“It’s UnAmerican. It’s Unconstitutional”: Utah Senator Denounces The Iran Briefing As “Absolutely Insane”

An interesting thing occurred on Capitol Hill yesterday. A U.S. Senator demanded to be treated as an actual U.S. Senator. After the briefing by the Trump Administration on the “imminent” threat behind the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimanim, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee came out of the hearing irate at what he described as the “worst military briefing” he had ever witnessed. Lee is one of President Donald Trump’s most committed supporters and a hawk. However, he has a quaint notion of being part of an independent branch of government with independent obligations under federal law. Lee refused to simply rubber stamp the position of the White House and denounced the “briefing” as offering no real evidence and little beyond platitudes. Sen. Rand Paul joined Lee in criticizing the briefing as clearly insufficient. In response to this principled position, both have been accused of “empowering the enemy” by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Defending the authority and functions of Congress is precisely what the Framers demanded in our system of checks and balances.

The White House has recognized that it must establish that the killing was justified to halt an imminent attack. The President and every top official stated that the evidence was clear. There is no reason why that clear evidence could not be shared with Congress. More importantly, Congress has a right to the information under the War Power Act. Democrats left the briefing and uniformly said that no evidence of imminent attack was given. Then Lee came out and said the very same thing. He was clearly agitated by what he saw as an insult to Congress:

“I want to state at the outset: I support President Trump. The briefing lasted only 75 minutes, whereupon our briefers left. This, however, is not the biggest problem I have with the briefing, which I would add was probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.

“I find this insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s wrong. … They are appearing before a coordinate branch of government responsible for their funding, for their confirmation, for any approval of any military action they might take. They had to leave after 75 minutes while they were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public. I find that to be absolutely insane.”

Worse yet for the White House, the failure to share intelligence led Lee to change his mind and support a War Powers resolution introduced by Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine to curb Trump’s authority to take unilateral military action. He further stated that he resented the effort of the White House to tell Congress not to debate the issue on attacking Iran.

As someone who has long criticized the loss of congressional independence and authority to an ever-expanding Executive Branch, the moment was a rare and long-needed moment. Many of these senators only assert congressional authority when the White House is held by an opposing party. Most of the Democratic senators supported President Barack Obama as he circumvented Congress in a series of unilateral actions.

These senators are not anti-Trumpers. They are people of good faith who re seeking to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution and the American people. That is why these are profiles of courage in a time of cringing obedience on both sides of our political debate. One can disagree with their conclusions or, as a senator, what is necessary for supporting evidence, but we should all be able to commend their courage and integrity.

154 thoughts on ““It’s UnAmerican. It’s Unconstitutional”: Utah Senator Denounces The Iran Briefing As “Absolutely Insane””

  1. To me this seems to be a case where both ideas are correct. Soleimani needed to be killed and Congress should be informed. I like Mike Lee but he demonstrated an impatience. We have been faced with this problem over and over again where either Congress oversteps its bounds or the President does. But, Mike Lee was wrong in dealing with this situation now. The act was over and did not demonstrate an entry into war. The President even stepped back in Syria with regard to the Kurds. This is a crucial time to see if the US and Iran can deescalate so Mike Lee should have waited or sought further information even in private. I think Lee’s demonstrated impatience makes his stature fall.

  2. All of you supporting a draft dodger’s judgement has better be ready to send your children to war, or if you’re young enough ready to fight a war where most of your intel translators were hung out to dry by this administration.

    If you didn’t live in NYC during and after 911, I hope you are prepared for consequences. How soon you forget the GOP’s “weapons of mass destruction “ and how those attackers were Saudi’s—while their hierarchy were in this country. The Saudi’s hierarchy were permitted to leave here under our military’s escort Immediately after the attack. Who got paid off??? How much is Trump being paid by the Saudi’s to take out Iran and Iraq?

    Blind faith will be rewarded by honest Americans shelling out more money and sending their children to fight yet another Vietnam!!! We’re presently sending troops that are older and stressed. We’ve released all gays and immigrants from serving in the military. This is a voluntary military and we’re sending our national guard—who are supposed to protect us, at home, overseas to fight a war. This started under Bush and that’s why there was limited national guard members in Louisiana for Katrina. States who refused to have their national guard stripped away to fight in the Middle East were able to respond to Katrina.

    History has taught you diehards nothing. How soon you forget. You have no idea how culture of a plays into stamina for a war. Americans are spoiled; like the WH you don’t know how to plan and wait for the right time to strike.

    Americans are gullible; you believe everything you hear and read as long as it’s from an old white man. You’re also lazy; you don’t know the history of these countries; you don’t do your homework! You have no knowledge of their culture and resolve—only what politicians tell you.

    This attack was because Iran (old brown men) wouldn’t come to the table with him (old white men). Remember the statement on his last kill: “he died like a dog pleading for his life.”. He wanted to be able to do the same to Iran, i.e., he came to the table like a beaten dog….

    What is not reported: all T had to do was wait for the internal strife of Iran to come to a boil as the citizens were dissatisfied with their economic status. The attack stopped the dissenters and united the country! What kind of strategy is that? The strike was more about the WH changing the regime and not Iranians doing so. It is possible that these old white men thought Iranians would take this as an overthrow moment and join in the fray. Surprise! They don’t or need your “help.”

    So remember: we have a tired aging military. That’s why drones are so popular. I’m sure T wants to brag I was controlling the drone that hit Solemani. Child/dodger playing war games. Why else would you want a parade showing all our weapons?

    Lastly: military draft fraud. Who benefits from a notice sent to many stating they have to report to sign up to be sent to Iran under penalty of jail. If it worked, the WH would say people are running to sign up for war. The jury is still out on this one.

    1. Miki. You are full of garbage. White man bad! etc.

      As for learning about foreign peoples, this middle and younger generation of military personnel have more knowledge about the diverse cultures ranging from Levant to Pakistan than any Westerners have ever had since Sir Richard Burton sneaked into Mecca in 1853. This habitual critic of white men as “ignorant” of foreigners is less true than ever.

      There are also other glaring factual errors in your post. Since 2011 when Obama ended “Dont ask dont tell,” openly homosexual persons have been serving in the military. Trump did not reverse this, it is current policy and law.

      1. You’re showing your ignorance as you don’t realize that their education comes with biased education. I know: you know everything you need to know about other cultures. That makes you vulnerable! Biased views are not true knowledge. You’re giving yourself a lot more credit because you are omnipotent? You’re a joke. The Germans are more knowledgeable than Americans when it comes to cultural differences. Because you control the education system doesn’t mean what you teach is correct. The country wouldn’t be in this state if you all had respect for other’s cultures.

        Trump did reverse the policy which means dodgers can say “I’m gay” and don’t have to serve if there is a draft—believe me, it’s coming. Better be prepared to send your loved ones.

        1. http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/10/obama-misled-the-public-on-drones.html

          Obama misled the public on drones
          New documents leaked to The Intercept contradict the president’s claims about US drone strikes

          October 20, 2015 2:00AM ET
          Targeted killing by drone is the new frontier of American warfare. The first strike by a remotely piloted aircraft took place in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, and since then, drone warfare has proliferated. To date, there have been more than 400 U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and they are occurring with greater regularity in Syria. By 2019, U.S. drone flights are expected to increase by 50 percent from current levels.

          In May 2013, President Barack Obama defended U.S. drone strikes and claimed responsibility for overseeing the program. He further claimed that viable targets were limited to terrorists that posed a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” that strikes were executed only when there was “near certainty that the target is present,” “near certainty that noncombatants will not be injured or killed” and “capture is not feasible at the time of the operation.”

          New documents leaked to The Intercept show that his claims were at best misleading and at worst false

          1. I don’t care who used it first!!! It just makes it easier to start a war where our children will be sent off to slaughter.

            If you’re getting out of the Middle East, why start a war?

            If your children/siblings/grandchildren aren’t going why should ours to protect your interests? If this seems reasonable to you then you are definitely defined by T’s statement: “I love the ignorant and uneducated!” Ain’t that just special!

        2. You, you, you. Listen Madam you don’t know me. I’ll skip informing you and the internet about what I’ve done to acquaint myself with other cultures. Those who need to know, do.

          If you mean “you” like plural you, american white guys, like I said, there’s never been a more well informed group of us than who’s walking around living right now.

          As for Germans. Putting aside the fact that they’ve degenerated from a great people and the leaders of the Western world in science and philosophy, into a bunch of self hating manginas who call themselves a “taetervolk” — but, back when they still had some brass, the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, who is revered even by the Left to this day, though he was a man of the Right, helped us understand how OUR particular facts of existence– who, what, when, where– necessarily inform our ideas of existence, and that both the unconcealment of not-yet-seen things, and the concealment thereof, are also likewise part of our existence. Moreover, language itself, encodes aspects of reality, and by understanding more language including foreign tongues, we enrich ourselves. And as I said there’s never been a generation of Americans more tuned into that than us now. And so: GET OVER YOURSELF!

          Take the self hating garbage somewhere else. That schtick won’t cut it here.

          as for living and dying in war, or by any form of violence, it’s been part of our existence too, all along. Not must me now, but we, and we know who we are: we don’t fear it, not for our selves and not for our kin. we live with it as reality just like disease. it just is.

          Just stick to policy if you want to have a discussion.

    2. All of you supporting a draft dodger’s judgement

      The term ‘draft dodger’ does not mean what you want it to mean. The president had an unremarkable I-Y deferment of which over 100,000 were issued every year. The military can be oddly exacting about certain things. I knew a man who received such a deferment for eczema on his feet. Others received them for being overweight, being underweight, having corrective lenses, minor knee injuries, &c.

      There have been just two genuine draft-dodgers among consequential presidential candidates in the last 60 years: Bill Clinton, who successfully maneuvered to be permitted to shirk his ROTC service obligations; and Bernie Sanders, who hired an attorney in 1965 to press a bogus claim for CO status. The attorney won so many continuances in front of the draft board that Sanders aged out of eligibility before they made a decision.

      The number accused, of course, well exceeds the number actually guilty, because a lot of political partisans run the gamut from sloppy to vicious. (Among those traduced were Hubert Humphrey, Dan Quayle, and George W Bush; Sidney Blumenthal even tried to trash the service record of George Bush the Elder).

      1. No one swiftboated the Bush’s though the world would have been better off if someone had. As usual, you are wrong and ignorant.

      2. Thou fist protesteth too much. I have no admiration for anyone who did not serve in active duty. I know more individuals WH served with “justifiable maladies” than bone spurs. So cut the BS. A coward is a coward—they’re just some whose parents can pay. The 2 podiatrists for your boy were tenants in his father’s buildings. As for Sanders and Clinton: the same. Old men sending youngsters to fight their war(s). I have no respect for either of them.

  3. Republicans are outraged that Democrats are just now seeing the presidential power they weaved into near unchecked power during the Obama administration, and while I empathize with that anger, I think we should respond with a “welcome to the party pal” theme. The Congress has ceded much of the power to the president, and all of his agencies, for at least a generation. The cycle were in right now involves the president amassing unprecedented powers and passing them off to the next president after eight years. What better time is there than right now to rein that power in? The Democrats would be for it now, and the Republicans should all be for it on a philosophical basis. The Democrats could create a “Power to the People” bill to diminish the power of the current president and all future presidents, and their agencies, and return it back to the Congress. Such a proposal might be so popular, on both sides of the aisle, that Congress could submit it for the amendment process. If the Republicans argue the point, Congress could say that their proposal is set to reaffirm the proposed powers outlined in the Constitution. If the job of those in our three branches is to represent us in a Constitutional manner, on what basis could they oppose it? If they do, publish their names, and give us our pencils, our phones, and our voting forms, and we’ll take care of it.

  4. The “Imperial Presidency” has a long sad history under Presidents of both parties. It is now time for the Congress at last to re-establish its war authority under the Constitution.

  5. Most of the people complaining yesterday received a briefing that did not have the most highly sensitive information. The 3, I heard comment about it from the Gang of 8 who received the more in depth briefing were more measured in their comments. The current Gang of 8 are Schiff, Nunes, McCarthy, Pelosi, Burr, Warner, McConnell and Schumer. The 3 who were measured should be obvious.

  6. a Voice of Reason

    Listen to Senator James Lankford’s interview last night on FOX Business

    Where Mr Lankford states the information given was “exceptionally helpful”

    90 incidents of Iranian proxy attacks against the USA

    It was also stated before the meeting began that it would end at 4pm due to another commitment the WH had

    Senator Lankford also said that his colleagues statements were “false”

  7. A senator having a hissy fit in front of a camera is not courage and integrity! He should know better than most what an abomination our congress is currently. Our President showed restraint and strength in a situation that has been decades in the making. The senator should do his job and stop the theatrics that can undermine our national security.

  8. You people amaze me with your interpretations of the organization and function of our Government institutions, and where the idea of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial departments as coequal branches of Government came from is totally insane and not supported anywhere in the Constitution or other founding documents like the Declaration of Independence or the Articles of Confederation which are equally in force today as the Constitution, since the Constitution does not contradict or negate any portion of those previous documents!

    The idea that a Senator wants to be treated as a Senator, and not even know what that means, is staggering. And from this article and some of the comments it is obvious that none of you understands the Senate either. I think a review of Federalist #’s 62-66, “The Senate”, by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton respectively is appropriate, since they define explicitly the design, assembly, and function of the Senate, which just so happens to be the Controlling Government institution in our Governing System, for a reason, which is also explained in those selections of the Federalist Papers.

    For Starters the Senate is an assembly of the States as Equals with Equal Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus on all questions of Law and foreign interactions through treaties through the Senate’s Power of concurrence, which is not shared with the President or the Popular Branch of the Legislature, this is a unilateral Power which Requires a 2/3 Majority Consensus of the States and it cannot be questioned by any other department of our Government, not even the Supreme Court which can only take up questions under original jurisdiction that are put forward by the States themselves, which by the way, are the ones who control the Senate and the decisions made by the Senate.

    The only person of authority who presides over the Senate is the Vice President, the President of the Senate. There is no assembly by party affiliation, there is no control by Majority Party, and there is no Senate Majority Leader who presides over the Senate. So to be treated and act like a Senator means that each Senator must be the Representatives of their State reflecting their own State’s Legislature and the Equal Vote of their State in the assembly of the States! Based upon Article 2 of the Constitution that gives the States total control over all Foreign Policy, and the President is just the messenger, not the decision maker. We have distributed power and collective decision making in our Country. We don’t have leaders who make decisions, that’s what makes our governing system unique and different from any other governing systems throughout history and up to this day.

    Maybe we should review why we have a Senate in our System and how it functions to bring Continuity and Stability to our Government and the decisions made by our Government on behalf of the Union of the States which makes our Country the United States of America.

    Federalist #77, Hamilton
    “IT HAS been mentioned as one of the advantages to be expected from the co-operation of the Senate, in the business of appointments, that it would contribute to the stability of the administration. The consent of that body would be necessary to displace as well as to appoint. A change of the Chief Magistrate, therefore, would not occasion so violent or so general a revolution in the officers of the government as might be expected, if he were the sole disposer of offices.”

    Federalist #64, Jay
    “The second section gives power to the President, “by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur.”

    The power of making treaties is an important one, especially as it relates to war, peace, and commerce; and it should not be delegated but in such a mode, and with such precautions, as will afford the highest security that it will be exercised by men the best qualified for the purpose, and in the manner most conducive to the public good.”

    I love this blog, there are so many arrogantly ignorant people commenting.

  9. You people amaze me with your interpretations of the organization and function of our Government institutions, and where the idea of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial departments as coequal branches of Government came from is totally insane and not supported anywhere in the Constitution or other founding documents like the Declaration of Independence or the Articles of Confederation which are equally in force today as the Constitution, since the Constitution does not contradict or negate any portion of those previous documents!

    The idea that a Senator wants to be treated as a Senator, and not even know what that means, is staggering. And from this article and some of the comments it is obvious that none of you understands the Senate either. I think a review of Federalist #’s 62-66, “The Senate”, by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton respectively is appropriate, since they define explicitly the design, assembly, and function of the Senate, which just so happens to be the Controlling Government institution in our Governing System, for a reason, which is also explained in those selections of the Federalist Papers.

    For Starters the Senate is an assembly of the States as Equals with Equal Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus on all questions of Law and foreign interactions through treaties through the Senate’s Power of concurrence, which is not shared with the President or the Popular Branch of the Legislature, this is a unilateral Power which Requires a 2/3 Majority Consensus of the States and it cannot be questioned by any other department of our Government, not even the Supreme Court which can only take up questions under original jurisdiction that are put forward by the States themselves, which by the way, are the ones who control the Senate and the decisions made by the Senate.

    The only person of authority who presides over the Senate is the Vice President, the President of the Senate. There is no assembly by party affiliation, there is no control by Majority Party, and there is no Senate Majority Leader who presides over the Senate. So to be treated and act like a Senator means that each Senator must be the Representatives of their State reflecting their own State’s Legislature and the Equal Vote of their State in the assembly of the States! Based upon Article 2 of the Constitution that gives the States total control over all Foreign Policy, and the President is just the messenger, not the decision maker. We have distributed power and collective decision making in our Country. We don’t have leaders who make decisions, that’s what makes our governing system unique and different from any other governing systems throughout history and up to this day.

    Maybe we should review why we have a Senate in our System and how it functions to bring Continuity and Stability to our Government and the decisions made by our Government on behalf of the Union of the States which makes our Country the United States of America.

    Federalist #77, Hamilton
    “IT HAS been mentioned as one of the advantages to be expected from the co-operation of the Senate, in the business of appointments, that it would contribute to the stability of the administration. The consent of that body would be necessary to displace as well as to appoint. A change of the Chief Magistrate, therefore, would not occasion so violent or so general a revolution in the officers of the government as might be expected, if he were the sole disposer of offices.”

    Federalist #64, Jay
    “The second section gives power to the President, “by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur.”

    The power of making treaties is an important one, especially as it relates to war, peace, and commerce; and it should not be delegated but in such a mode, and with such precautions, as will afford the highest security that it will be exercised by men the best qualified for the purpose, and in the manner most conducive to the public good.”

    1. @Federalist:

      Your contentions are easily and clearly rebutted by Article I of the Constitution (note that the authority of Congress is in Article I, while that of the President is in Article II – there’s a reason for that placement). Article I give Congress the “Power to” declare war…raise and support armies…provide and maintain a navy…make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces…provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia…

      The President, under Article II, Section 2, is merely the operating head as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Overall military authority resides in the Congress.

      1. All the authority given to the president in article 2 is conditional on decisions made by Congress. Now maybe you failed that part of English, or maybe you failed all the logic classes that mathematics has, but if you do t know what a conditional statement is then maybe you should go back to school and try again, maybe 8th grade would be a good place for you to start.

    2. this guy has a bizarre interpretation of American constitution which fundamentally misunderstands the system. pops in here every week to scold everyone. boring!

      I also see that she or he overcapitalizes like he’s writing in German. I give it ten to one odds he’s not a native speaker of English.

      “not that there’s anything wrong with that! “

      1. Maybe if you tried to actually read the Constitution for yourself, instead of relying on the interpretations of others, you would understand that the decision making body for our government is Congress, and 70% of the Constitution is devoted to those decision making processes in Article 1.

        By the way, the Constitution gives Congress all decision making powers in Article 1 Section 1, and All means All!

        1. Federalist, I apologize for previously taking you to task. I completely agree with your thinking about the authority of Congress under Article I of the Constitution, as my prior comments bear out. It seems that I read your remarks too quickly

  10. After the assassination of al-Awlaki, Obama’s boot lickers never produced a shred of evidence in justifying killing a US citizen and his 16 year old son via drone without any due process.

    White House Spokesman Jay Carney faced a number of troubling and difficult questions during his Press Briefing from ABC News’ Jake Tapper.

    Jake Tapper: You said that Awlaki was demonstrably and provably involved in operations. Do you plan on demonstrating or proving that?

    Jay Carney: He is clearly, I mean provably might be a legal term, but I…think it has been well established, and it has certainly been the position of this administration and the previous administration, that he is, uh, was a leader in AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], that AQAP was a definite threat, was operational, planned and carried out terrorist attacks that fortunately did not succeed but were extremely serious…including the would-be Christmas day bombing 2009…I wouldn’t know of any credible terrorist expert who would dispute the fact that he was a leader in Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula and that he was operationally involved in terrorist attacks against American interests and citizens.

    Tapper, like a good reporter, asks a follow-up question. Carney’s response to the follow-up teeters on the edge of the bizarre:

    Jake Tapper: Do you plan on bringing before the public any proof of these charges?

    Jay Carney: Again, the question makes us, it has embedded within it assumptions about the circumstances of his death that I’m just not going to address.

    Jake Tapper: How on earth, I really don’t understand, he’s dead, you were asserting that he had operational control, of the cargo plot, and the Abdulmutallab plot, he’s now dead. Can you show us, or the American people, or has a judge been shown…

    Jay Carney: I, I’m not going to go any further than what I’ve said about the circumstances of his death, and the case against them, which you’re linking, and, and uh, I think that…

    Jake Tapper: No, you, you said that he was responsible for these things

    Jay Carney: Yes, but again…

    Jake Tapper: Is there going to be any evidence presented?

    Jay Carney: Uh, you know, I don’t have anything for you on that.

    Tapper asks a question about evidence—about any proof of its claims that the executive branch might have been able to present to the public or even just to a judge—and Carney replies that he is not at liberty to discuss the “circumstances of [Awlaki]’s death.” The question, of course, has nothing at all to do with circumstances of death, but has to do with circumstances of evidence and of process; namely, what evidence must exist, and what process should be followed, that would allow for the President to put a hit out on an American citizen. Not to be out done, Tapper continues with his questions.

    Jake Tapper: Do you not see at all, does the administration not see at all, that the President asserting that he has the right to kill an American citizen without due process, and that he’s not going to even explain why he thinks he has that right, is troublesome to some people?

    Jay Carney: I wasn’t aware of any of the things that you said happening and again I’m not going to address the circumstances of Awlaki’s death. Again, it is an important fact that this terrorist who was actively plotting, had plotted in the past, and was actively plotting to attack Americans and American interests, is dead, but I’m not going to, from any angle, discuss the circumstances of his death.

    After their long and combative exchange, Carney merely reiterates that “it is an important fact that this terrorist who was actively plotting” was killed, completely ignoring the very real questions about his premise:

    If Awlaki was involved with these terrorist attacks, where is the evidence, and who has seen it? And what does it mean when, in reply to a question about evidence justifying an attack, the administration remains secretive in the name of “the circumstances of the death.” What on earth does one have to do with the other?

    The answer, of course, is nothing.

    if Carney were under oath when asked these questions, he could be indicted, under existing vague and broad federal criminal laws, and convicted of obstruction of justice.

    1. mjmichaels2 – sometimes you cannot give up information without revealing where or from whom that information came.

      1. President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended Obama’s counterterrorism policies, including the increased use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens during his confirmation hearing Thursday. “None of the central questions that should have been asked of John Brennan were asked in an effective way,” says Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming book, “Dirty Wars.” “In the cases where people like Sen. Angus King or Sen. Ron Wyden would ask a real question, for instance, about whether or not the CIA has the right to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, the questions were very good. Brennan would then offer up a non-answer. And then there’d be almost no follow-up.” Scahill went on to say, “[Brennan] has served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they were discussing purchasing a used car on Capitol Hill. I mean, it was total kabuki oversight. And that’s a devastating commentary on where things stand.”

        https://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/8/jeremy_scahill_assassinations_of_us_citizens

        1. Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister.

          Glenn Greenwald
          January 30 2017, 6:04 a.m.

          https://theintercept.com/2017/01/30/obama-killed-a-16-year-old-american-in-yemen-trump-just-killed-his-8-year-old-sister/

          Excerpts:

          Perhaps most tragic of all is that — just as was true in Iraq — al Qaeda had very little presence in Yemen before the Obama administration began bombing and droning it and killing civilians, thus driving people into the arms of the militant group. As the late, young Yemeni writer Ibrahim Mothana told Congress in 2013:

          Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants. … Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen.

          During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush’s policies. …

          Defenders of human rights must speak out. America’s counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world.

          This is why it is crucial that — as urgent and valid protests erupt against Trump’s abuses — we not permit recent history to be whitewashed, or long-standing U.S. savagery to be deceitfully depicted as new Trumpian aberrations, or the war on terror framework engendering these new assaults to be forgotten. Some current abuses are unique to Trump, but — as I detailed on Saturday — some are the decades-old byproduct of a mindset and system of war and executive powers that all need uprooting. Obscuring these facts, or allowing those responsible to posture as opponents of all this, is not just misleading but counterproductive: Much of this resides on an odious continuum and did not just appear out of nowhere.

          It’s genuinely inspiring to see pervasive rage over the banning of visa holders and refugees from countries like Yemen. But it’s also infuriating that the U.S. continues to massacre Yemeni civilians, both directly and through its tyrannical Saudi partners. That does not become less infuriating — Yemeni civilians are not less dead — because these policies and the war theories in which they are rooted began before the inauguration of Donald Trump. It’s not just Trump but this mentality and framework that need vehement opposition.

      2. Paul,
        I can tell you pulled that information out of your backside. We have secure means for oversight.

        1. OLLY – that comment was about someone on a TV show. The Senator appears to not have taken the time to read the documents.

      3. The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees life and liberty even in the case you describe. You either know that and prefer to spit on it, or you don’t know it and are an idiot poster, or both. I presume it’s a little of both.

          1. POTUS assassinated with a drone strike two American Muslim citizens (both named Anwar al-Awlaki, father and 16 year old son). POTUS Obama added their two names to Obama’s illegal “Kill List.” Such act is felony murder even if/when POTUS prefers to keep “intelligence” sources secret.

            1. Princess Trohar – you have to name the POTUS. We cannot guess. 😉 I agree with you that killing a 16 y/o is iffy at best. I would like to see the info on this.

    2. Obama’s boot lickers never produced a shred of evidence in justifying killing a US citizen and his 16 year old son via drone without any due process.

      They’d forfeited the protection of American courts by relocating to Yemen.

      If you don’t wish to be killed by drone, stay home, stay out of war zones, and don’t associate with brigands. Works for most of us.

      1. Shortly after Obama committed felony murder twice, then FBI director Mueller told then-POTUS Obama that Obama could perform the same act on US soil.

        US citizens are US citizens at all times and places, not only when they are on US soil. They don’t lose Constitutional protection when the leave US soil. You either know this and are a liar of the first order, or you are very stupid.

        Mueller lied to protect Obama and every POTUS so they could ignore the Constitution and commit felony murder at will.

        1. They don’t lose Constitutional protection when the leave US soil.

          They do. Deal with it.

          1. your continuous venom towards, well, everyone, is a classic example of the space that is, in the words of Fr Paul Shaughnessy, SJ:, “sociologically corrupt”.

            No one not collecting fee income for their trouble would tolerate you for five minutes.

    1. Erik Holder has been juggling Obama’s ballz since leaving office and Pelosi is doing a bang up job playing the bearded lady while Schiff shot flames of fire from his mouth and Schumer swings from trapeze to trapeze. For this Americas are infinitely grateful

      1. Anonymous – Schiff deals in smoke and mirrors and Schumer is a ringmaster of a 3-rate circus.

  11. Respectfully, give us a break, JT. Nobody took issue with any of this under Obama, and his actions were far more egregious in my opinion, and his dishonesty (complete with bogus charts) in his second term was nothing short of breathtaking. If there were cogent arguments rather than straight-up TDS in the left-leaning counter-views, I could take them seriously. There are not. You all need to get out of your towers now and again.

  12. “They are people of good faith who re seeking to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution and the American people. That is why these are profiles of courage in a time of cringing obedience on both sides of our political debate. One can disagree with their conclusions or, as a senator, what is necessary for supporting evidence, but we should all be able to commend their courage and integrity.”
    ~+~
    I’m afraid I have to disagree. I see more self-serving grandstanding on behalf of these members of Congress to seek political advantage in voicing outrage against the president. and whatever crisis of the day they see. The damage this legislative body causes the American People and others in the world defeats claims of credibility or virtue they proffer to support. In fact, we could probably argue that as an occupational demographic of the American population, they are probably one of the most criminal when viewed in terms of convictions per capita. (In fact, one of them just went down this week). How much integrity did he have?

    Let us look at how fondly these individuals drum for war when “their president” is in office, but later shroud themselves within the robes of lady justice to cry foul when the opposition president commands the military. They were against the war before they voted for the war, (or was it the other way around?) It is not courageous to be pissed off because the president or someone else didn’t respect a member of Congress’ author-i-tay. These people have had too much pampering lately to be capable of courage, which involves actual risk to one’s self in order to surmount adversity or goal.

    Or maybe they can make a first baby step at actual courage…live the life of an ordinary person who has to suffer the consequences of these people’s debacles.

    As for justice, how can we trust them with justice? The most recent offering was a total and complete joke. First, they ram the impeachment vote through…which was nearly exactly dictated by party alignment (so much for impartiality). Then after they got to label the president as Impeached they cannot even summon the resolve to forward the articles to the Senate. So how virtuous was the effort? None? Just think of what would have happened to a regular person if the House had such pent up anger against them. They would have been railroaded: An investigation as a form of punishment and something to be held over their head until it suited their malevolent goals.

    In fact we have to wonder who’s side they really are on. When the president pulls back our military from Syrian border with Turkey, half of Congress or more was outraged. But when someone suggests sending the US military to protect our own borders, half of congress shows its contempt and voices its anger for suggesting we protect our own frontiers. They create laws that pump money to foreign interests and pork-barrel spending, yet expect disabled Medicaid receiving American citizens living in nursing homes to live off $70 per month after the state impounds nearly all their social security benefits and pension payments to pay for their health care expenses. Yes, that is the loyalty this legislative body bestows upon Americans.

    So forgive me if I show no blind admiration for these individuals.

    1. Very much agreed. It is astonishing how blinded people can be by their mere dislike of a person, or what they can justify in the opposite circumstance.

    2. Very well said. I don’t agree with your suggestion that the military should be protecting the borders, because no invasion is in progress. I’m an old-fashioned posse comitatus guy in that respect. The desperate people coming from Central America are not invading the United States. They’re seeking political asylum because of unendurable conditions in their home countries, and their intentions have been radically misrepresented for, to say the least, unsavory political purposes. But we don’t have to agree on everything.

      Taking your general point, I’d only suggest that, as of now, we need to take what we can get. If a Republican Congressman other than Rand Paul, who has made it his brand to talk this way, is willing to go out on a classically republican rhetorical limb such as the one that Professor Turley has highlighted in this post, then I think that that should be encouraged, even as we still proceed with the degree of skepticism you have justified here. Apropos, the Congressman’s response is very likely also a political response to his reading of his constituents’ outrage. So, if the mojo is coming from them, then that means it has to come from the rest of us non-congresspersons as well in our various districts all over the country, so that more people in Congress feel that it’s okay to make the same points with same degree of indignation.

      1. I respect Senator Paul and believe the briefing was handled poorly. I also think the Congress has ceded too much latitude to the Presidents over the decades on the war powers.

        I also agree with Darren. I feel like the Congressmen have not earned the respect that they presume to command.

        Finally, yes, it may be difficult to disclose the “whys” of this because of informants and compromising sources. Congresspeople are habitual leakers and have not earned the level of trust with the military, apparently. This is on them not Trump.

        Trump for his own part, clearly has had tons of trouble with the intelligence establishment, and obviously this action couldn’t have been taken by the military, without solid intelligence. So, Trump may have felt this was a good stroke to make in the interests of America and supported them in their initiative. as CIC that is certainly his prerogative. Now I don’t know if I believe that he was a “Terrorist,” but, there is no question that Sulemani was an armed combattant and an adversary and i don’t believe the fanciful notion he was acting in any diplomatic capacity whatsoever at the time. He’s there stirring up hassles with the Shiite militias at America’s expense and the risks he took came to pass. That’s good for us and too bad for him.

        It’s amazing how many people that were ready to hang Trump a month ago are so sad for Sulemani now. They’re crying “wag the dog” but it looks like they’re doing something similar on the opposite side.

        Republican leadership in Congress should not trust the Democrat counterparts with anything unless they’ve shown a consistent history of good faith actions for the nation as a whole. I believe some Democrats in Congress would fit that standard but not most of them.

    3. So forgive me if I show no blind admiration for these individuals.
      _______________________________________
      What a pile of babbling nonsense…..
      Do you even know what the word “individual” means???

      I ask that question because the individuals in your rambling off-topic rant were not the same people as “the people of good faith” in the quote by Prof Turley that you appeared to be responding to.

    1. So what did licking the boot of Obama taste like? Or did you sit on it, took it up your asz and twirl?

      1. Sounds like Kurtz is projecting again. It is always someone else’s fault that should be tattooed on all rethuglicans.

        1. i did not make the remark about the boot YNOT although whomever did make it certainly did make me laugh

  13. “insane”. The dork used the word insane. He is defaming the President of the United States in the most harsh way. So. We need to have a psychiatrist examine the man from the legislature who said this. Maybe he is crazy. He is lazy. He is lame. He needs to go get a job as a room cleaner at the local insane asylum and be put on meds right away. The folks who buy shares of stocks did not think the President was insane yesterday nor today. The futures market at this timeof the morning is up. Dow implied open of 172,

    1. “insane”. The dork used the word insane. He is defaming the President of the United States in the most harsh way.
      ______________________________________________
      Get a grip…
      He called the briefing insane. I see nothing to indicate President of the United States was even at the briefing.

    2. Mike Lee on TV. I saw the so called Senator on TV this morning after my comment made above. As a lawyer who represented hundreds of mental patients and mental inmates I can say this. Look at Lee’s animation. Is it meth? It is hyper. Listen to his logic. There is little. Look at his face and eyes. I would diagnosis him as a spike four schizophrenic. This is the worst one can get. He needs anti psychotic drugs and perhaps shock treatment. I do not think that LSD would be helpful. He did not look drunk. There was not the slur of words. Meth: maybe. Folks who work in his office need to “out him”. President Trump should not reveal any information to this guy which is confidential. We can call this Senator: Spike Lee.

  14. Why didn’t they impeach Barack Obama when he expanded these illegal wars to 11, if we count Yemen?

    Why didn’t they impeach Obama when Edward Snowden revealed that our intelligence agencies are monitoring and spying on almost every citizen and downloading our data and metrics into government computers where they will be stored for perpetuity?

    Why didn’t they impeach Obama when he misused the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force to erase due process and give the executive branch of government the right to act as judge, jury and executioner in assassinating U.S. citizens, starting with the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and, two weeks later, his 16-year-old son?

    Why didn’t they impeach Obama when he signed into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, in effect overturning the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military as a domestic police force?

    1. those are very good questions

      of course recently i have started to wonder if maybe Obama’s drone assassination targets were perhaps more legitimate than I suspected at the time

  15. It appears the Senator failed to take the time to read the briefing documents. That is on him.

  16. Could not agree more. It is high time that Congress assert is authority under the Constitution to prevent one individual, the President, from leading the US into wars where our nation does not face an immediate and clear present direct threat to its physical security. No more wars or foreign military expeditions for far-flung ancillary and questionable interests of an imperial nature. Our troops are best served by keeping them out of harms way rather than placing them in unstable and dangerous places where they will surely be subject to attacks.

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