Obama: I Need No Congressional Approval To Go Back To War In Iraq

President_Barack_Obama220px-B-2_spirit_bombingWe have been discussing the growing concerns over President Barack Obama’s series of unilateral actions in ordering agencies not to enforce law, effectively rewriting laws, and moving hundreds of millions of dollars from appropriated purposes to areas of his choosing. One of the greatest concerns has been his unchecked authority asserted in the national security area. I previously represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s intervention in the Libyan civil war without a declaration from Congress. In the case, President Obama insisted that he alone determines what is a war and therefore when he needs a declaration. Since the court would not recognize standing to challenge the war, it left Obama free to engage in war operations in any country of his choosing. As with his approach in Libya, Syria and other combat operations, President Obama declared this week that he does not need any approval or even consultation with Congress if he decides to commit us again to war again in Iraq.

As in the past, Democrats are not just silent but actually applauding the circumvention of Congress — a precedent that will likely come back to haunt them if the next president is a Republican. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that the President does not need congressional approval to do go back into combat and then matter-of-factly that in their brief conversation, the President “did not give us an array of actions he was planning to take.”

While we do not expect combat troops on the ground, the White House appears to be exploring an intervention with air power and possible special forces. The White House simply told Congress and the public to trust their uber president: “Any action that he might contemplate when it comes to … the use of military force will be to deal with the immediate and medium-term threat posed by ISIL.”

I recently testified (here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws. Obama has repeatedly suspended provisions of the health care law and made unilateral changes that were previously rejected by Congress. He has also moved hundreds of millions from one part of the Act to other parts without congressional approval. Now, his administration is reportedly changing key provisions of the ACA to potentially make billions of dollars available to the insurance industry in a move that was never debated, let alone approved, by the legislative branch. I just ran another column this month listing such incidents of executive over-reach that ideally would have included this potentially huge commitment under Obama’s claimed discretionary authority.

This week I debated the head of the Brennan Center at New York University on Obama’s unilateral actions and the dangers that they pose on the PBS program Newshour. While my co-guest repeatedly insisted that he is “not troubled” by the concentration of authority in the presidency, I again believe that Democrats will long regret that they support the rise of this uber presidency:

357 thoughts on “Obama: I Need No Congressional Approval To Go Back To War In Iraq

  1. Folks! The real crisis is on our own border. A distraction and a cutesie way for us to be invaded and not send them all back. Why,….. we can’t be known as the country that turned away kids. The kids and mama’s are keeping the border patrol so busy, no one is paying attention to who else is sneaking in elsewhere. We are sitting ducks and the world knows it. This is a true invasion and who is going to pay for all the teenagers that are going to be the next wave of gangs members. Obama is truly living up to his promise, fundamentally changing America, weakening our defenses and refusing to defend the borders to do the job he is supposed to do. He is systematically destroying our country and creating crises after crisis and you know his motto. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste. By the time Israel and our other allies will need us, we will be knee deep in our own internal revolution created by the massive invasion of immigrants, lack of work, volumes of regulations and taxes he is levying on industry and energy, you name it, he is tampering with it. Obama a failure, quite the opposite. He promised to do exactly what he is doing. Our problem, he is failing to do what we want him to do.

    The man is definitely no failure, he is accomplishing exactly what he started out to do. Destroy America from within. He has never had any love for “The Ugly Americans” as he so graciously called us in his book ” Dreams of my Father” If you will remember, his life in Chicago was closely associated with one particular man, who did not like our country, a member of The Weather Underground. His own parents and grandparents were no champions for the United States, and his minister was certainly no fan when he preached,”God damn America”!!!!! And, at his inauguration his wife stated, ” I have never been proud of my country until now” His history tells you exactly what he is and what his goals are……………….. Unfortunately, i am afraid that we who love our country will not soon forget who this man is and what he has done to our wonderful country!!!!!
    Just my opinion.

  2. Encouraging alternative energy production such as solar power through the use of tax breaks is justified as a matter of national security. By reducing our reliance on oil, we won’t have to put our troops at risk trying to quell sectarian wars; in fact, we could pull much, if not all, of our military from the region altogether.

    Alternative energy is the production is the only way to truly reduce our vulnerability to Middle Eastern affairs; domestically produced oil is still bought and sold on the global market at prices set by OPEC and jacked up by speculators.

    Clean alternative energy will also lead to less pollution of the air and water, to vital component of the commons, and therefore clearly in the best interests of the nation – certainly worthy of a tax break.

    • RTC wrote: “Clean alternative energy will also lead to less pollution of the air and water, to vital component of the commons, and therefore clearly in the best interests of the nation – certainly worthy of a tax break.”

      Just because something is good for the nation does not mean we should take money by force from our citizens to pay for it. Solar energy has a market. Let the market work. Government needs to get out of the way. If the government wants to encourage the market, get rid of the capital gains tax.

      When Obama got involved in Solyndra, all he did was ruin the reputation of solar energy and blew half a billion dollars of the taxpayers’ money. He should just stick to what he is good at, which is… well… whatever it is, let him stick to that.

  3. David, I agree 100% about removing all subsidies. I have nothing really against solar. It is fun “hobby” type energy source. My issue with it is that it seems that the focus is in the wrong place. It’s not the solar cell, it is the storage that is the problem. Until that is resolved solar will never be a base load energy source due to it’s fluctuations in output. The grid doesn’t like huge amounts of input coming and going. It is one of the problems we have in the turbine industry. It is hard to run a test with a turbine making ~200MW hooked to the grid so that it can “see” a load. Ramping it up and down doesn’t go over well.

    The other alternative it is to have people store their solar power themselves with batteries. But now you are dealing with batteries, not a trivial thing. I always liked the Solar to hydrogen idea.

    Also, I’m not sure about the “free” part since there is still maintenance issues with any power source. Entropy is a bitch.

    My hope is still the Thorium (LFTR) reactor. It has so many good things about it. As long as Jane Fonda doesn’t spit out her disinformation.

  4. Bob Esq: “Obama had a patient with a knife in its chest. He promised that he’d remove the knife entirely as part of his campaign.”

    Excerpt that wasn’t a knife. It was actually a scalpel, among an array of healing tools, being wielded by a physician – a physician famous for having successfully performed lengthy nation-building surgery before. The treatment of post-Saddam Iraq was succeeding, but Obama abruptly yanked the doctor away from his patient partway through the surgery and abandoned the still-vulnerable patient in an infectious environment.

  5. Reblogged this on veritasusa and commented:
    The Imperial Presidency in Action, While the Legislative and Judicial Branches have outright abdicated their essential And vital role as a Check and Balance to such an overreaching Executive Branch. The Concentration of this much power in the Executive Branch is not how our Representational Democracy is supposed to work; it is simply Dictatorship with the Dictator changing faces every four or eight years (as of now). There is nothing to prevent a President who is willing to ignore the Constitutional Requirements of his office, his oath, and the Bill of Rights from simply ignoring the Term Limit provisions as well. After all – who will do anything about it?

  6. June 23, 2014 at 12:23 am: “Obama could react to an attack by ISIS against the US, territory, possession, or armed forces or a threat by ISIS against the US.”

    To clarify this statement, no further statutory authorization or declaration of war is needed for executive military action if the US or US territory, possession, or armed forces is actually attacked.

    Executive authority to “deter and prevent” a terrorist attack has been clarified as standing policy since al Qaeda rose during the Clinton administration. The unsettled question, which was debated for OIF, has been the level of threat that opens such authority.

    This seems the most likely legal route for Obama to react to ISIS in Iraq should he seek no further legal authority from Congress.

    From PL 107-40:

    Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were
    committed against the United States and its citizens; and
    Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that
    the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect
    United States citizens both at home and abroad; and
    Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign
    policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence;
    and
    Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary
    threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United
    States; and
    Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to
    take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism
    against the United States:

  7. The Imperial Presidency in Action, While the Legislative and Judicial Branches have outright abdicated their essential And vital role as a Check and Balance to such an overreaching Executive Branch.

    The Concentration of this much power in the Executive Branch is not how our Representational Democracy is supposed to work; it is simply Dictatorship with the Dictator changing faces every four or eight years (as of now).

    There is nothing to prevent a President who is willing to ignore the Constitutional Requirements of his office, his oath, and the Bill of Rights from simply ignoring the Term Limit provisions as well. After all – who will do anything about it?

  8. wrxdave: “The Imperial Presidency in Action”

    I hesitate conflating a President’s authority to deploy the military overseas, where the Commander in Chief traditionally is afforded a wide latitude, than overreach in other areas the President is traditionally limited.

    That’s not to say a President has limitless authority to deploy the military overseas, but it’s not the same calibration across the board.

  9. Fix: I hesitate conflating a President’s authority to deploy the military overseas … thanwith overreach in other areas the President is traditionally limited.

  10. I’m amazed at how people think that there was any alternative to the present outcome. As I have stated before, the problem goes back to WWI, not just like 1980 or something. An artificial political solution was created to justify a grab by the British and the French at the close of the Ottoman Empire. Today is just that political solution disintegrating. Pat Buchanan has a good historical analysis.
    http://buchanan.org/blog/make-congress-vote-war-6515

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