United States Bombs Syria In Latest Undeclared War

220px-B-2_spirit_bombingPresident_Barack_ObamaI just completed a two-city debate with former Bush official John Yoo on executive power with a focus on undeclared wars. It appears Yoo won the debate . . . at least with President Obama. Indeed, Yoo appears to have had Obama at “hello” to quote Jerry Maguire. Without any declaration of war, Obama has launched attacks against targets in Syria — an act of war by any measure and a violation of international law.

We 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.

The most serious acts of unilateral presidential action falls within war powers — powers that the Framers expressly and carefully limited to prevent precisely this type of attack. Of course, the Administration does not use the word “war.” 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.

The White House insisted that this was “military action” but that “[g]iven that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time. The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief.”

The Administration is now calling this a “sustained campaign” with no estimate on how long it will take. So we are again attacking another nation without a declaration or even a debate in Congress. Members are allowed to avoid their constitutional duties of clearly declaring a war while the President has been allowed, again, to jettison any limitations on his ability to wage war.

It is one thing to take out our own captured Humvees (with missiles costing $250,000 a shot) in Iraq with the permission of the country and hitting cities and targets in Syria against the express position of the government. That is clearly an act of war to prosecute a military campaign against the territory of a sovereign nation.

We are continuing an assault on basic principles of international war and returning the word to a state of nature. When another country elects to take our individuals or targets in the United States, what precisely will we claim as authority. We have assumed the role of Roper from “A Man For All Seasons“:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Source: ABC News

248 thoughts on “United States Bombs Syria In Latest Undeclared War

  1. I wish someone would actually conduct a REAL war where our goal is to defeat the enemy. We haven’t had one of those since WW2. We just stir up the bees nest and bug out. These crazies in the Middle East actually believe they have been winning because we don’t crush them. Time to do some real crushing. A declared war by Congress and no options off the table. This President spends more time telling the enemy what he won’t do than what he will do. A metrosexual CIC.

  2. The Congress doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to declare war. They scattered like cockroaches to go to their home districts so they wouldn’t HAVE to discuss it or vote. If there was TRULY an imminent threat to the US, thank goodness Obama has TI.

  3. David, silence is consent then? There are those who voted for an anti-war president. Not the change we hoped for. A constitutional lawyer should know what is expected, required, and forbidden therein. You’d think.

  4. Now this is downright silly. The very first war the US fought after the adoption of our Constitution did not come from a declaration of war. For those who forget our history, they were called the Barbary WARS. So if the very people who WROTE the Constitution had no problem with that, I do not either. Then the allegation it violates international law is also specious since the targets are non-governmental forces who have NO legal standing as a state or member of the UN. Now if the targets had been Assad’s forces THEN it would be a violation of the UN Charter if the UN did not sanction it. The FACT is that Syria has no problem with the strikes, will NOT be going to the UN to protest the strikes, and is welcoming them. Plus the FACT that Congress authorized the funds AND gave sanction to these acts. So just where is the violation?

    I also have to laugh at the complaint about Obama giving relief to those who complained about some poorly drafted parts of the ACA. So they complain, they get relief, and then complain he violated the law! GET REAL!

  5. Go for it, Nick. The goal of the military should never be “to win the hearts and minds.” Militaries are good at breaking things and killing people.

    Nevertheless, let our Congress decide to unleash the dogs of war. Not the president alone except in case of clear and present danger.

  6. Let us have a discussion of all of the Clauses of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution wherein Congress may authorize actions against foreign nations or foreign pirates or terrorists. I will print them below in a few more sentences.
    But for this discussion, so far, the article by JT leaves out the notion that our military in the past month has gone after pirates or terrorists and not a defined nation state itself. It is true that we have bombed terrorists who are located in Syria. I for one do not agree that Syria is a concise, controlled nation state. It is more like Somalia, Nigeria, Afghanistan. Those three countries have similarities. Somalia has a lot of pirates who will leave the village in a boat and go offshore and commit acts of piracy. The land territory is not really controlled by a nation state which calls itself Somalia. In Nigeria we have a similar situation to Somalia where Islamic terrorists control part of Nigeria and the so called government of Nigeria is not capable of taking that territory back. This is where they kidnap children and sell them. In Afghanistan there is a so called national government but the territory is fought over by a variety of terrorists. The locals and the world was better off when the Soviet Union controlled the territory. But now it has terrorists running areas. Syria has similarities to Somalia, Nigeria and Afghanistan. There is a dictator who is a mean guy who fights a civil war and there are many factions. One faction claims to be a nation state into itself– the Islamic State.

    Our Framers of our Constitution distinguished between declaring war upon a nation state and authorizing military force to go after pirates or those on land who did not adhere to the Laws of Nations.

    In previous post 9/11 Congressional authorizations, Congress gave the President as Commander in Chief the authority to go after terrorists. Some terror organizations were named. Now the terrorists have morphed.

    Questions: 1) Do we need a Declaration of War to be issued by Congress under the War Declaration Clause of Article I, Section 8 or do we need an authorization under the Piracy Clause of that Article I, and Section 8?

    I think we need to frame the discussion into those two questions.

    Here is the partial text of relevant Clauses:

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repeal Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

  7. Write your congressperson. Dropping bombs on a foreign country is an act of war. Our Congress has not passes an act of war. This President (as have numerous others) has violated his oath of office. He is creating more enemies than he can kill and he is doing all without the express authority he needs as written in our Constitution that this president claims to know so much about.

    Write your congressperson today!

  8. This is going to be a dirty war. Lots of black OPS operations.

    Someone called Syria’s President Bashar Assad before the bombing. I wonder who called him?

  9. To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repeal Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

  10. Word Press says: “Duplicate comment detected! It looks as though you already said that.”

    Except you did not publish what I said.

  11. Dear Mr. Turley,

    I am a big fan of yours and the overall blog that you put out. I understand your point … to a point …. However, in a sense, in this modern age, we will never see the likes of a WW II again.

    Things move TOOO fast. An ICBM takes approx. 20 minutes from start of launch in the Soviet Union until impact in the USA…. So we will never have a Pearl Harbor type attack again.

    What we have are religious fanatics vis-a-vis Nation States conducting foreign policy.

    You state that the Syrian attacks are illegal without a Congressional mandate for war… Okay, legally, you are on solid ground but you step into quicksand because again these are not Nation States like Germany and Japan in WW II.

    If we had killed Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11 knowing that or at least suspecting that he was about to mastermind four planes killing 3,000 plus people would you feel the same …??? That these pre-emotive strikes might preclude the greater tragedy of 9/11 … Methinks you would …

    Therefore, while the President does not have a Congressional mandate, he does have the mandate of his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies foreign and domestic …. Extrapolated, that means he can preemptively strike ISIS before they really get too big for their britches ….

    I support the strikes 100% and I believe a majority of Americans do too. They are sick and tired of seeing ISIS on the news nightly carrying out their atrocities.

    If Itchy Mitchy McConnel and the rest of his Band of Renown what to scurry from the limelight allegedly to run for reelection then they do not have a leg to criticize the Prez for attacking ISIS.

    I just hope the President continues the bombing long enough to seriously eradicate ISIS.

    Any “Americans” who go to fight with ISIS should be deemed enemy combatants, their passports revoked, never allowed back into this country, their assets seized and if they do attempt to return jailed interminably

    We live in a far different world than 7 Dec 1941 so adjustments like the ISIS bombing have to be made. It took us nearly four years to defeat the Japanese in WW II .. The American people want ISIS Crushed in a far shorter time.

  12. Except you did not publish what I said.

    So, I have tried to say it again but you wont publish it.

    I am not asking for you to publish or perish. Or even join a parish. I am asking the readers to explore the other provisions of Art. I, Sec 8 of the Constitution which provides for various things for Congress to authorize, including the use of military force to go after pirates and terrorists or those who violate the Laws of Nations. Is Syria really a complete nation state? If we bomb a terrorist base within the pirate territory referred to on a map as Syria are we really committing an act of war? I don’t think so. And I think that Congress authorized the use of force against terrorists after Nine Eleven. The blog here wont let me cite the Constitution at Art. I, Sec 8. Go google that and go down about ten Clauses. I am not talking Sintur Klaus here.

  13. A runaway Executive Branch while the Legislative and Judicial branches have been progressively abdicating their responsibilities to act as a check on the Executive since the 70s. Since that abdication does not affect their corporate sponsors it has continued to the point until now it is near total.
    So many agencies of the executive branch now have police powers, from the FBI to the EPA and all of those agencies are fully militarized, with armored vehicles and their own air power. Even Hitler was the democratically elected Chancellor of Germany, so how is this not a road to eventual dictatorship; simply awaiting a chief executive willing to exercise the growing powers we are accepting them taking???

  14. This BarkinDog is getting tired of barking. My boots are on the ground and made for walking. That is what I will do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you. Are you ready Boots!

  15. I would hope that Congress and Obama would recognize that there ARE worse people in the world than Assad. This would be a good time to press the other forces who are against Assad to negotiate an alliance with Assad on power sharing, and agree to jointly fight against ISIS which is a FAR worse enemy for both sides. If Assad goes, ISIS will use that vacuum to take over all of Syria and wage war against ALL those who disagree with them, and establish their idea of a pure Islamic state, with mass executions for those who do not follow. I would also think that the non-ISIS forces being armed would give them a power base to ensure that Assad lives up to the agreements. Such a coalition would provide the necessary boots on the ground to finish off ISIS.

  16. We are certainly facing the devil in ISIS and Obama is using
    It to flatten a few more laws. We are all standing in a high
    wind with no where to hide. I believe the devil is about to

  17. I agree with Randyjet. And for the reasons that this blog will not post. I started out early today before there was one comment. The Word Press would not post my articulate comment on the difference between War against a nation state which is An Act of War requiring a Declaration of War, and a military use of force against pirates on land or sea. Terrorists can be killed without an act of war against a nation state. And terrorists who live, work and prey, within some lame nation state or pirate territory, can be attacked by our Commander and Chief through our military forces. Without a Declaration of War. See the Constittuion: Article I, Section 8, clause ten.

  18. Well said, Dave.
    In the meantime, we’ll borrow on more credit from China to buy bombs from the defense industry to drop on those guys. Guess they’ll keep letting us go in debt until they can just buy the whole country out from underneath of us. Looks like the future dictator we’re making here will paid by the Chinese.

  19. Glenn Greenwald:

    “Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate”


    “Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar. That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment (and thus anti-American extremism) is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region. If you know that, then they know that. At this point, it’s more rational to say they do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug, as it is what then justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War.

    If there is anyone who actually believes that the point of all of this is a moral crusade to vanquish the evil-doers of ISIS (as the U.S. fights alongside its close Saudi friends), please read Professor As’ad AbuKhalil’s explanation today of how Syria is a multi-tiered proxy war. As the disastrous Libya “intervention” should conclusively and permanently demonstrate, the U.S. does not bomb countries for humanitarian objectives. Humanitarianism is the pretense, not the purpose.”


  20. What the majority of Americans want does not matter if it is unconstitutional (unless they change it).

    The majority does not overrule the Constitution or what is “right” – thankfully.

    The tyranny of public opinion is terrible indeed.

    If it is such a good idea then there should be no problem getting Congressional approval; even bad ideas – such as the second invasion of Iraq – received Congressional approval (even Hillary!). There would not be a problem getting an AUF or probably even a Declaration of War on IS if the President simply asked; but he does not fear not getting it, he fears limitations on it, and the debate on it. He can avoid both by by simply not asking.

  21. @ David. Did Congress even get an opportunity to say yes or no to this war action? It is my understanding that the Executive Branch goes to Congress, the Legislative, to ask for a declaration of war. Did Obama do this? He didn’t in Lybia. [Which is the main thrust of Turley’s argument about runaway executive power]When did the President become a King who can just waive his scepter and commit the men and women of our armed forces to war. When did he get the power to appropriate funds to pay for a war. That is Congress’ power of the purse.

    The weaselly cowards in Congress are happy to let Obama make the decisions for them. This way they don’t have to go on record as being pro or anti war. Right before an important election. That way they can be re-elected without having to actually take a stand on anything.

    And I 100% agree with Nick. If we ARE going to go to war……do it to WIN. These half@ssed fake wars where we try not to hurt anyone’s feelings and pretend that people don’t get hurt in war are the reason we have more and more violence throughout the world. It is like the parents of unruly children who just threaten punishment and never carry through. The kids soon figure out that you are just full of hot air and they can ignore you.

  22. Congress has shown they only care about their political backs and party.They, and the right, and others, complained the president went golfin a few weeks back while crises were going around all around. Why is it you rarely, if that often, hear people saying, the congress has abdicated its responsibility and to go on a vacation, after a vacation while there was no doubt action was being considered is an abject failure and relinquishing of their responsibility(ies) as a branch of this government.
    Funny how Pannetta and others saying the president should have done this over a year ago. Then he would most probably not been able to engage other countries, including Syria permitting the airstrikes, much less congress giving their ok. Had he asked congress would have done what they have consistently done with this president, said no way the president is wrong. I am now waiting for them to get back form their vacations, the ones on the right, and say the president should never have done airstikes and getting other countries involved, so this is not a US operation, is a bad thing.
    The professor keeps ging afte the president. Professor. would you have preferred he go it alone? And this has not been declared a war. In addition congress has been saying for the past few weeks the president has (blank) days left before we have to give him our okay. and then they go on vacation instead of staying here to hash this out and give, or maybe not give, their okay..

  23. Of course ISIS are bad guys. They still evidently haven’t rolled as many heads as the Saudis have as of late–according to a post on this blog. It just all seems to be so convenient right now. “Bomb ISIS and Assad, throw in some side volleys to the other fringe countries over there…” Looks awfully like a perpetuation instead of a solution to me. There will be someone new next week to bomb. It never ends!

  24. Just as the hardline leadership requires Hamas to remain in power, so that they may remain in power, we will NEVER “win” or even reduce the causes of terrorism, any more than we have reduced drug use or drug supplies, because both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs (both prosecuted in much the same way) serve a purpose for the Powers that be and those Agencies created to prosecute those wars. That is why the DEA has become a lobbying arm when it comes to the drug laws they are charged with enforcing.

  25. I’ve watched several news channels this morning, including CNN, FOX, FOX Business, and Local NBC. Sure sounded to me like Republicans were supporting the President. In his speech, very carefully crafted rhetorically, he left the door wide open for infantry on the ground as and if necessary. His final remark was an expression of gratitude to our “troops.”

    I disagreed with one thing he said, and a policy we’ve had for a while…and that is still treating Assad as an enemy…it is all the rebels in Syria that are our enemy, and his too. Hello? Assad may be a beast, but less a threat than Saddam was, and hindsight is showing us how invading Iraq has played out…even worse (ISIL) elements are on the move. After a dozen years in Afghanistan, the Taliban is still there, just not in Kabul, yet. Same for our meddling with Qaddafi and Libya…we supported folks we knew nothing about, and that devolved in to Benghazi, and subsequently Tripoli. When the truth is told, my guess is that we’ll find out how ISIL/ISIS et al got their newer weapons initially (before they gathered up the fleeing Iraqi military weapons we gave them) .,..through Benghazi out of Libya. I’ll listen to any evidence of the weapons we sought to recover in Libya being returned to the USA. So far not a peep on that one.

    Finally, I’ve been calling veteran friends and acquaintances I know who have spent at least 365 days & a wake-up in infantry combat, or more deployments from Vietnam through today. My opinion, and others like me, is not counted because I did not do a full tour, nor was I serving in infantry in deployment, although 11B was my secondary MOS. I was shot at and shot back, in the boonies a times, but that is not the same as patrolling daily every day and dealing with ambushes and setting them. So far I’ve not had one 11B, etc., tell me they would want to see US ground troops, infantry and armor, back in Iraq or Syria.

    I am wondering if Assad’s military isn’t the only one that can defeat ISIL on the ground, with coalition help from the air. I cannot believe we didn’t notify Assad of our intentions as the assault from the air began. Are we back to picking the least offensive enemy to make an ally? Seems like it. It’s not like we’ve not done it before…think WWII and the eastern front.

  26. DBQ, Great analogy. Parents need puppy training lessons. You tell a puppy once. If they don’t obey, you gently but firmly, w/ a pleasant voice, make them obey. Puppies and children CRAVE limits and structure. It tells them they are loved and safe.

  27. IS has declared itself a nation state, although unrecognized by anybody, thus they make themselves open to a declaration of war.

    I think IS deserves to be destroyed, but unlike so any I do not believe that IS presented a massive immediate danger to the U.S. “Homeland”, but it does to corporate and foreign policy interests. Terrorism exists to generate fear and our own Government has been complicit in maintaining that fear &
    The threat because it suits their agenda.

    Once IS is degraded or even destroyed, what next?

    There will still be massive instability in the region.
    Shia and Sunni will still regard and hate each other as apostates.
    Other radical and terror organzations will arise.

    All military action we take to address this is tactical, and can only BE tactical.
    Only a strategic vision and a comprehensive strategy (which will never happen and may not be possible) will have any lasting affect.

  28. leej, Do you support this air campaign, or are you just happy Obama got some support and lookin’ for some love for your guy?

  29. And, I ask again… politically, why are we there?? It’s a silly question. The Turkish army could use ISIS for an afternoon of target practice. There is absolute no sound argument for this latest venture other than money-making. That way, it makes GREAT sense.

  30. He’s not “my guy” He is, whether you or others like it or not, the elected President of the United States. I reluctantly support the air campaign and do so largely because it is not now a US action. ISIS is the world’s problem, just as the Nazis were and requires a world response.

    Brad what does your link have to do with the administration being the “most duplicitous in memory. The administration does not agree with McCain. That is nothing new. McCain has wanted troops on the ground for some time and the administration does not agree with that. Syria permitted the airstrikes. This is a hard road on the one hand get rid of Assad on the other need Syria for the air strikes. What would you have them to do. It is nice that so many armchair generals would like to see more of our sons and daughters go back and fight on the ground, way too many coming home maimed or in body bags.
    It is why I think we need a draft back. Once people can see past their own limited vision, i.e. someone else doing the fighting, won’t effect me personally, the calls for troops on the ground and go it alone might well be muted.

  31. This reminds me of Bill Clinton’s 1998 attacks on Iraq all over again. On the day before his impeachment vote set to start, he began sending missiles into Iraq and bombarded it with missiles for the next four days. It was called Operation Desert Fox but some critiques said it was like the plot from the movie “Wag the Dog”. At any rate, after being bombarded with missiles Saddam Hussein decided to challenge the “no fly zones”. That gave Clinton grounds to keep bombing Iraq almost daily for the next two years. There were no “boots on the ground”, so Clinton defenders sad it was not a war. Obama has already said he expects this adventurous bombing campaign into Syria/Iraq will last maybe three years. But there’s no “boots on he ground” (except for the thousands of boots on the ground) so it isn’t war. Farcical.

  32. Exactly LeeJ. Bring back the draft, put some of their own ‘skin’ in the game. Full out war s what they want? Start with a Declaration, a draft and a War Tax. Big brave war talk by armchair generals is laughable without these three essentials.

  33. Andrew O’Hehir:

    “Obama, the slide back to Iraq and the power of the “Deep State””


    “If you haven’t read Lofgren’s essay, “Anatomy of the Deep State,” which was published on Bill Moyers’ website last February, it might be the most important document of American political journalism in this decade, let alone this year. It’s even more trenchant now than it was in the relatively innocent days of last winter. He discusses the contradiction I mention above in great detail: Even as the Republicans have succeeded in bringing the most routine parliamentary business of Washington to a grinding halt, the president is permitted to “liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in … witch hunts against federal employees.” While Republicans indulge their constituents’ cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs fantasies about Obama the Kenyan-socialist dictator, almost no one in Congress ever mentions any of this stuff. (The notable exceptions are Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who appear to have actually read the Constitution and are treated as left-wing and right-wing kooks, respectively.)”


  34. “I reluctantly support the air campaign and do so largely because it is not now a US action. ISIS is the world’s problem, just as the Nazis were and requires a world response.”

    Thanks. That was an honest answer. I also reluctantly support some air strikes because ISIS is a world wide threat. If not this moment….soon.

    The problems I have with Obama’s actions are similar to the Professor. The use of Executive authority to bypass the Constitutional authority of Congress to declare war and the use of an OLD approval of Congress given to Bush.

    “The White House says Bush-era congressional authorizations for the war on al-Qaida and the Iraq invasion give Obama the authority to expand the fighting in Syria and Iraq without new approval by Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act. That law, passed at the height of the Vietnam War, serves as a constitutional check on the president’s power to declare war without congressional consent. It requires presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of military action and limits the use of military forces to no more than 60 days unless Congress authorizes force or declares war.” http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2014/9/12/obama_claims_bushera_authority_for_airstrikes.htm

    Under this rationale once an authority has been granted it can be used almost in perpetuity by future presidents. At what point do these ‘authorizations’ expire?

    The second and main issue that I have is the distinct suspicion that there is no real end game plan. No strategy to WIN. To decisively and completely defeat the enemy. So we are using air strikes. Now what?. How do we plan to eliminate,contain, destroy ISIS?. What new threat will rise again when we give up without completing the job? I realize we can’t broadcast these things to the enemy, but I “feel” that we don’t have a real plan and based on some statements by experts that Obama’s stated strategy is going to be a failure.


  35. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddavenport/2014/09/22/congress-and-war-on-isis-just-bomb-the-place-and-tell-us-about-it-later-3/ “To be fair, the constitutional questions surrounding U.S. military action against ISIS are not easy. But those wanting Congress to play a larger role in declaring wars, and not simply defer to the Commander in Chief, have a right to be disappointed when Congress, in effect, gave itself a pass and left town early to go home and campaign. As Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) frankly admitted: “A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year.”

    What Congress did was authorize the arming and training of local forces in Syria, passed by both houses with some bipartisan support. What Congress could and should have done was debate the larger question of authorizing U.S. military action against ISIS. But Congress declined to address that larger question, not wanting to take a tough stand just before the November elections.”

  36. Peter Van Buren:

    “Apocalypse Now, Iraq Edition”

    Posted: 09/23/2014 9:29 am EDT


    “Apocalypse Then — And Now

    America’s wars in the Middle East exist in a hallucinatory space where reality is of little import, so if you think you heard all this before, between 2003 and 2010, you did. But for those of us of a certain age, the echoes go back much further. I recently joined a discussion on Dutch television where former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra made a telling slip of the tongue. As we spoke about ISIS, Hoekstra insisted that the U.S. needed to deny them “sanctuary in Cambodia.” He quickly corrected himself to say “Syria,” but the point was made.

    We’ve been here before, as the failures of American policy and strategy in Vietnam metastasized into war in Cambodia and Laos to deny sanctuary to North Vietnamese forces. As with ISIS, we were told that they were barbarians who sought to impose an evil philosophy across an entire region. They, too, famously needed to be fought “over there” to prevent them from attacking us here. We didn’t say “the Homeland” back then, but you get the picture.

    As the similarities with Vietnam are telling, so is the difference. When the reality of America’s failure in Vietnam finally became so clear that there was no one left to lie to, America’s war there ended and the troops came home. They never went back. America is now fighting the Iraq War for the third time, somehow madly expecting different results, while guaranteeing only failure. To paraphrase a young John Kerry, himself back from Vietnam, who’ll be the last to die for that endless mistake? It seems as if it will be many years before we know.”

  37. Peter Van Buren:

    “On Dutch TV Taking Iraq, Syria and ISIS”

    September 17, 2014

    Here I am on the Dutch television program “Nieuwsuur,” with former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, discussing the futility of air strikes to resolve the Iraq/Syria/ISIS mess.

    After a setup in Dutch by the anchor, and an Obama speech clip, the interview (about three minutes in) is in English.


  38. I’m admitting I have not read every word on this thread. But I’ve not seen anyone here seriously advocating American ground forces in Syria or even back in Iraq. Certainly it has not been me….see my comment at 11:19 today. So just who are these bloodthirsty “arm-chair generals” of which we speak?

    PS: Don’t bother with yammering on about Sen McCain. I don’t agree with him, but he did pay a price in combat, so his purview is not “armchair.” I think of him as I did Adm. Stockwell when he was slammed for being muddled, etc….by some armchair punks in both parties. Identify who these new armchair generals are today. Please?

  39. Oh, dang…somebody just mentioned “Cheney” again…that truculent dreg left over from the Nixon West Wing….and my hives are forming again. Can’t we just ignore that clown for once, both sides, put him out to pasture? I don’t consider the HuffPo a reliable source for how much influence Cheney has today. YMMV.

  40. Aridog, seehyde comments @ 10:22 and 11:09. They’re your friends, perhaps you can get them to elaborate on what they mean by a “REAL war”. I believe in the past DBQ has advocated for ground troops, I’m sure she’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

  41. Annie makes a point. It is so easy to be self-righteous when we are quick to offer up everyone else’s kids lives at risk. War should be something everyone pays for immediately. Armchair generals [chicken hawks] (Lindsay Graham?????) yes, plenty of them.
    Please keep the argument faithful and on the up and up. ISIS–Nazi war machine?? I REALLY don’t think so. That is the same old “go-to” argument everyone else uses. The “Hitler” of the week argument. Want to stop ISIS, tell Saudi Arabia to stop ISIS.

  42. Annie, We’ve had this debate before. Our military is voluntary. The “skin in the game” argument is wrong. Does anyone know when code pink is going to march and protest?

  43. ISIS is a Muslim problem and they should be standing up to them. The US has no business trying to end this crazy religious war. I get it that Obama was afraid he was looking “weak” but his weakness is that he has no spine not that he won’t bomb anyone.

  44. Jim22, DBQ has agreed that we should have a draft, she’s stated that in a different thread a couple of weeks ago. Go argue with her. You don’t want your loved ones to be subject to the draft? Our volunteer army will not be sufficient with the “REAL war” DBQ and Spinelli are calling for. It’s obvious you don’t care if our troops and veterans have the highest rates of PTSD and suicide ever. War mongers should be willing to send their own flesh and blood.

  45. Annie
    I think the real question both Nick and Bunny miss, every time is:
    What tour of duty are they waiting to be deployed out for? 2? 3? 8?


  46. Joan Walsh:

    Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 12:56 PM EST

    “The Dick Cheney view of presidential power is winning”

    “Feckless Congress campaigns instead of voting on Syrian airstrikes, while McCain and Graham want to move on Assad”

    ““[Congress has] sort of allowed the Cheney pre-emptive war doctrine to exist by another name,” Kaine told the Huffington Post Tuesday. “In this instance, they allowed the president to say, ‘ISIL [the Islamic State] is the bad guys, and I can go after them even though there has been testimony that they pose no imminent threat of attack on the United States.’ If the president just gets to do this without Congress, then we will be embracing the Cheney pre-emptive war doctrine, which I think is just brutally wrong.”

    Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member on the House Committee, told MSNBC Monday night that Congress should return to vote on authorizing airstrikes: “This is, without question, war. This is something that Congress should authorize.”

    Smith and Kaine are right, and the relative silence from Congress in the wake of last night’s airstrikes is troubling. …

    GOP Congressman Jack Kingston, who’s on his way out of Congress after losing his Georgia Senate primary bid, spoke rare truth about his colleagues’ refusal to schedule a vote on the Syrian strikes before the midterms. ”A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later,’” said Kingston. “It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.” (Kingston thinks Congress should vote on the airstrikes, but he told me Friday, on the set of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” that he doesn’t believe Obama needs authorization legally to act.)

    With the president set to address the U.N. General Assembly, it’s a tense time for the U.S. to challenge international law. “In the aftermath of Russia’s clear violation of international law in Ukraine, we should be seen as committing further to the adherence of international norms, not undermining it,” the Center for American Progress’s Ken Gude, who has supported the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq, told the Daily Beast. “What could happen here is that the norms that govern states’ application of force take a hit and those norms, largely enforced by the U.S. and that work together for the benefit of America and our allies, could be weakened.”

    These are all questions Congress should be asking, but very few in Congress seem to care. With military and civilian leaders saying the Syrian campaign could last not weeks or months but years, Congress needs to vote to authorize what is clearly a new war.”

  47. Thanks Justice Holmes. Glad you see it. Like I keep saying, if there was real concern, Turkey could blow them out like a candle. We’ll even sell Turkey more military hardware, so the defense industry still turns an ugly profit.
    Maybe we could think about the nasty people we have here now. Like those alleged perpetrators of those horrible crimes right here whom the Professor posted about.

  48. Congress needs to vote in favor of a use of force resolution authorizing the Commander in Chief to initiate and proceed until death to them part the terrorists who operate in those Pirate Territories east of Corfu. We do not need a Declaration of War. That is what one needs when one has a nation state on the other side. What we have are terrorists who change their names once in a while to protect the guilty. al Qaeda this week, ISis that week, Al Capone next week. These are not legitimate military persons in uniform fighting at the direction of a legitimate nation state. They are terrorists and pirates. Take no prisoners. Have them walk the plank. No more trials at Gitmo and no more prisoners at Gitmo. Find em, bomb em, slit their throats, forget em. Drop the dead bodies out of airplanes onto their home villages.

  49. I have to wonder if there was not some Back Channel assent from President Assad to what is happening militarily.

    I had thought of the Piracy Clauses in the constitution that could be used as being an interesting approach. Yet for better or worse I believe the president has the statutory authority to initiate these actions from our legal system. Internationally it might be different. Yet, if there was an agreement from the Syrian government to attack the Islamic State the violation of international law would be rather moot.

    I still believe whenever possible the president should receive authorization from Congress at least to remove the taint of unilateralism. It could have been done in this case.

  50. I think members of Congress knew his plans, via closed meetings. We are late to this party, but at least have shown up. Bush was completely open that we were at war with a different kind of enemy. Now Obama golfs and parties until the country is begging for bombs. What a luxury for a President. Are the haters going to attack Obama as they did Bush? Bush started acting on 9/11/01. Not sure when Obama decided to do what’s happening today. I’m not sure this isn’t a political move. I cannot trust Obama at all. I am proud of our military. This is “shock and awe” we are capable of and the world now sees our military doesn’t fool around. I also thank the Kurds for never giving up.

  51. War is funded therefore, I presume, declared by Congress. The Executive executes what Congress legislates.

    We have King Obama, a dictator, usurping power.

    Congress has the constitutional duty and authority to impeach a nefarious executive and set the direction of the country.

    The people, through Congress, are the sovereigns, the government is the subject of the sovereign.

    Obama’s War is as unconstitutional as Crazy Abe’s.

    Obviously the Congress (the party with standing) and, by extension, the judicial branch have abandoned and undermined the Constitution in favor of unrestrained “strong man” dictatorship. Congress has been derelict and the judicial branch has “interpreted” and “legislated from the bench.”

    The Constitution has been replaced with the Communist Manifesto:

    “If you plunge a frog into boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you place the frog into cool water and slowly heat it to boiling, the frog won’t notice and will slowly cook to death.”

    The collectivist unionist dictatorship of the proletariat is firmly in control.

    When do constitutional scholars reveal and expose the folly of our ways?

    Edmund Burke –

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

  52. Kurds never giving up? You can actually call them the first group over there fighting for their own state. Used to be terrorists, but they bought different hats so now they are good guys.

  53. As I have said in other commentaries on this topic. No one who is sane wants war or looks forward to war. HOWEVER, if you are going to go to war, you should be in it to win. Win quickly. Win decisively. And don’t flub the follow up of the war. IF that takes actual troops on the ground instead of a protracted and probably not effective air campaign, then that is what it should be.

    When you fight an ineffective, half-hearted war, you are wasteful of lives and of treasure. By ineffective actions in Iraq, crippling the troops with stupid rules of combat, we have literally thrown those brave troops lives away. When you see that your efforts are useless and being countered by rules from your own side and when you get back and see that your efforts are not appreciated, it is no wonder that there are psychological problems.

    A war must be an effort by ALL of the people, not just a few volunteers. Everyone should have some skin in the game and make some sacrifices, otherwise it isn’t a war and we might as well just go play checkers someplace quiet and wait for the enemy to come overwhelm us. If you are capable, you should actively participate. If you are not capable (physically or due to age) there are other ways to contribute and support the effort. So, yes. I am in favor of a draft, IF we go to war. When there is a draft, the powers that be (government and congress) will have to be more serious about their decisions. Now they can just go home, pretend nothing is happening, avoid making the hard decisions ….and thus we just drift aimlessly along into conflict after conflict with no resolution and no accountability for the people who put us there.

    War is NOT a spectator sport.

    Contrary to some people’s perception, some other of us do have flesh and blood in the mix. Two of my nephews are still currently in the Army. One other has been discharged and was a Ranger. We don’t know where he is, but we do know that he is very badly psychologically damaged. If we had been fighting a REAL war. One to WIN instead of appease public opinion, things may have worked out differently for him AND for the United States.

    My fear is that this latest political ploy by this current administration is going to be yet another halfway effort with no strategy. No end game. No chance to win and that it is going to result in more wasteful deaths, bleed money from our already crippled economy and do NOTHING to solve the problem.

    Half @ssed is not the way to do anything, much less fight a war.

  54. For a man who bemoaned the “negative liberties” in our Constitution, he’s certainly devoted a great deal of effort telling our enemies what he won’t do. That being said, I would not be the least surprised to find him as “insincere” on his foreign policy promises as he is on the domestic.

  55. Ryan Lizza just tweeted the new score in terms of countries bombed.

    Obama = 7
    Bush = 4.

    The Nobel Peace Prize may be holding Obama back from stretching out his lead.

  56. Our Generals and Admirals should call DBQ and take her expert military advice under consideration. Where would they be without the armchair warriors?

  57. Congress cannot declare war without being asked. They did pass the War Powers Act which allows the President to act on his own volition for 90 days before coming back to them. However, since the Obama administration is having a difficult time calling this war, I am not sure what power the President is operating under. Possibly authority under the Secretary of Education?

  58. I believe this war is illegal because Congress did not declare it. However, I would also be interested in a more detailed explanation of the basis for the contention that it violates international law (now I really wish I had taken the class when I was in law school). Additionally, I know that the famous anti-war activist David Swanson has published a book which I believe is entitled “War Is Illegal,” claiming that the Kellogg-Briand pact is still in force and that war is a violation of it. If Prof. Turley, or the members of his brain trust, or any commentators wish to comment or enlighten on any of the foregoing, it would be appreciated.

  59. Here’s the great political scientist himself pointing out yet another truism of the human condition and the reason for war along with Justice’s place in it:

    So that in the nature of man we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory.
    The first maketh man invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men’s persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name.
    Hereby it is manifest that, during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man against every man. For ‘war’ consisteth not in battle only or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known, and therefore the notion of ‘time’ is to be considered in the nature of war, as it is in the nature of weather. For as the nature of foul weather lieth not in a shower or two of rain but in an inclination thereto of many days together, so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting but in the known disposition thereto during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is ‘peace.’


    To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice and injustice are none of the faculties neither of the body nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his senses and passions. They are qualities that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thine distinct; but only that to be every man’s that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it. And thus much for the ill condition which man by mere nature is actually placed in; though with a possibility to come out of it, consisting partly in the passions, partly in his reason.

    The passions that incline men to peace are: fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them.

    ~Sir Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan,Chapter XIII

  60. “Just call him Mr. O’Bush”

    Maybe he could use it the next time he visits Ireland and proclaims his Irish heritage.

  61. Annie – “Jim22, DBQ has agreed that we should have a draft, she’s stated that in a different thread a couple of weeks ago. Go argue with her. You don’t want your loved ones to be subject to the draft? Our volunteer army will not be sufficient with the “REAL war” DBQ and Spinelli are calling for. It’s obvious you don’t care if our troops and veterans have the highest rates of PTSD and suicide ever. War mongers should be willing to send their own flesh and blood.”

    No you are wrong Annie, I do care, I’m more of an isolationist. I would like us to pull out of everywhere including Europe. It would be fun to watch all their socialist economies collapse when they actually would have to fund a military. They’ve shown in the past that they play so well with each other.

    Do you have anyone in the volunteer fire service? I guess I will have to ask this question before helping anyone with the volunteer fire dept. I belong to. Since, without any “skin in the game” why would I help them.

    Max, Again, where is code pink today? Where’s all the press footage of the “massive” demonstration which was about what? Let me know when the million man march forms against the chosen one.

    Annie, Good work on the name calling too. Well done in the deflecting dept. Lerner would be proud of you.

  62. http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/09/the-draft-aumfs-for-the-islamic-state-do-not-limit-congressional-authorization-on-ground-troops-or-geography-or-associated-forces/ “By Jack Goldsmith
    Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    The two most promising Islamic State AUMFs I have seen are the one sponsored by Representative Schiff and the one sponsored by Senator Kaine. Both drafts, in different ways, purport to limit the authorization for the President to use force against the Islamic State in at least three respects: (1) They authorize force only in Iraq and Syria, (2) They do not authorize ground troops (except for training or rescue situations, and the like), and (3) They do not authorize force against associated forces (though Kaine’s does if a certain report is filed).

    The draft AUMFs appear to be entirely ineffective in limiting congressional authorization to use force against the Islamic State in these three respects. The reason is that the limitations in the draft AUMFs, by their terms, apply only to the specific authorizations in the draft AUMFs. They do not affect Congress’s authorization of force under the 2001 AUMF. The Obama administration interprets the 2001 AUMF as an independent authorization of force against the Islamic State, and the 2001 AUMF does not contain any of the limitations. Assume that one of the draft AUMFs becomes law. If the President decides that he wants to use ground troops in combat against the Islamic State, or that he wants to use force against Islamic State in Lebanon, or that he wants to go after forces associated with the Islamic State, he can simply choose to base his action on the 2001 AUMF. And he could still maintain that Congress authorized the action despite the newer AUMFs.

    If Congress wants to limit its authorization of force as applied to the Islamic State concerning geography, ground troops, and associated forces, it must also specifically amend the 2001 AUMF to make plain that the 2001 AUMF itself does not authorize force against the Islamic State outside of Iraq and Syria, or against associated forces of the Islamic State, or involving ground troops against the Islamic State. (I note that the Schiff AUMF sunsets the 2001 AUMF after 18 months, and thus would eliminate all independent authorizations under the 2001 AUMF 18 months after the new Islamic State AUMF comes in to force.)

  63. Jim22, so if one’s called a war monger it’s name calling? Where were you when we were being called “cultists” daily? Talk about thin skin. So it appears you are not a war monger, but you are mistaken in thinking our volunteer army can handle any more long protracted wars. Your isolationism isn’t influencing those who are engaging in war. Maybe you should write them a letter?

  64. “DBQ has agreed that we should have a draft, she’s stated that in a different thread a couple of weeks ago. ”

    You forgot the important part, or left it off purposely to distort what I have said. I favor a draft….. IF we are going to declare a war or go to war. IF. A draft will force our so called leaders to be very serious about their decisions and make them accountable for those decisions.


    If stating that IF are forced to go to war or IF we choose to go to war we must fight to win makes me a warmonger in your eyes. I can live with that. :-)

  65. What about those five ME ‘partners’ each footing 1/6 of the cost of this war? Especially if it lasts for years. They’re richer than God, they can afford it, we can’t.

  66. I think Hendrix’s Manic Depression was one of his underappreciated songs. The words and the melody just paired so well. I’ve read a couple books on Jimi. It never said he was diagnosed manic depressive but he certainly had many of the symptoms. Maybe he self diagnosed, he certainly self medicated.

  67. “What about those five ME ‘partners’ each footing 1/6 of the cost of this war? Especially if it lasts for years. They’re richer than God, they can afford it, we can’t.”

    So there is a God when you want to justify spending other people’s money? And speaking of oil money; how does your position square with the whole climate change debate?

  68. There have been so many creative artists who were/are manic depressive, or bipolar. They do some of their best work during manic phases. Unfortunately, the vast majority of manic depressives aren’t creative, some are just dull/normal people who just spew drivel during their manic episodes. I had a coworker like that when I was a juvenile probation officer. Nobody wanted to be near him when he was in a manic phase. The problem is many don’t want to take their prescribed meds because they enjoy the rush of the manic cycles.

  69. I’m agnostic Olly. I’m invoking him only on the chance he exists. Why should we pay for a war we don’t want? IF and thats a big IF, there was a REAL threat from that group we never heard of, then it’s warranted and like LeeJ, I reluctantly think the President made the correct choice in striking them. I don’t understand your concern about suggesting that the five ME partners share in the cost. What are you, their accountant? As for discussing climate change, huh? Why go off topic of this thread? I think we’re discussing something quite important here. What do YOU think about the air war on ISIS? No opinions to share?

  70. DBQ, I love watching you swat the crazy flies buzzing around you. You are the sultan of swat! LOL! Some things never change do they, just the names, nothing else.

  71. leej, Getting testy. We are all PAINFULLY aware Obama is our President and an increasing majority don’t like it. Do we have to like it??? And come on, he’s your guy. Don’t be ashamed. Hell, I voted for him once. I have enough self esteem to admit I screwed up.

  72. How are the 4:21 and 4:27 comments in any way substantive and on topic with this blog post? They sound very much like very nasty ad hominem attacks.

  73. The military will never want to go to war with a CinC that won’t go all in. They will of course follow the orders they are given but would prefer to do what they do best. I supported my son going into the service after 9/11 but would not support that now. This guy has done nothing that would instill confidence among the troops that he will trust his military commanders.

  74. The destination of this path is predictable.

    The use of nuclear weapons is predictable.

    OVERPOPULATION is the problem.

    For America, the term is immigration.

    Science demonstrates the fatal course of overpopulation for mankind.

    John B. Calhoun –

    “The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when all available space is taken and all social roles filled, competition and the stresses experienced by the individuals will result in a total breakdown in complex social behaviors,

    ultimately resulting in the demise of the population.”

    Calhoun saw the fate of the population of mice as a metaphor for the potential fate of man. He characterized the social breakdown as a “second death”, with reference to the “second death” mentioned in the Biblical book of Revelation 2:11. His study has been cited by writers such as Bill Perkins as a warning of

    the dangers of the living in an “increasingly crowded and impersonal world”.

    John B. Calhoun (May 11, 1917 – September 7, 1995) was an American ethologist and behavioral researcher noted for his studies of population density and its effects on behavior. He claimed that the bleak effects of overpopulation on rodents were a grim model for the future of the human race. During his studies, Calhoun coined the term “behavioral sink” to describe aberrant behaviors in overcrowded population density situations and “beautiful ones” to describe passive individuals who withdrew from all social interaction.

  75. “you guys realize that it will take about a year to ramp up to a full-time draft.”

    Yes. However, IF we are at war, and given that all males have to register now for the Selective Service,….we already have a jump on the system

    “Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces. ”

    Note: I’m not saying I want a draft. Only that if the country is really serious about going to war and not just throwing away some volunteer’s lives in a half way pretend war, then a draft will show if we are serious or if we are just playing around.

    I’m guessing that Obama and Congress is not really serious, but to institute a draft is a huge thing. Psychologically as well as logistically.

    War is a deadly, serious business and IF we are going to go to war…..then go in to WIN.

  76. Anonymously yours, you have had two more comments deleted under the civility rule. I have looked at the other comments objected to in this thread and I do not see other clear violations.

  77. Annie,

    Not at least with what I have been able to learn about these parties. Just gotta remember there is no fundamental right to marry stated in the constitution. It was loosely interpreted. Kinda like that, civility is a concept, not in the constitution. So it’s whatever Jon wants it to be.

  78. DBQ – I want a universal draft – men and women. No screwing around. Women want equal rights, they have an equal right to die for this country.

  79. I agree Paul!

    Women and men should be both drafted if we get to that situation. While I don’t think that all women should be put into combat situations…..and neither should all men……because men and women are just not interchangeable (physically or mentally), I think that there are many valuable positions that can be filled by putting the person (be it male or female) into the job that suits them best. [ As an aside, during the Vietnam War (1968), I was heavily requited by the Air Force as the scores on some tests I took indicated that I should be an aviation navigator. I was all ready to join and pretty excited about it too, and then they found out that I am a woman and took back their offer.]

    With our high-tech and computerized military, perhaps women “can” and should take a more active combat role. I would leave THAT issue up the the military commanders as they know best and keep the social engineers out of it.

    While we are at it….I’m also in favor of bringing back something like the Civilian Conservation Corps. Get those idle young men and women off of the streets. Get them to do something productive. Learn a trade. Earn their keep!!!!!

  80. Paul and DBQ, The IDF is a people’s army and the Israeli’s know how to fight wars. Their reality is different than ours but their male/female everyone serves is righteous. I think I could get behind that type system here.

  81. AY wrote: “… civility is a concept, not in the constitution. So it’s whatever Jon wants it to be.”

    Civility is not that hard to understand.

    From the Institute for Civility in Government:

    Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored.

    And civility begins with us.


  82. Nick, Paul and DBQ,
    I was interviewed by the Navy Times back in 1980 after I got to my first ship. I believed then and believe now that two years (min) of military service should be required out of high school. If anything, they will learn a little humility before heading off to college.

  83. Paul Schulte wrote: “Women want equal rights, they have an equal right to die for this country.”

    I think women make up just over 7% of Marines. At least on a voluntary basis, not many women are fighting for equal representation in the Marine Corp.

    Perhaps we should all acknowledge that there really is such a thing as Gender Diversity, and it is a good thing not a bad thing.

  84. david – I have no problem with the fine women who already serve in the armed forces. However, I think all men and women should serve if there is to be a draft. The draft should be universal and be for at least 3 years active service.
    One of the problems with Vietnam was that it was draftees who ended up there because they were short-timers. Enlistees had three years so most of them got assignments elsewhere or more training, schools, etc. This way, everybody has the same chance of being a target.

  85. Thanks David I am laughing and am talking with a friend of mine in New Zealand. She is looking at the blog and giggled at what you said….thanks….

  86. slohrss29 Thanks Justice Holmes. Glad you see it. Like I keep saying, if there was real concern, Turkey could blow them out like a candle. We’ll even sell Turkey more military hardware, so the defense industry still turns an ugly profit.

    Turkey just got their 40 hostages back from ISIS. You really think they didn’t make some kind of a deal not to go after ISIS or get involved?

  87. Olly, I like the concept OF 2 years mandatory service after high school, but wouldn’t we have too many in the service? I see Obama gave a salute to his Marine guards w/ a coffee cup in his hand. Disrespectful. But, I give him a pass. The Secret Service say he and the entire Obama family are very respectful, genuine, and just plain nice. That goes a long way w/ me. You judge people by how they treat those who serve them. We taught our daughter, if a boyfriend is rude to a waitress, DUMP HIM.

  88. leej, Getting testy. We are all PAINFULLY aware Obama is our President and an increasing majority don’t like it. Do we have to like it??? And come on, he’s your guy. Don’t be ashamed. Hell, I voted for him once. I have enough self esteem to admit I screwed up.

    I voted for him, not getting testy just was pointing out the obvious but what seems to be ignored by a lot of the right wing: President Obama is the President of the US, not just of those who voted for him or those who, while disliking a number of things he has done, actions he has taken, appreciate many of the things he has done like the ACA, auto industry back, recession ended, housing rebounded as a start.
    I do not recall the people who disliked Bush saying “He is not my president” I see this all the time about Mr. Obama (not just here but thruout the internet.)

  89. Nick – it is not a question of too many in the service, we have plenty of places to put them. We would just reopen all the bases we closed down.

    Concerning your daughter and her boyfriend relationships, I was just telling my cousin how I used to spend extra time buttering up the parents of the girls I dated so I never got static from them. They were always supportive of my dating their daughter. The daughter might not be, but the parents were.:)

  90. leej Are you kidding me??? In Madison I would hear “Bush is not my President” daily. Don’t you remember Hollywood people saying they were moving out of the US when he was reelected. They didn’t but I distinctly remember Garafolo and Alec Baldwin, maybe Sarandon? Come on, leej. I sense you got that race card in your hand and you’re thinking about playing that trump card. Am I right?

  91. leejcaroll – if it makes you feel any better, I voted for John McCain the first two times he ran for office. Then I learned my lesson. Since then I have voted for Mickey Mouse who would be a much better Senator. I have also voted for Mickey for President. You have to admit that Minnie would make an exceptional First Lady. And where better to take a working vacation then Disneyland or Disneyworld.

  92. “but what seems to be ignored by a lot of the right wing: President Obama is the President of the US, not just of those who voted for him or those who, while disliking a number of things he has done, actions he has taken, appreciate many of the things he has done like the ACA, auto industry back, recession ended, housing rebounded as a start.”

    A person who is the President of the whole United States would not be making comments that are dismissive, divisive or derogatory to those who DIDN’T vote for him. Bitter clingers?. Holder and Obama with their “my people” mindset. Pitting people against each other. Dreaming up wars on women. Wars on whatever is convenient to keep political power. Obama doesn’t respect the heartland of the Country nor the blue collar workers. He has even said that he was writing off white men.

    As to your last list of accomplishments, I don’t have the time or energy to try to explain to you that the ACA is a train wreck, the American auto industry is not back. GM is in bad bad shape and I would be telling my clients to sell the stock if they hadn’t already done so. The recession is not ended the only thing keeping us from massive inflation or even hyper inflation is the gyrations of the Federal Reserve. It is a house of cards ready to fall at the next failed Treasury auction. Housing across the US has not rebounded. Only in select areas is there anything resembling a normal housing market. Construction is stalled.

    Besides. These are digressions from the topic of the post, which is the President, Executive powers vs Congressional powers as it pertains to his current actions in Syria.

  93. Nick – I was willing to help kickfund the ticket and help pack Baldwin’s bag but he wouldn’t leave. He talked the talked, he couldn’t walk the walk. Obama is the President, he is not ‘my’ President since I do not own him and I did not vote for him. I just hope the country survives him. I felt the same way about Jimmy “I am an anti-Semite” Carter.

  94. I like the comment of Leejcarol just two up from here. I am glad that neither I nor my half blind guy for whom I give guidance at the polls never voted for either Bush. In a prior life I voted for Ike. When he left office he warned us of the Military Industrial Complex. No one in his own party listened. Those that did left his party. Kennedy got us into Nam. Bush invaded the wrong Eye country. Obama bashing is the worst I have seen. Some bashed Nixon. There was a phrase or campaign slogan back in 1972 which has resonance now:
    “Don’t change Dicks in the middle of a screw. Vote for Nixon in ’72.”

    For the war hawks maybe McCain will run again. I do not think that Hillary is a hawk. She is not a dove. If Hillary wins we will have her experience and the experience of her husband. Not bad. In two years we may already be in the middle of this new war in the middle east. I will always be in favor of peace. I advocate that we bar all Americans from travelling to any country in the middle east or to Nigeria or Somalia, and also Afghanistan. As to Obama I will say what many of his friends in high school said when he was in the middle of his first date: “Barry! Pull out now like your father should have!”

  95. Nick, it is off topioc but I will reply, I googled celebrities who said they would leave the US cause Bush President. Only found one ultra rightwing site who said Baldwin only one said would leave the US. Since Baldwin has repeatedly shown himself to be someone who has psychological issues I do not call an anecdote about one crazy person to be emblematic of wholesale He isnot my president. Just read the comments on Huckabee;s page on FB for instance. Continual he is not my president, he is a muslim, he is not American, etc etc etc.
    I have never pulled the race card and it is interesting that you are pulling it by trying to ensnare me in a racist defense of the president or rationale for the hatred.
    It took e a long time to accept racism is a big part of the hatred for this president but it is more then that. This country has become so polarized like I do not ever recall seeing before. We used to be revered thruout the world for the fact that, no matter how acrimonious an election, we got behind the winner and accepted the person who won as the president and legitimate holder of that office. It has to do with respect for the will of the voters and the office.
    I am amazed at your vitriol in writing for I know you to be a really nice person in ‘real life”

  96. BarkinDog – I voted in the 1972 election and I did not hear the following.

    “Don’t change Dicks in the middle of a screw. Vote for Nixon in ’72.”

    Could it be because in 1972 George McGovern was the Democratic candidate?

    If I am missing some subtle joke please explain it, because I am at a loss to make a connection here.

  97. Darren Smith: “I have to wonder if there was not some Back Channel assent from President Assad to what is happening militarily.”

    My understanding is that the airstrike kills of terrorists in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and now Syria have been conducted diplomatically in this way.

    Although local governments have at times publicly denounced US kills on their territory, none – as far as I know – have used their standing as violated sovereigns to pursue the case against us further. As far as I know, too, Syria didn’t fire on any US aircraft, and if Assad stood down his defenses with an incursion by an ostensibly inimical US, that’s telling. Obviously, I can’t cite to anything to confirm suspected secret diplomacy other than the reports that the US “informed” Syria of the airstrikes.

    Darren Smith: “I had thought of the Piracy Clauses in the constitution that could be used as being an interesting approach.

    Piracy is specific to the “high seas”. The law of nations part is more apt. But also unnecessary – see next.

    Darren Smith: “Yet for better or worse I believe the president has the statutory authority to initiate these actions from our legal system.”

    The US has been seriously engaged on counter-terrorism with Islamic terrorists since the Reagan administration (Beirut bombing) and with the al Qaeda movement, which includes ISIS, since the Clinton administration.

    Question: What legal authority did Clinton use to conduct his AQ-focused (in other words, not Taliban-focused) airstrikes and other CT activity in Afghanistan and Sudan?

    Answer: PL 107-40 (2001) states as premise that “the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”. In other words, counter-terror authority “under the Constitution” wasn’t issued in reaction to 9/11. For Congress, counter-terror authority was already in place for Bush’s predecessors and inherited by Bush and Obama.

    A Congressional war authorization is needed to go to war with a sovereign national actor like the Taliban and Saddam. It’s not needed to confront non-state terrorists. The model cases for circumventing Congress for war against a sovereign national actor are Obama’s Libya action and Clinton’s Balkans action.

    How we approach a sovereign whom we’re not at war with to attack terrorists on its territory is interesting and calls for at least practical diplomatic action, but it’s a separate issue than a war authorization. Of course, if the violated sovereign goes to war with us, then going to war with it recalls the need for a war authorization.

    Darren Smith: “Internationally it might be different. Yet, if there was an agreement from the Syrian government to attack the Islamic State the violation of international law would be rather moot.”


    Darren Smith: “I still believe whenever possible the president should receive authorization from Congress at least to remove the taint of unilateralism. It could have been done in this case.”

    Again, is anti-ISIS counter-terrorism and a ‘war’ only in the political and rhetorical senses? Or is anti-ISIS a war in the legal sense?

    From a legal standpoint, I fail to see the difference with Obama’s anti-ISIS actions in Syria from Reagan’s anti-Soviet ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ (which carried forward Carter’s anti-Soviet Afghanistan policy, fyi) and Clinton’s anti-AQ actions in Afghanistan. Except I don’t recall that Clinton “informed” the Taliban. (Maybe he did, which would help explain why Clinton’s missile strikes harmed AQ not a bit.)

    If we want to take President Obama to task for abuse of war powers, the Libya intervention – which was based ostensibly on humanitarian R2P but then stretched to take down a sovereign – is the case to do it. Not anti-ISIS, as long as Syria and Iraq don’t decide to play good host like Taliban did with AQ.

  98. Jon,

    Am I to understand that a reference to a word or an acknowledgment of the use of a word that would be considered in violation of the banned words in the civility section, without saying the word or referencing the word is now sufficient grounds for deletion of a comment is now your addition to the civility rules?

    Do you think that your new policy would pass constitutional muster? Don’t you think that the policy is void for vagueness? Though you may have a rational basis for its implementation, is it capable of being equally enforced?

    Do you think a court would strike this down under the long standing void for vagueness doctrine?

    Am I correct that you do still teach constitutional law when you’re not on your sabbatical?

  99. leej, Vicious? These are very tough times for faithful Dems like yourself. I am direct and honest in my writing and in my personal interactions. I said some very direct and honest stuff about my family when we met. I say direct and honest stuff here. I realize leej, I come from a different world than yourself. There is the male/female thing. But, I worked in the justice system. I had GOOD friends cross examine me on the stand and let me tell you, it was sometimes EXPONENTIALLY tougher than ANYTHING I have said to you. Afterward we go have a beer. So, combine your disappointment w/ how things are going in this country, w/ our different backgrounds, and the dynamic is fraught w/ danger. I could tell the race thing was on your mind. If the way I said it was offensive to you, I apologize. But let me tell you what you would have seen on my face if we were discussing this in person. You would have seen my eyes smiling. Having met me, you can picture that look I think. There was no malice. 80% of all communication is nonverbal. So, here’s my promise. I won’t bust chops like I did w/ you. Maybe on a non political thread, but not on a thread like this. I ask that you realize you can be defensive about Obama and how things are going. If we both do that, we should be cool. I want us to be cool. I like you. I liked your book. I am going to put it in one of those little free library boxes in Madison for someone else to read. I spread my wives book across the country leaving it in hotels, coffee shops, etc.

  100. Anonymously yours: “Bush used the UN to go around congress.”

    For which mission?

    That didn’t happen for Operation Iraqi Freedom, if that’s what you mean.

    PL 107-243 was passed October 16, 2002. UNSCR 1441 was passed November 8, 2002.

    Moreover, Bush went to Congress for PL 107-243 and the UN for UNSCR 1441 even though, technically, neither was needed since the multiple US statutes and UNSC resolutions for the Gulf War ceasefire already provided full authorization for US-led military enforcement of Iraq’s compliance with the UN mandates.

    Standing US law – PL 105-388 (1998), which was reiterated in PL 107-243 – also authorized the post-war peace operations in Iraq, which was followed by UNSCR 1511 (2003).

    In terms of law and policy, OIF was as solid as it gets.

  101. Ross S. Heckmann,

    I’m squeezing out nebulous memories from International Law and not bothering to look up the text like I ought to, but IIRC, one, Kellogg-Briand is superseded by the UN, two, it was toothless during its prominence, and three, even as guide, it doesn’t disapprove war in all manifestation. Defense and other pretext are allowed.

  102. Nick, I never even thght of the race issue til you brought it up. I rarely go to that old canard.
    I can be defensive because although sometimes the rap gainst is legitimate, it is just as often illegitimate, an across the board hatred of him and denial of anything good out of this administration.
    I like you too (Honestly, I was a little afraid to meet you, afraid you would be like the person I often read here but you turned out to be a really sweet guy ((*_*)) and yes without the expressions, tone and other nonverbal cues it can be hard to interpret how something is meant. (: and there is often a rough and tumble here; maybe its just me but it does seem it has gotten rougher and more tumbling, as it were, in the past few, maybe months.
    That’s cool you share your wife’s books and now mine. I appreciate that and I am sure she does too.
    We’re cool, no worries.

  103. Dust Bunny Queen: “Under this rationale once an authority has been granted it can be used almost in perpetuity by future presidents.

    Of course – and that’s exactly as it should be. Our laws, including war authorizations, don’t die with each passing of a presidential administration because our country and the world don’t reset with each passing of a presidential administration.

    For example, all of President Clinton’s military actions with Iraq were conducted under the legal authority of PL 102-1 (1991), ie, the Gulf War authorization, “to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678” which “[a]uthorizes Member States … to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area.

    Obviously, PL 102-1 pre-dated the Clinton administration.

    PL 102-1 was live for Bush’s Iraq enforcement, too. In fact, if Bush had not gone to Congress and the UN in 2002, he already held all the authority needed to use the military to enforce the UN mandates with Iraq, authority inherited from Clinton, who inherited it from HW Bush.

    Dust Bunny Queen: “At what point do these ‘authorizations’ expire?”

    When Congress repeals them. More often, a war authorization is practically inactivated – goes dormant – because the elements of its authorization are gone.

    However, it is plausible that if a war authorization is not repealed and the elements of the war authorization are reactivated, then the war authorization would reactivate, too. Eg, if Iraq the nation became a threat again and/or if the UNSC passed a relevant resolution again, then PL 107-243 would be active again.

  104. Oops. Dust Bunny Queen: “Under this rationale once an authority has been granted it can be used almost in perpetuity by future presidents. – forgot to close the 1st DBQ quote.

  105. LeeJ, at 6:59. Sure they made a deal. But ISIS is fighting the Turkish Kurd problem for them. Been a hot war between the Turkish gov and Kurd population for quite some time. It’s to Turkey’s benefit ISIS beat down the Kurds. Turkey does have to walk somewhat of a fine line. It’s all about vested interests over there, and we need to have no part of it.

  106. RossHeckmann,

    You’re welcome.

    The thing to keep in mind, which was the main takeaway from my International Law class, is that IL authority rests on sovereign national authority in the acquiescence and – when volitional submission lacks – the enforcement.

  107. Annie,

    I don’t think “skin in the game” is the right criteria. The right criteria is “you want war? PAY FOR IT. The War Tax should be a 10% increase in your tax rate (wouldn’t want to see the deficit grow, now would we.).” I bet that will help them make up their minds.

    Also, the House, who controls the purse, had no problem voting innumerable times on ACA and they are very creative in defunding ACA and other Obama programs. Let the cowardly weasels come back, debate, and vote on funding the bombing.

  108. the obama corporation is determined to get their hands on that syrian pipeline that runs thru turkey there is no isis and their propaganda is ridiculous hilarious how isis is only taking over the towns that run along the syrian- turkey border the same border the pipeline is being built under.

  109. Dust Bunny,

    I’m not satisfied with your support of a draft. You’ve got to put your MONEY on the line. let’s insist that It will cost ALL of us to get this war. Let’s see if you, and all Americans, are willing to put your money on the line.

    Sorry, Annie. I think it is far too easy for us to sacrifice others sons and daughters – all while voicing deep regret, of course.

  110. people like annie and randy should be deported.
    Rotting festering boils of partisan politics that should be lanced

  111. Groty: “This reminds me of Bill Clinton’s 1998 attacks on Iraq all over again. On the day before his impeachment vote set to start, he began sending missiles into Iraq and bombarded it with missiles for the next four days. It was called Operation Desert Fox but some critiques said it was like the plot from the movie “Wag the Dog”.”

    The trigger for ODF was Saddam’s continued failure to comply with the UN mandates as demonstrated by the UNSCOM Butler Report. 4 years later, the trigger for OIF was Saddam’s continued failure to comply with the UN mandates as demonstrated by the UNMOVIC Cluster Document.

    Groty: “At any rate, after being bombarded with missiles Saddam Hussein decided to challenge the “no fly zones”. That gave Clinton grounds to keep bombing Iraq almost daily for the next two years. ”

    It was counter-fire against Iraq’s anti-aircraft fire.

    Groty: “There were no “boots on the ground”, so Clinton defenders sad it was not a war.”

    The no-fly zone enforcing UNSCR 688, ODF enforcing UNSCR 687, and the rest of Clinton’s military actions with Saddam used the authority of PL 102-1, the Gulf War authorization. The actions were practically different, but from a legal standpoint, bombing Iraq was indistinguishable from either ground action.

  112. If we are against the war then let us begin showing our opposition. Shut Down the War or We Will Shut Down The Government! I say that we should set a date for say October 1 and have a March On Washington. Block bridges, block mass transit trains, stop traffic, block the entrances to Congress on Capital Hill. Let us have another May Day like we did in 1971. Have your kids wear black armbands to school starting tomorrow. Stop paying taxes. Vote your Congressman or Congresswoman out of office. Tell your Senator to pound sand. Do not let your kid join the army. No more of this: “All the way with LBJ” crap. Tell Obama he is an Obumbo and to pull out now like his father should have. Start barking!

  113. Part of the problem is a two-party system in need of major overhaul. The Framers designed a bi-cameral system (House & Senate) not a bi-partisan system. Having said that the Framers would likely have supported a two-party system ONLY if it created healthy checks & balances and a healthy competition for ideas – a counter balance to absolute power.

    Today’s system prevents both checks & balances and healthy competition. Party labels actually create party-line votes: a politician will be punished by his own party for voting independently on behalf of the citizens in his state.

    What if we eliminate the political parties entirely and have “two-sides for individual issues”? A politician could support equal marriage rights and reasonable gun rights representing the citizens in his state, not dictated to by his political party. This war vote result would likely be different in this system.
    Also more referendum ballots (voters create the priorities) and instant run-off voting may be worth debate.

  114. Me: “Standing US law – PL 105-388 (1998), which was reiterated in PL 107-243 – also authorized the post-war peace operations in Iraq, which was followed by UNSCR 1511 (2003).”

    Correction: PL 105-338 (1998), not PL 105-388.

  115. I read most of this thread a couple of times now and I understand the differences of opinion. Perhaps it is odd, but I find my self agreeing (or torn, take your pick) with a fair amount of both sides of the discussion. I agree that no ground war is worth the fight if not designed and provisioned to be won decisively and relatively quickly. I worry that we might no do that, possibly because we cannot with the resources we have today and impending RIF of some 80,000 military. I think we need the opinions and advice of some regular grunts.

    I said way earlier on this thread I was contacting veterans that I know or am acquainted with who served in 11B and 11C MOS’s (or equivalent USMC or Navy, who provides the combat medics for the USMC aka Corpsman, similar to the Army 68W MOS), and one 18C so far. And so far not one of them has said they’d support sending ground troops back in to Iraq or in to Syria. When I served back in the days of M48, M60, M113, M114, M551, et al., as a 63H, and filling a 63Z slot for about a year, I saw the work that the infantry soldiers and medics did, (and stood in awe of them) and I saw the impact of war on their equipment. Because of that, I consider their “vote” on go or no go with troops on the ground to be what should guide mine….and everyone else’s including Congress.

    I am convinced we are consulting the wrong people on whether the troops on the ground is a viable plan. I suggest Congress invite a few hundred combat veterans to testify, and I mean the ones who have not already formed a negative agenda and narrative and taken public stances. Just ask the regular men and women who’ve served, in ground combat roles, including medical, from 1959 through today and see what the polling determines.

    I realize I am naive in such thinking. I just think we’ve screwed up in Libya, then Iraq, and shortly by picking sides in Syria that make no sense…e.g., we should have no confidence in any of the “rebels”…my gut feeling is that we lack a sufficient understanding of Arab cultures, tribal loyalties, and the fact that all of the rebel groups are essentially one and the same…e.g., we need to go with the strongest man standing in Syria…and that man is Assad.

  116. I should add that it is grotesquely naive of us to think we can fight a war with certain victory in mind without realizing that it requires “total war” in the vein of Gen Sherman’s march to the sea and subsequent actions in WWII. You cannot make not hitting “civilians” your priority….civilians are a “resource.” Before you can defeat the will to resist you must destroy the means to resist. And that is among the ugliest truths in the world. When you ask a solider to patrol and command totally a piece of territory, all the while insisting he obey rules of engagement that enables ambush after ambush, you are shoveling sand against a tide.

    In short, is “total war” something we can stomach? If not, stop all talk about ground troops.

  117. Aridog, Great comments. What this mission is looking like is the LBJ micromanaging bombing raids, Hopefully Obama doesn’t micromanage while sitting on the toilet like LBJ.

  118. Nick – no Eddie Haskell. I was raised to be polite. It just carried over into dating. I saw dating as strategic rather than tactic.:)

  119. docmadison – why 10% for a war tax? why not 1%? why not 5%? Why not cut all non-essential federal offices and jobs?

  120. BarkinDog – if your kid is over 18 they get to do what they want about the Armed Services. And the Armed Services have been great for my students I have always supported them if they wanted to go.

  121. Aridog – let’s just start by saying that Obama’s plan is not really a viable plan. If he wants to win he is going to have to put boots on the ground and a lot of them.

  122. Aridog,

    The War on Terror is a different kind of war, though.

    Your Civil War and WW2 examples point to a traditional state-v-state war with distinct stages where we compel submission of the (structural if not legitimate) sovereign by any means necessary, establish domination of the conquered state, secure and stabilize the space, then transition to building the peace.

    The problem is the War on Terror has only occasionally involved a state-v-state war where we’ve attempted to apply a traditional sovereign model of war. In both cases, it was supplanted by a 4GW counter-terror/counter-insurgency guerilla war. In the 3rd case – Libya – we disastrously skipped the post-war altogether.

    In any kind of war, the requirement for dominating and securing the space is establishing as the ‘strong horse’ and reducing the enemy to the ‘weak horse’. The challenge for the War on Terror is whether ‘total war’ is the only way we can respond to 4GW hybrid guerilla war.

    Mismatched RoE is a secondary problem.

    Traditionally, RoE is liberal in war and progressively conservative in the post-war as we compete for dominance, secure the space, then convert to more of a policing function within the community, and then pull back in pace with the rise of the local government.

    The primary problem is borders.

    An asymmetric disadvantage has been borders that confine us but not the enemy. In the Civil War and WW2, we were not constrained by borders. Ever since we pulled back to the DMZ in Korea, however, we have imposed border restrictions on ourselves that have not restricted the enemy. The enemy adapted in Vietnam to take advantage of the border difference. The non-sovereign, transnational, border-hopping terrorists have built on the asymmetric advantage. We need to adapt, too.

    Security is the foundation for peace. Peace-building RoE is not the problem, but it only works once we’ve secured the space. We’ll only be able to secure space effectively when we solve our asymmetric border disadvantage.

  123. It’s so interesting to see all the Democrats who decried wars under bush suddenly be all for executive wars now that its one of their own doing the killin”. Yes sir ree–you guys are so much better than those red state folks who were so bloodthirsty under Bush!

    Deep state American could not exist without the willingness of citizens to look at war as if it were some kind of sporting event. In this case, red team bad, blue team good! Are we ever going to question how this attitude is working for people in this nation and around the world?

    Interesting also is that ISIS could be cut off from a lot of funding using air strikes of the oil fields. But consider the lilies of those fields. They sow not, yet they are protected at all costs because they sure do reap alot of profit.

    Human life is cheap but oil is a commodity worthy of protection. Oh Well, this is Obama’s new America. A place where he alone determines the very meaning of the word, “war” and gets to wage it whenever he wishes. “Liberal” Democrats, I promise you, you will rue your unthinking, unfeeling support of a party dictator.

    I call on you to wake up and stop this support.

  124. Jill I walk on the eastside of Madison, the most liberal area in a very liberal town. When Bush was President w/o exaggeration, 30-40% of the houses had signs decrying Bush and war. There are virtually none now. Hypocrisy to the highest level.

  125. Harold Koh, minion to Secretary of State Clinton and Obama, said that when it was time, it would become clear that Obama’s laws lined up like special types of molecules in water. He said that people couldn’t see it now (2010) but they would.

    Very true. Obama has set himself up as judge, jury and executioner w/drones. Likewise, he will define war, make it and no one may stop him. Again, he is judge, jury and executioner.

    Why “liberals” think this is fabulous state of affairs is a study in human depravity and the power of propaganda.

  126. Why “liberals” think this is fabulous state of affairs is a study in human depravity and the power of propaganda.

    It is indeed, Jill.

    Hypocrisy abounds in the land of the not-as-free-as-many-seem-to-believe.

  127. Clarifying and giving Jill credit:

    Jill said, “Why “liberals” think this is fabulous state of affairs is a study in human depravity and the power of propaganda.”

    It is indeed, Jill.

    Hypocrisy abounds in the land of the not-as-free-as-many-seem-to-believe.

  128. Eric….you gave a very thoughtful and cogent response to my comments. Most of it I agree with. Asymmetrical terrorist warfare is different, but we have had experience with it…Vietnam to be specific….given the hisotyr of it 1946 through 1972. We stumbled at the strategic level in Washington, but the soldiers in the filed, the grunts, did not falter tactically….they did all they could with the restrictions laid upon them…ie., those “borders” you cite, of one kind or another. In essence, with v-e-r-y few exceptions, the troops on the ground never lost a battle, not even DakTo and Hill 875. We lost that war in Washington DC and in Paris, France. Read the memoirs (often revised) of PAVN General Vo Nguyen Giap for a neat summary.

    In asymmetrical war there are no borders, only enemies to be found and killed off, in totem….e.g., every last one of them, man, woman and child. Americans, thankfully, generally do not have a stomach for such things often, but we need to have it when necessary. I am dead serious…if we do not have the stomach for total war, then do not talk about troops on the ground ever again anywhere. We have JDAM accuracy for bombs now of +/- 30 meters…e.g. 93 feet in diameter…eg., aim for dwelling Y full of bad guys and you stand an even chance of hitting dwelling X and Z full of innocents. You will always have collateral damages and to deny it is the ultimate of punk thinking. Just admit that those collateral losses are potential future enemy assets. Once dead it is done.

    In the meantime, those of us who still are active in one way or another, even retired, such as I am in my 90%+ Muslim Arab community, need to be good examples and we need to reach out to those who might not accept it initially. I am in the middle of such a rebuilding of relationships with a family from Yemen as we speak. An 8 year old girl who knows me and our dogs well, and loves to play with them, asked me to call her father and explain to him how I respect their beliefs and make sanitary facilities available to every kid who comes in the yard and touches the dog(s)….soapy handy-wipes, clean towels, and hot/cold running water, plus gloves for those who want them. It took a while for me to convince him that my object wasn’t to provide general toiletry to the kids, whose families provided it themselves, but to assure that when they left my yard, our place, they had observed ordinary practices, such as washing their hands after playing. What they did between my place and elsewhere is something I can’t control. I have a lot of experience in “going native” in various locales dating back 40+ years. I am no less “American” but I am one who tries to be welcoming, over there or right back here.

    Where I disagree may be immaterial…except that I consider “total war” to be the only kind of warfare to apply to risking our soldiers and their blood. I don’t care about borders per se, only about who is occupying what and where…with the goal of killing them all, every last man, woman and child. That’s harsh, but resources are resource and when we play semantics with what a resource is we lose. Nothing is more peaceful than a battlefield after one side is defeated and dead or gone.

    At this point in time, I am for forthrightly declaring we are going to support Assad and the Syrian Army, in any way necessary short of troops, in order to defeat ISIS/ISIL/AQ and all the others et al., and let his soldiers execute the total war with coalition air cover. Assad is the enemy we know…we will need him to kill of the enemies we do not know…but only think we do. WWII would have been quite different were it not for the massive on rush of the Red Army.

  129. @happypappies

    Yeah, see what I mean about timing. All those people having to run like heck to get away from these rascals. We should have already been bombing them. These ISIS people need bombing! Ducking and covering keeps them out of other assorted meanness. Hmmm. That makes me think of an Irish Poem!

    Bombe’s Are Just Desserts???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    All those radical Sons of Islam
    Love to kill infidels with a bomb.
    But I doubt that, if when,
    The bomb’s falling on them,
    They will still carry on with aplomb.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  130. Paul….you cannot win a war that you do not control the ground at the end. We won the battles, even Gen Giap admits that.

  131. A corollary to my last comment is simply that you can’t win a war you have no intention of holding the ground afterwards….unless you just defeat everyone in sight and get the heck out of town. They will regroup and come at you again, rinse and repeat.

    Apply to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, et al…and now Syria, where we can at least go support the strong man in power instead of maybe, if come or so, sponsoring the weak men we really do not know at all. The difference between most of these groups is like that between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. No more 12+ year wars with absurd rules of engagement and no end plan in sight.

  132. Nick – I am sure there are already some gay pilots dropping ordinance. And on the ‘waxing’ is that like in I had my chest waxed?

  133. Aridog – the high country is the place to be in any firefight. Should things go south, I am heading to South Mountain where there are plenty of places to hide out and I am hoping other ‘savvy people’ will head. Kesselring held off the Allies in the mountains forever.

  134. Aridog – Alexander the Great was smart enough not to get into a war in Afghanistan. However, we never learned from the Russians.

  135. Paul,

    I guess you don’t understand the idea that the cost of the war should be borne by ALL Americans. Firing a bureaucrat will just cause you great joy. I suggest a 10% surtax will get you and all Americans to consider war VERY seriously.

  136. docmadison – a 50% paycut by all government employees, including the President would make them take it very seriously.

  137. Annie, as you can see, they would rather your daughter make the sacrifice. God forbid their taxes increase and they had to make a sacrifice..

    Incredulously, Paul even advocates that your daughter take a 50% paycut.

    Makes you proud, doesn’t it.

  138. “The Real Reason We Are Bombing Syria”

    by Dennis J. Kucinich



    The administration’s response to the conjunction of this weekend’s People’s Climate March and the International Day of Peace?

    1) Bomb Syria the following day, to wrest control of the oil from ISIS which gained its foothold directly in the region through the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan funding and arming ISIS’ predecessors in Syria.

    2) Send the president to UN General Assembly, where he will inevitably give a rousing speech about climate and peace, while the destruction of the environment and the shattering of world peace is on full display 5,000 miles away.

    Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s foreign policy than funding groups that turn on the U.S. again and again, a neo-con fueled cycle of profits for war makers and destruction of ever-shifting “enemies.”

    The fact can’t be refuted: ISIS was born of Western intervention in Iraq and covert action in Syria. …

    There were alternatives. The U.S. and the international community could have contained and shrunk ISIS by cutting off its funds and its revenue from sale of oil on the black market. We could have looked to strike a deal with Syria and Iran.

    In foreign policy, the administration has failed. Congress has failed. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have passed the national checkbook to their patrons in the war contracting business. And passed the bill to future generations.

    The American people, who in 2008 searched for something redemptive after years of George W. Bush’s war, realize in 2014 that hope and change was but a clever slogan. It was used to gain power and to keep it through promoting fear, war, the growth of the National Security state, and an autumnal bonfire of countless billions of tax dollars which fall like leaves from money trees on the banks of the Potomac.

  139. I wonder whos going to rebuild those refineries and fields. OH WAIT…………….

  140. Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.
    George Orwell

    Definition of doublethink: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed….”- Orwell

    “For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known” Barack Obama 1/21/09

    “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child.
    That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”- Obama 2007

    “I recognize that the filibuster can be used for unfortunate purposes. However, I am also aware that the Founding Fathers established the filibuster as a means of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority — and that protection, with some changes, has been in place for over 200 years” – Senator Obama 2005

    “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. That is not who we are.” – Barack Obama 2007

    “If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.” – Joe Biden, 2006

    “This administration (Bush) acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security.” – Barack Obama 2007

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Obama 2006

    “I will also hold myself as President to a new standard of openness. Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former President wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the White House Counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so. It will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well grounded in the Constitution.
    Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.
    Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made.” Barack Obama

    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” – Adolf Hitler

    It is not truth that matters, but victory.
    Adolf Hitler

    How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
    Adolf Hitler

  141. ================================
    Hermann Göring during the Nuremberg trials:

    Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

    Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

    Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.


  142. “The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”- Winston Churchill

  143. The Kurds are sitting on an ocean of oil said Terry Gross’ interviewee today! American and European oil cartels are moving in. Jeez, i wonder if there’s a connection to this kinetic action by Obama? Nah–Obama is such a wonderful man. He won the Peace prize and he said it was wrong for one nation to invade and redraw the boundaries of other nations.

    Maybe the US isn’t a nation? That’s why we get to do it but no one else does. I’m sure that’s it! Yes, I am so happy that those who condemned Bush for going to war on false pretenses just can’t wait to support Obama in the same action. “All the shock with plenty of AWWWWW…”

  144. 113th CONGRESS, 2nd Session
    United States Library of Congress
    SJ 44
    Introduced in Senate
    September 17, 2014
    S. J. RES. 44
    To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
    September 17 (legislative day, September 16), 2014
    Mr. Kaine introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
    To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
    Whereas that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, is a terrorist organization committing daily acts of barbarity currently encompassing large portions of Syria and Iraq, and is a serious threat to the United States and the international community;
    Whereas ISIL’s violence is destructive of religious freedom, the equality of women, protections against genocide, principles of national sovereignty, freedom of expression, and other core human rights protected by international law;
    Whereas ISIL’s grisly execution of United States hostages, recruitment of United States citizens and others to serve as foreign fighters that threaten to return to the United States and other nations, and pledges to carry out additional acts of violence directly against the United States make it a threat of growing significance to the United States; and
    Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2169 (2014) and 2170 (2014) note that ISIL’s advancement is a major threat to Iraq’s future, condemn attacks by ISIL, reiterate international community support for Iraq’s security and territorial integrity, and emphasize the need for the international community to work together to help stabilize Iraq and combat ISIL: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the7E United States of America in Congress assembled,
    This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’.
    (a) In General. In order to protect the United States and other countries from terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and in order to protect individuals from acts of violence in clear contravention of international law and basic human rights, the President is authorized, as part of a multinational coalition, subject to the limitations in subsection (b)-
    (1) to use all necessary and appropriate force to participate in a campaign of airstrikes in Iraq, and if the President deems necessary, in Syria, to degrade and defeat ISIL; and
    (2) to provide military equipment and training to forces fighting ISIL in Iraq or Syria, including the Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, and other legitimate, appropriately vetted, non-terrorist opposition groups in Syria.
    (b) No Authorization for Use of Ground Forces or Force Against Associated Forces. The authorization in this section does not include-
    (1) authorization for the use of United States ground combat forces, except for the purposes set forth in subsection (a)(2) or as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed by ISIL, or for limited operations against high value targets; or
    (2) authorization for the use of force against forces associated with ISIL, unless such forces are identified in a report submitted under section 4 as individuals or organizations that are immediately and directly fighting alongside ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
    (c) Expiration. The authorization in this section shall expire on the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.
    (d) War Powers Resolution Requirements.-
    (1) Specific statutory authorization. Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
    (2) Applicability of other requirements. Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.
    The Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.
    Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, and every 90 days thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a list of those organizations or individuals immediately and directly fighting alongside ISIL for purposes of actions taken pursuant to this joint resolution. The list shall be maintained in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.
    SEC. 5. REPORTS.
    The President shall report to Congress every 90 days after enactment of this resolution regarding the progress of the effort against ISIL.
    Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as-
    (1) authorizing support for force in support of, or in cooperation with, the national government of Syria that was in power as of the date of the enactment of this resolution, or its security services; or
    (2) limiting the constitutional or statutory powers of the President or Congress, or any additional powers held by the United States pursuant to international law or treaty.
    2013 CONG US SJ 44

  145. Jill: “Yes, I am so happy that those who condemned Bush for going to war on false pretenses just can’t wait to support Obama in the same action.”

    If it makes you feel better, the primary sources for Operation Iraqi Freedom clearly show Bush’s decision was right on the law and justified on the policy, so supporting Obama for the “same action” would be correct.

    It’s not really the same action, though. OIF was about bringing Iraq into compliance with the UN mandates of the Gulf War ceasefire – see Public Law 107-243, UNSCR 1441, the UNMOVIC Cluster Document (which confirmed Iraq’s continued breach), etc..

    While there were humanitarian and counter-terror elements in the larger bundle of elements in the compliance standard (see http://fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/index.html) for Iraq, the current action with Iraq is mainly a humanitarian and counter-terrorism operation.

  146. I addressed this point with Paul C. Schulte under the cup salute thread, but I’ll tack a note on the issue here as well.

    Professor Turley is incorrect.

    The anti-ISIS strikes are not directed at the Syrian nation, ie, Assad’s regime, and do not constitute an “undeclared war”. The anti-ISIS strikes are a counter-terror action directed at ISIS that is accounted for by counter-terror law, policy, and precedent.

    The President utilizes 2 basic strains of authority to deploy the military overseas in the War on Terror.

    One strain of authority is traditional war authority that is sovereign-directed. In the War on Terror, Congressional war authorization has been employed to combat a noncompliant state sponsor of terrorism in Iraq, Saddam, and al Qaeda’s defiant host in Afghanistan, the Taliban.

    The other strain of authority is the standing counter-terror authority whose contemporary policy baseline was set by the Clinton administration and affirmed by Congress in response to the rise of al Qaeda in the 1990s.

    See the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996, ie, PL 104-132 and Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-39 (1995).

    For insight on the practical baseline set by Clinton in terms of counter-terror overseas military deployment, see former Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s statement to the 9/11 commission:

    Professor Turley’s claim overlooks 20 years of counter-terror law, policy, and precedent. In fact, Obama’s anti-ISIS strikes are on their face lawful and consistent with counter-terror precedent.

  147. jonathanturley: “The Administration is now calling this a “sustained campaign” with no estimate on how long it will take.”

    Normally, duration of mission is dictated by task, conditions, standard with a goal orientation. A time limit may be imposed as a condition at the outset, but duration is normally compelled by other practical factors, especially goal achievement or failure.

    The first goal, of course, is defeating the enemy in competition.

    The second goal needs to be securing the peace. However, despite the consequential catastrophe of Obama’s decisions to cut off peace operations with Iraq prematurely, forego peace operations with Libya, and his continued support for regime change, Obama still does not appear willing to build the peace. As it stands, the anti-ISIS counter-terror campaign, while necessary, is a short-term patch only, not a long-term curative solution.

  148. No one an complain the president goes it alone without the congress to give him the vote, or not give it, when they have clearly abdicated their responsibility:
    They had a vacation then voted themselves another one and now are gone for 5 weeks. For this these bums get paid with our tax dollars? With this mentality, essentially election and party is all and forget about us caring about the country or the world, one wonders why we give them any responsibility at all.

    “Congress’ lame duck period is not the appropriate time to debate authorization for war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview published Thursday. Boehner’s announcement pushes the contentious issue of explicitly authorizing the Administration’s plan to fight Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq until after November’s midterm elections and into January.I would suggest to you that early next year, assuming that we continue in this effort, there may be that discussion and there may be that request from the president,” Boehner told The New York Times. “Doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this.”


  149. leejcarroll,

    Congressman Boehner is correct.

    One, see my comment at September 27, 2014 at 10:52 am. I suggest reviewing the primary-source references I cited on counter-terror law, policy, and precedent.

    Two, Obama’s anti-ISIS strikes and plan so far are consistent with counter-terror precedent and fall within the President’s standing counter-terror authority. As such, the current scope of the anti-ISIS campaign does not require additional Congressional authorization.

    Three, normal legislative-executive procedure – as Boehner is referenced – is the President first makes the plan that forms the request for war authorization, then makes a request that initiates Congressional review. Obama has not made that request nor seems to have such a plan yet.

    You contend that Congress has “clearly abdicated their responsibility”. However, note that in short order Obama requested and Congress approved increased support for ‘moderate’ anti-Assad forces. In the same legislative-executive space, Obama could have requested a Congressional review for war authorization and Congress would have been compelled to review it.

    Obama chose not to make such a request to Congress. Why? As Boehner said, it’s not needed yet. Current anti-ISIS military actions fall within the President’s counter-terror authority and have not crossed the threshold requiring a Congressional war authorization.

    However, as Obama determines a long-term anti-ISIS strategy, he may choose to expand the scope of the anti-ISIS campaign in a way that crosses the threshold requiring a Congressional war authorization.

    Obama’s simply not there yet. It makes sense for Obama to hold off approaching Congress with a request for war authorization until he has a plan that requires additional authorization. Congress can’t review a Presidential request that doesn’t exist yet.

  150. Add: That said, the specter hovering uneasily over the anti-ISIS strikes in Syria is Obama’s Libya intervention.

    At this point, Obama’s anti-ISIS strikes in Syria are within the scope of the President’s counter-terror authority.

    But for the Libya regime change, Obama used a UN Security Council approval for a humanitarian intervention based on the Responsibility to Protect theory. Obama assured the UNSC that US military action would not be directed at the Libyan sovereign, ie, Qaddafi’s regime.

    Obama bypassed Congress by claiming the R2P-based military action was not a (sovereign) war but rather pre-authorized by US agreement to uphold the UN covenant’s humanitarian element.

    But then Obama extended the Libya intervention from R2P to regime change. Once directed at the sovereign, the Libya intervention should have been attached to a Congressional war authorization. That did not happen.

    So, while the current anti-ISIS strikes in Syria are within the President’s counter-terror authority, the concern is Obama may again unilaterally extend the anti-ISIS strikes to the Syrian sovereign as he extended the R2P strikes to the Libyan sovereign.

    However, so far, Obama seems to be unofficially cooperating with Assad on the anti-ISIS strikes – so far so good.

  151. Addendum to my comment at September 27, 2014 at 10:52 am:

    I left one out.

    Regarding overseas counter-terror military deployment, in addition to the law of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996, ie, PL 104-132, policy of Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-39 (1995), and precedent from former Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s statement to the 9/11 commission, there is of course PL 107-40 (2001):

    the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States

    Again, based on standing counter-terror law, policy, and precedent, Obama’s anti-ISIS strikes in Syria so far are on their face lawful.

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