly the most important. The price at the pump seems far more important to the majority. I think Romney could beat Obama but hopefully not Bachmann or Rick Perry if he gets in.

  6. BVM, get help. You clearly need it. Now take it somewhere else. You have your own web site. Post your delusions there, but leave us out of it. We are trying to have a dialogue here and you are hijacking the thread.

  7. SwM, have you noticed that Bachmann has dialed back the full court press crazee lately? She disappeared for a short time and some folks suspect she was at some kind of “training camp” for candidates.

    She is managing to sound ‘almost’ sane in the debates and public statements lately. Fortunately for the rest of us, there are many videos and public statements which will follow her for the rest of her political career.

  8. “Washington Times: Newly Released Obama Birth Certificate Forensic Forgery – 4/29/11″

    “In an exclusive April 29, 2011 interview on ExopoliticsTV with Alfred Lambremont Webre, Robert Stanley, weekly correspondent for the Washington Times investigative radio, has stated after a clear on-camera demonstration that purported certificate of live birth released by U.S. President Barack H. Obama on April 27, 2011 is a forensic forgery.”

  9. I’ve updated the post to include Glenn Greenwald’s example of Bush’s OLC episode.

    I considered waiting for Professor Turley to post on this subject, but since he’s involved with that House of Representatives case involving Libya, he may have decided not to post about it. There was nothing in the “Drafts” section about it.

    WordPress has a new spelling and grammar tool that pops up when you decide to publish a post. It just got much harder to find typos.

  10. OS – that was what I was pointing out a couple of threads ago. Batshit went silent a few months ago & came back as “new and improved”. Trust me though, nobody in the media will be so unkind as to point this out, ask her about it or even so uncouth as to highlight the change.

    The morans already know she is one of them & the low information voter can’t remember 6 weeks ago. She is a lot more formidable than her opponents give her credit for. Despite a degree from Anal Roberts University that clown is not as stupid as she acts.

  11. What Bachmann has that Palin does not is a combination of being smarter and she is SINCERE!. Palin is as sincere as the Nigerian who wants to send you 23 million dollars if you will just give him you banking information. Both are reasonably attractive, so that balances out.

    Bachmann is far more dangerous to our democracy than Palin.

  12. When I went to hear Koh speak he laid out what the Obama administration wishes to do in no uncertain terms. He claimed the right to kill anyone (including American citizens), anywhere. He said the president did not need congressional authority for this–he essentially argued the John Yoo doctrine of presidential dictatorship. So it does not surprise me that Koh was chosen to give a “legal” opinion on this topic as well.

    There is reason to fear for the US. We have become a dictatorship. It isn’t going to matter if a declared Republican beats the current Republican office holder. They will both have every power that we as citizens cede to them unless we quit ceding our power. Here is Kucinich’s latest update:

    ” WASHINGTON – June 17 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the unauthorized war in Libya and filed a complaint in federal court to challenge the war, will again offer an amendment to the upcoming Defense Appropriations bill to cut off funds for the continuation of the war.

    “This Administration brought our nation to war without Congressional approval or the support of the American people. When Congress demanded an explanation, the Administration tried to argue that bombing operations and support of other countries’ military operations in Libya, which cost almost $9.5 million per day, do not constitute war. In a direct challenge to Congress, the Administration is continuing the war despite its inability to provide a constitutional or legal justification for bypassing Congress. Congress must use its constitutional authority of the power of the purse to end this war.

    “My amendment will provide the first test whether this Congress will defend its own authority under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution,” said Kucinich.

    A CBS News poll dated June 8, 2011 found that ‘six in 10 Americans do not think that the United States should be involved in the conflict within that country. Just 30% of Americans think the United States is doing the right thing by taking part in the current military conflict in Libya now. A majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike think the U.S. should not be involved in Libya.’

    “The war in Libya lacks Constitutional authority and it lacks the support of the American people. I have filed suit challenging the President’s authority to bring our nation to war absent Congressional approval and I am proposing this amendment to bring our engagement to a swift end,” said Kucinich.” you can go to his website for further information.

  13. Libya is not a big deal to me. Neither is the OLC or President Obama waging an additional war. I think most American’s have resigned themselves to the fact that the law is an instrument used solely to protect the wealthy and powerful- not tot end profitable wars.

    This is small potatoes. It is the, combined, 18 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan which is concerning to me. I truly believe that if their were a democratic vote in this country over those wars (and Libya as well) a vast majority would vote for us to leave.

    If anyone seriously believes that Congress wouldn’t overwhelmingly support ANY military action ANYWHERE they are deluding themselves. Congress would vote Yes on war with Libya if it came up. The President doesn’t bring it up because he doesn’t want the public to see how craven and corrupt Congress is (when they vote in favor of another war).

    So a handful of Congress members oppose Libya? So what. Would they if they were asked to vote yea or nay? I bet some would vote yes. Any legal challenge will take years- we will have already started several additional wars in that time.

    While I would prefer no wars at all I will take a Libya style conflict over an Afghanistan type conflict. This is just hype so that a few Congress people in tough races can tell their constituents that they made an empty- I mean profound- gesture for peace.

    Added reasons: Each bomb used is a bomb which needs to be replaced. Each soldier overseas is another young man who isn’t looking for a job. Do you think these Congress people don’t understand that?

  14. BVM- If Obama should be arrested for breaking the law then so would the previous administration as well as the entire Congressional delegation for the 107 through 112 Congresses.

  15. Joeey,

    Here’s what you prefer: “NATO Bombing of Tripoli Kills at Least 9 Civilians
    The incident occurred a day after the government accused NATO of specifically targeting civilians.

    TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO said Sunday it was investigating Libyan claims that nine civilians, two of them of toddlers, were killed in an alliance air raid and would be “very sorry” if that were the case.

    “NATO is looking into this matter,” said spokesman Wing Commander Mike Bracken. “NATO was operating in Tripoli last night, conducting air strikes against a legitimate military target.” (story at common dreams from APF) It’s easy to prefer something when you aren’t the one being killed, nor are your children being harmed.

    Notice that this is a war and that people are getting killed. Obama doesn’t care how Congress looks to others. Glen Greenwald is correct when he writes: “There’s another significant and telling parallel between Obama’s illegal war and the Bush eavesdropping scandal. One of the questions frequently asked about the NSA scandal was why Bush and Cheney decided to eavesdrop in violation of the law rather than having Congress approve their program; in the wake of 9/11, both parties in Congress were as subservient as could be, and would have offered zero resistance to requests by the administration for increased eavesdropping powers (the same question was asked of Bush’s refusal to seek Congressional approval for the detention and military commissions regime at Guantanamo). The answer to that question ultimately became clear: they did not want to seek Congressional approval, even though they easily could have obtained it, because they wanted to establish the “principle” that the President is omnipotent in these areas and needs nobody’s permission (neither from Congress nor the courts) to do what the President wants.

  16. Jill,

    I agree with GG’s assertion that these Presidents “wanted to establish the “principle” that the President is omnipotent in these areas and needs nobody’s permission (neither from Congress nor the courts) to do what the President wants.”

    My question is, do we know why?

    For what possible reason could we need to go to war on one man’s authority? Is the principle these Presidents are establishing even broader than war-making?

    Is this to take over the authority to spend from Congress? Is this to position the executive to more aggressively expand the empire and claim new US territories? Is this to prepare to force the United States into a broader world government? Is the precedent for this level of authority needed for some future domestic purpose?

  17. puzzling,
    the Executive branch is attempting to continue its march towards control over the Congress with this latest sidestep of Congressional authority. Of course, Congress has to grow a pair and actually cut off funding to Libya. I would like to see them cut off funding to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I will be satisfied with Libya as a starting point.
    I now know why Obama didn’t push harder for Dawn Johnsen to head up OLC. She would not have accepted Obama’s end run and he knew it.

  18. rafflaw,

    I agree with you, but isn’t there an even more fundamental reason why presidents from both parties would have sought more and more authority for the office? Bush, Cheney and Obama have actively positioned the Executive with the authority to supersede the Constitution. Why?

  19. puzzling,
    I think it is the taste of power that they get when they get in the office that wants them to protect the power for themselves and their successors. No evidence, just my guess.

  20. puzzling,

    I think you raise a good question. I agree with both your and rafflaw’s speculation. On Libya specifically it does look as though the US govt. is down for a full scale invasion. We see hints of this from the UK’s recent decision to kinetically act in Libya at least through the end of Sept. One of their military’s people publicly said the UK didn’t have the resources to do the job and he was forced to apologize by #10 DS.

    It does seem like Obama and the most wealthy people world wide have decided they don’t just want a lot of power and money, they want it all. These people must be really mixed up inside to cause so much pain and suffering. I can’t imagine what it feels like to want others to starve, be kicked from their homes, to be killed, to be tortured etc. for one’s own pleasure. I am an atheist but I do not discount something like the human spirit. Their spirit is utterly broken. Their connection to the earth and to all life is dead. There can be no amount of money or power that would ever make up for being dead inside and causing such horrible pain in the world.

    If I look at what is happening, not just in the US, I see a small elite who looks upon their fellow travelers as nothing more than garbage. I do see Obama increasingly open in his use of force against protesters, whistleblowers, all people of conscience who speak out for justice. The police are up armored in ways difficult to imagine. The level of surveillance against our own population is staggering. This govt. is ready to squelch resistance. They obviously see their own population as “the enemy”. So, I agree with your idea that they do plan more wars and they do plan to take on their “enemies” (meaning we the people) domestically. That’s what they are doing now. “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

  21. Things like this don’t help either:

    TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s government said NATO warplanes struck a residential neighborhood in the capital Sunday and killed nine civilians, including two children. Hours later, NATO confirmed one of its airstrikes went astray.

    The incident gave supporters of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime a new rallying point against the international intervention in Libya’s civil war. The foreign minister called for a “global jihad” on the West in response.

    Early Sunday morning, journalists based in the Libyan capital were rushed by government officials to the damaged building, which appeared to have been partly under construction. Reporters were escorted back to the site during the day, where children’s toys, teacups and dust-covered mattresses could be seen amid the rubble

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/19/libya-nato-bombing-civilian-casualties_n_879903.html

  22. Swartmore Mom wrote, in part:

    “I think Romney could beat Obama…”

    If I vote, he is the man who will likely get my support.

  23. Jill, Rafflaw, Puzzling, you all raise good points and observations but I would like to add that I don’t think Congress is being beaten down or so demoralized that it fails to take back its war making powers. I think that Congress very swiftly recognized that having the President go to war was politically preferable to having voters blame them for war. Even popular wars grow unpopular very quickly and no politician wants to answer to his/her constituents for wars that drag on endlessly. This lack of accountability by Congress in fact encourages long, fruitless wars.

    I read that Kucinich’s first bill never got to the floor because it would have succeeded. Congress, or at least the senior leadership therein, doesn’t want to start wars and they don’t want to end them and let all that pork go to waste. Congress is absolutely knowingly complicit in this end-run around the Constitution.
    ——-

    rafflaw: “I now know why Obama didn’t push harder for Dawn Johnsen to head up OLC. She would not have accepted Obama’s end run and he knew it.”

    Good observation.

  24. I went to the Buena Vista Mall to do some shopping yesterday, but every store sells the same thing- organic fertilizer made from pure bullshit.

  25. Lottakatz,

    That is a very good point. Many Congress members benefit in exactly the way you describe. Unfortunately there is more money in war business than even the oil business.

  26. FFLEO, I agree that BVM had overstayed his welcome with his first hijacking post. As we get closer to the 2012 elections, I fear we will have trolls coming out of the woodwork. More conspiracy theorists, racists, homophobes, theocrats, and the just plain batshit crazies. Look at BVM, who falls under multiple categories all at once.

  27. Since this article has already been hijacked by one of the participants in “Computer Access Night” at the lunatic asylum, I will also go off topic for a moment and remind anyone interested that “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” begins on Current TV Monday evening at 8 P.M. Eastern. It is rerun at 2 or 3 hour intervals during the night and through the following day, so you can pretty much watch it according to your own schedule.
    I remember when people used to have the delusion of being Napoleon Bonaparte. This is the first time I have heard of anyone having the delusion of being a shopping mall. That must be a real challenge for modern psychiatry.

  28. Jill,

    Here’s five minutes of Bruce Fein commenting on abuses of executive power in 2008. He could use this verbatim today, though some aspects have worsened:

    I suspect you are right about the federal government creating the ability to pivot from international terrorism (real and imagined) to focus state power on the domestic population, perhaps leading with anti-war groups who will be claimed to be inclined to domestic terrorism. Surveillance and control of the Internet will be a vital component in such a scenario, and I would expect to see continued efforts to heavily monitor and regulate.

    What will all of this lead to?

    Will the Republic effectively be overthrown by an Executive in the future?
    Is this just another checkbox in a fascist shift that Naomi Klein has asserted?
    Or is this as quaint as the Executive creating the capability to use wars to distract from political exigencies at the time of re-election?

  29. Jill , “Lottakatz, … Many Congress members benefit in exactly the way you describe. Unfortunately there is more money in war business than even the oil business.”


    War is big business for everybody in startlingly flagrant ways. I am not a particularly larcenous person but I know that much money doesn’t disappear without inside help- everybody gets a healthy cut. You just gotta’ wonder where some of that money went and what it paid for somewhere down the line.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/19/missing-iraq-money-may-be-as-much-as-18-billion/

    “Missing Iraq money may be as much as $18 billion

    …. The Iraqi government argues that U.S. forces were supposed to safeguard the cash under a 2004 agreement, making Washington responsible for the money’s disappearance. Pentagon officials claim that given time to track down the records they can account for all of the money, but the U.S. has already audited the money three times and no trace of what happened to it can be found.”

  30. Lottakatz-

    When you show film of pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills being unloaded from an airplane by a fork lift, isn’t that an invitation to steal it? It couldn’t be made any easier. You might want to start the questioning with Achmed Chalabi and Jerry Bremer, the “American Viceroy” who stupidly disbanded the Iraqi Army and outlawed the Baath Party, instantly creating the Iraqi insurgency and all the carnage that followed.

  31. The Fascist Shift happened years ago and evolved into Nazism.

    Wars of Aggression:
    The Nazis attacked Poland, France, Russia, etc.
    The U.S. Nazi Government attacked Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, etc.

    The U.S. Government has violated the same law used to prosecute and convict the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1949. They hanged most of those Nazis.

    We do not support the death penalty.

    The U.S. Government = Nazis
    Washington DC = Nazi Berlin

  32. During the trial of the Nazis at Nuremberg, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

    A beginning in identifying some of the war criminals:

    http://www.BuenaVistaMall.com/Supreme.htm

  33. Puzzling,

    I think our Constitution has almost been made null and void. We have a mass accretion of power in the executive with the complicity of Congress. Various lower level judiciary members have and continue to rule in favor of our Constitution only to be overruled by the higher courts in too many cases.

    We have in fact seen both the infiltration of peace groups and their harassment/arrest/confiscation of goods. We have seen an incredible crackdown on whistleblowers. I realize what I am describing here may sound like a conspiracy but there is nothing untrue about any of it. All can be verified, even in the MSM.

    Lottakatz is correct about all the missing money. In fact, there are multiple incidents of amazing amounts of cash simply being “disappeared”. This cannot happen without willing complicity at the highest level of govt. This is also true of weapons which show up around the world in the hands of the US’s declared friends and enemies alike. Arming every side of a conflict seems to be the norm. I’m certain it is quite the money maker.

    This is why I believe we citizens must resist. I do not now nor have I ever advocated violent resistance but we must peacefully resist. I do not support our wars. I do not support the stripping of civil liberties. I do not support the destruction of the rule of law. I do not support the impoverishment of our population. I do not support the degradation of the environment. All these things are supported by the govt. Therefore to me it is important to take a stand on behalf of what I hold dear; a relation of justice between the people and the govt., between the US and other nations and between human beings and the earth.

  34. “I realize what I am describing here may sound like a conspiracy but there is nothing untrue about any of it. All can be verified, even in the MSM.” -Jill

    Jill is right about this… And, as we know, some “conspiracies” turn out to be the real deal.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/us/politics/18leak.html

    U.S. Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks
    By SCOTT SHANE
    Published: June 17, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Stephen J. Kim, an arms expert who immigrated from South Korea as a child, spent a decade briefing top government officials on the dangers posed by North Korea. Then last August he was charged with violating the Espionage Act — not by aiding some foreign adversary, but by revealing classified information to a Fox News reporter.

    Stephen Kim, an arms expert, is accused of violating the Espionage Act by giving classified information to a reporter.

    Mr. Kim’s case is next in line in the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks, after the crumbling last week of the case against a former National Security Agency official, Thomas A. Drake. Accused of giving secrets to The Baltimore Sun, Mr. Drake pleaded guilty to a minor charge and will serve no prison time and pay no fine. (end excerpt)

  35. anon nurse,

    Here is more information: “It Just Couldn’t Be Uglier: Annals of the War on Terror
    by Tom Engelhardt

    Every time we get a peek inside Washington’s war on terror, it just couldn’t be uglier. Last week, three little home-grown nightmares from that “war” caught my attention. One you could hardly miss. On the front page of the New York Times, Glenn Carle, a
    former CIA official, claimed that the Bush administration had wanted “to get” Juan Cole, whose Informed Comment blog devastatingly critiqued the invasion and occupation of Iraq (and who writes regularly for TomDispatch). Not only that, administration officials called on the CIA to dig up the dirt on him.

    Keep in mind that, though the Times quotes “experts” as saying “it might not be unlawful for the C.I.A. to provide the White House with open source material [on Cole],” that just shows you where “expertise” has gone in the post-9/11 world. Since the Watergate era, the CIA has been prohibited from domestic spying, putting American citizens off-limits. Period. Of course, been there, done that, right?

    In case you think taking down Cole was just a matter of the bad old days of the Bush administration, note that the journalist who revealed this little shocker, James Risen, is being hounded by the Obama administration. He’s been subpoenaed by federal authorities to testify against a CIA agent accused of leaking information to him (on a bungled CIA plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program) for his book State of War. It’s worth remembering that no administration, not even Bush’s, has been fiercer than Obama’s in going after government whistle blowers.

    In the meantime, in case you didn’t think American law enforcement could sink much lower while investigating “terrorist activity” and generally keeping an eye on Americans, think again. According to Charlie Savage of the Times, a revised FBI operational manual offers its 14,000 agents new leeway in “searching databases,” using “surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention,” and “going through household trash.” Yes, that’s right, if you see somebody at the dumpster out back, it may not be a homeless person but an FBI agent.

    And then there was Peter Wallsten’s account in the Washington Post of a nationwide FBI investigation of “prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.” According to Wallsten, news leaking out about it hasn’t sat so well with union supporters of President Obama (or, for all we know, with the president himself), since “targets” include “Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise.” All are (shades of Cole in the Bush years) “vocal and visible critics of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America.”

    Strange are the ways of the American national surveillance state. And lest you think these are simply minor aberrations, consider what Karen J. Greenberg, author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First One Hundred Days, points out in her latest post, “Business as Usual on Steroids”: in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, there is to be no relief. The Obama administration is instead doubling down on the war on terror.

  36. Jill,

    Heading off to work — will take a look at the Engelhardt piece later today. Thanks for posting it. Re: the title, “It Just Couldn’t Be Uglier: Annals of the War on Terror”, I’d have to agree — the title is apt. I never could have imagined the things that are taking place… and I’m referring to the things that are going on covertly. Most good and decent Americans are, sadly, still in the dark… They deserve to know the truth.

  37. Jill,

    As I was saying before the vulture BVM swept in…

    Heading off to work — will take a look at the Engelhardt piece later today. Thanks for posting it. Re: the title, “It Just Couldn’t Be Uglier: Annals of the War on Terror”, I’d have to agree — the title is apt. I never could have imagined the things that are taking place… and I’m referring to the things that are going on covertly. Most good and decent Americans are, sadly, still in the dark… They deserve to know the truth.

    BVM: I don’t often bother, but… you’re a menace:

  38. This is by Glenn Greenwald. It pretty much matches thoughts by lottakatz, rafflaw and puzzling: “Glenn Greenwald
    Monday, Jun 20, 2011 09:21 ET
    “Sen. Lindsey Graham, yesterday, Meet the Press, to those questioning the war in Libya:

    Congress should sort of shut up and not empower Qadhafi.

    Sen. John Kerry, May 8, 2011, Face the Nation, to those questioning what happened during the bin Laden killing:

    We need to shut up and move on about, you know, the realities of what happened in that building.

    Bill Kristol, February 21, 2007, Fox News Sunday, to those questioning the “surge” in Iraq

    It’s so irresponsible that they can’t be quiet for six or nine months and say the president has made a decision. . . .so let’s give it a chance to work.

    Joe Lieberman, December 7, 2005, Senate floor, to Iraq War critics:

    It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

    _________

    These demands that the nation’s continuous use of war and violence not even be questioned are easy to understand. The nature of being an empire entails not only ruling the world through force, but also ensuring that the Emporer’s decrees and actions cannot be meaningfully challenged at home. That’s why the controversy over Obama’s refusal to seek Congressional approval for the war in Libya matters: this is an unpopular war, and requiring him to obtain approval preserves at least some residual democratic process — not just for this war but also future ones.

    Beyond the desire to render democratic opinion irrelevant, there is another, more specific reason why war advocates so frequently insist that critics should “shut up”: because the policies they are implementing are so ludicrous and indefensible and redound to the benefit of a tiny sliver of the population. They can’t be sustained if there is debate and examination over them.

    Today, The New York Times describes the “growth market” for drones: at a time when Washington conspires to reduce basic entitlements based on alarmist warnings over the deficit, “the Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $5 billion for drones next year” — that includes dramatic increases in the number, types and uses of those weapons. The NYT says this “explosion” is “transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars”: note how the notion that the U.S. fights multiple “wars” at all times is just a given. In particular, the NYT correctly notes that the proliferation of drones will also certainly make wars more likely, given the perception that they are cost-free (at least to Americans, but not, of course, to the increasing number of countries bombed by sky robots). That is another reason to care about the debate over Libya: if Obama succeeds in entrenching the notion that drone attacks are not “wars” or even “hostilities,” he and future presidents will be able to bomb other countries with even fewer constraints than they have now.

    This state of Endless War continues despite the fact that, as a new poll shows, 72% of Americans believe the U.S. is fighting too many wars. The poll itself is revealingly amusing: in what other country could that question — are we fighting too many wars? — even be meaningfully asked? It’s also striking that almost 3 out of 4 Americans — not exactly renown around the world for being war-shy — believe the U.S. is fighting too many wars given that their country is ruled by a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    But what is shown by the results of that poll is that the war policies which America’s political elites shield from public debate are extremely and increasingly unpopular. Indeed, a recent Pew poll revealed that there are roughly equal majorities across the ideological spectrum in favor of greater “isolationism” and a “reduction of overseas military commitments.” Yet the political class and the private National Security State which unimaginably profit from these wars are able to propagate those policies with no end in sight; a NYT article this morning about efforts this week t0 restrict spending for the Libya War provide a glimpse into how that is managed:

    Any measures to end or reduce financing for the military’s involvement in the NATO-led airstrikes in Libya are likely to divide members of Congress. They are split in both the House and Senate between two slightly incongruous alliances: antiwar Democrats and Republicans who are angry about the usurping of Congressional authority, and Democrats who do not wish to go against the president, joined by hawkish Republicans who strongly support America’s role in Libya.

    As is true for the war in Afghanistan and Obama’s Bush-Cheney-mimicking Terrorism policies, this is the coalition that serves as the Democratic President’s key allies: partisan loyalists unwilling to contradict their party’s President no matter what he does, and “hawkish” Republicans who are always pro-war and eager to live under an unrestrained Executive. That is the faction that serves the private defense industry, enables Obama to do what he wants in these realms, and shields these policies from examination. But the linchpin of those efforts is to ensure that public opinion remains irrelevant in deciding when, why and how often America wages war. These “shut up” moments are unusual only in that they are candid expressions of that pervasive mindset.”

    * * * * *

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, yesterday, Meet the Press, to those questioning the war in Libya:

    Congress should sort of shut up and not empower Qadhafi.

    Sen. John Kerry, May 8, 2011, Face the Nation, to those questioning what happened during the bin Laden killing:

    We need to shut up and move on about, you know, the realities of what happened in that building.

    Bill Kristol, February 21, 2007, Fox News Sunday, to those questioning the “surge” in Iraq

    It’s so irresponsible that they can’t be quiet for six or nine months and say the president has made a decision. . . .so let’s give it a chance to work.

    Joe Lieberman, December 7, 2005, Senate floor, to Iraq War critics:

    It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

    _________

    These demands that the nation’s continuous use of war and violence not even be questioned are easy to understand. The nature of being an empire entails not only ruling the world through force, but also ensuring that the Emporer’s decrees and actions cannot be meaningfully challenged at home. That’s why the controversy over Obama’s refusal to seek Congressional approval for the war in Libya matters: this is an unpopular war, and requiring him to obtain approval preserves at least some residual democratic process — not just for this war but also future ones.

    Beyond the desire to render democratic opinion irrelevant, there is another, more specific reason why war advocates so frequently insist that critics should “shut up”: because the policies they are implementing are so ludicrous and indefensible and redound to the benefit of a tiny sliver of the population. They can’t be sustained if there is debate and examination over them.

    Today, The New York Times describes the “growth market” for drones: at a time when Washington conspires to reduce basic entitlements based on alarmist warnings over the deficit, “the Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $5 billion for drones next year” — that includes dramatic increases in the number, types and uses of those weapons. The NYT says this “explosion” is “transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars”: note how the notion that the U.S. fights multiple “wars” at all times is just a given. In particular, the NYT correctly notes that the proliferation of drones will also certainly make wars more likely, given the perception that they are cost-free (at least to Americans, but not, of course, to the increasing number of countries bombed by sky robots). That is another reason to care about the debate over Libya: if Obama succeeds in entrenching the notion that drone attacks are not “wars” or even “hostilities,” he and future presidents will be able to bomb other countries with even fewer constraints than they have now.

    This state of Endless War continues despite the fact that, as a new poll shows, 72% of Americans believe the U.S. is fighting too many wars. The poll itself is revealingly amusing: in what other country could that question — are we fighting too many wars? — even be meaningfully asked? It’s also striking that almost 3 out of 4 Americans — not exactly renown around the world for being war-shy — believe the U.S. is fighting too many wars given that their country is ruled by a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    But what is shown by the results of that poll is that the war policies which America’s political elites shield from public debate are extremely and increasingly unpopular. Indeed, a recent Pew poll revealed that there are roughly equal majorities across the ideological spectrum in favor of greater “isolationism” and a “reduction of overseas military commitments.” Yet the political class and the private National Security State which unimaginably profit from these wars are able to propagate those policies with no end in sight; a NYT article this morning about efforts this week t0 restrict spending for the Libya War provide a glimpse into how that is managed:

    Any measures to end or reduce financing for the military’s involvement in the NATO-led airstrikes in Libya are likely to divide members of Congress. They are split in both the House and Senate between two slightly incongruous alliances: antiwar Democrats and Republicans who are angry about the usurping of Congressional authority, and Democrats who do not wish to go against the president, joined by hawkish Republicans who strongly support America’s role in Libya.

    As is true for the war in Afghanistan and Obama’s Bush-Cheney-mimicking Terrorism policies, this is the coalition that serves as the Democratic President’s key allies: partisan loyalists unwilling to contradict their party’s President no matter what he does, and “hawkish” Republicans who are always pro-war and eager to live under an unrestrained Executive. That is the faction that serves the private defense industry, enables Obama to do what he wan

  39. You can ignore BVM. He has a phony website which purports to involve the music business. However, it has no address, no telephone number and no names of any actual persons involved in the enterprise. It has no fictitious name registration, no assets that are identifiable, and lists not a single project or music production it has ever completed. But it does solicit “donations” for its important commitment to “truth.” In other words, BVM is a phony who hustles money from people to support his conspiracy theories. I have requested his identification on more than one occasion, but he won’t even acknowledge those requests. His posts should be entirely disregarded.

  40. Mike Appleton: I agree that BVM has this mysterious web site with zero contact information, no phone number and no address. But it is hard to hide from Dr. Google and the intertoobs. Look what I found:

    Buena Vista Mall
    5391 Shattalon Dr
    Mount Tabor, NC 27106
    Forsyth County
    (336) 923-9814

    I also found two names, but do not want to publish them at this time.

  41. Jill: All you have to do is Google the name and the town. Not a well kept secret. The names are only slightly harder to find. The commenter did not put the stuff on his or her web site, but that is easily available. It is not as if the phone number is unlisted.

    I am getting pretty tired of the hijacking by this conspiracy theorist. If Professor Turley wants to redact it, then it is fine by me. Hopefully, BVM will go away.

  42. OS,

    Some folks can be a pain in the ass…its sometimes just best to ignore them..BVM..has not a concept or clue..

  43. AY, don’t you find that to be true of most conspiracy theory types. They not only have no clue, they must share their paranoid delusions with the world, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Worse than having a Chihuahua nipping at your ankles as far as being annoying.

  44. @Otteray

    the Truth can be upsetting can’t it? Proof is hard to counter. When you can’t counter start the name calling, right Otteray?

    If you are tired, go take a nap.

    BVM isn’t going anywhere.

  45. U.S. led Wars of Aggression:
    Iraq War

    Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: Iraq War “Based On a Series of Lies”

    In his recently published memoir, “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior,” General Hugh Shelton, who served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, called the Iraq war “unnecessary” and said that the Bush Administration went to war “based on a series of lies.”

    http://www.infowars.com/former-chairman-of-the-joint-chiefs-iraq-war-based-on-a-series-of-lies/
    —————————
    “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”

    http://www.ProsecutionOfBush.com/video.php

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