Unconstitutional But Legal? Court Agrees CDC Does Not Have The Authority For Moratorium Before Upholding Moratorium

Last week, a federal court did something that would seem not just counterintuitive but impossible under our legal system: it upheld an agency order despite the clear lack of authority to issue it.  The order – to renew a moratorium on evictions – is a constitutional zombie that is neither alive nor dead. Yet it still walks the land.

I was critical of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s baffling concurrence recently in the preserving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order for a nationwide moratorium on the eviction of renters during the pandemic. He did so despite agreeing with four of his colleagues that the CDC never had the authority for the moratorium. Instead of declaring it invalid, he preferred to let it die naturally in a matter of days when the deadline passed. That allowed President Joe Biden to declare that the CDC could reinstate the moratorium, even though he was told by his White House counsel and most experts (except Professor Laurence Tribe) that such a renewal would unconstitutional. Now this bizarre status of the undead moratorium has continued with a trial judge who first declared the CDC lacks authority to impose a new moratorium and then upheld that moratorium.

In Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that kept the CDC moratorium in place despite five justices stating that the CDC order as unconstitutional. In dissent, Justices Clarence ThomasSamuel AlitoNeil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett wanted to suspend the eviction moratorium as unconstitutional. Justice Kavanaugh however saw no need to strike down the order since it was about to expire. He left no question that the CDC never had the authority for the order, expressly stating that the CDC “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.”

Thus, a majority of the Court made clear that, without a congressional act, the CDC lacks the authority to issue such an order. Yet, Kavanaugh supplied the fifth vote in favor of the CDC to allow the law to simply expire and thereby enable an “additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance.”

District Judge Dabney Friedrich of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected a challenge by landlords to the new moratorium. In May, Judge Friedrich  ruled the previous version of the moratorium was unlawful. She noted that the new order suffered from the same unlawful foundation. However, in the Friday decision,  Friedrich basically blamed Kavanaugh for creating a mess of the controlling precedent with his much ridiculed concurrence:

These intervening decisions call into question the D.C. Circuit’s conclusion that the CDC is likely to succeed on the merits. For that reason, absent the D.C. Circuit’s judgment, this Court would vacate the stay. But the Court’s hands are tied. The Supreme Court did not issue a controlling opinion in this case, and circuit precedent provides that the votes of dissenting Justices may not be combined with that of a concurring Justice to create binding law.

In other words, a higher court will need to clean this up given the earlier decision of the D.C. Circuit and Kavanaugh’s judicial punt. However, it is not the victory that many have suggested. Friedrich is adhering to a strict view of the controlling precedent since the D.C. Circuit decision is technically still alive on the books.

Kavanaugh allowed an interpretation to continue despite being clearly but not finally declared unlawful. I have long been a critic of such unchecked and undefined authority in pandemics. This, however, would be a breathtaking claim of authority. It would give the CDC authority that is both unilateral and largely unlimited over our very economy. The CDC would have carte blanche “make and enforce such regulations as in [its] judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases.” Thus, even the danger of the “introduction” or spread of a disease would allow the CDC impose sweeping economic and legal changes in our country.

The Framers struggled with the very concept of a centralized federal government. Many like George Mason were uneasy with such authority but the Framers expressly limited the federal authority while protecting the authority of the states. The Constitution’s overriding principle is the denial of the concentration of authority in any one branch or individual. James Madison warned in Federalist 47 that “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Yet, in this matter, a small agency is given authority over the economic conditions and contracts in every state based on its judgment of not simply public health but economic policies.

The protectors of this constitutional balance of power is supposed to be the courts. However, the courts have now expressly allowed an unconstitutional claim of authority to be exercised due to the anomaly created by Justice Kavanaugh.  It is precisely what John Adams warned out when he wrote in 1787 that “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

The result in this case is something that few lawyers or law students would expect to see in their lifetime. We have the bizarre sight of an unconstitutional order being upheld despite a majority of justices (and the district court judge) declaring it as facially unlawful. That is what comes when justices decide that their job is to reach convenient rather than constitutional results.

 

 

305 thoughts on “Unconstitutional But Legal? Court Agrees CDC Does Not Have The Authority For Moratorium Before Upholding Moratorium”

  1. Biden’s Folly

    Biden abandoned some 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. They are now Taliban hostages.

    This makes the Iran hostage crisis look like a housewarming.

    1. Biden is still transporting Americans out of Afghanistan.

      Provide evidence of even one American being a Taliban hostage.

    2. Biden abandoned some 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. They are now Taliban hostages.

      When you consider the Biden administration is relying completely on the cooperation of the Taliban to get our people out, then that is a hostage situation.

      1. Olly — Thanks.

        I didn’t feel like going down the rabbit hole, named: How to befuddle your opponents with Talmudic hairsplittings of the word “hostage.”

      2. Correct. Olly, everything we care about including the hostages have now become a bargaining chip for the Taliban. Who knows what Biden will give to them after providing Tanks. Planes, Airports, Military bases, and all sorts of other technology and military apparatus. Who knows, Biden might fly a bunch of planes over to Afghanistan loaded with pallets of gold or dollars.

        That anonymous is a fool who doesn’t get anything right but loves to argue.

        1. “…a fool who doesn’t get anything right but loves to argue.”

          just like S. Meyer and too many others

          1. As stated, you are a fool who loves to argue and gets nothing right. Those you complain about provide context. You provide links that are off-topic or argue against your position. Sometimes their dates are too far off to be of consequence, and sometimes the writers of your links are more oblivious of the facts than you.

        2. Seth,
          We are assuming the goal for this administration was to safely and securely exit from Afghanistan with all of our military assets, Americans and Afghani allies. What’s really not discussed is a potential alternative desired outcome. To screw this up so badly, all of our intel had to be completely wrong. Generals had to be completely wrong. The incompetence had to be overwhelming. This would have been group think on steroids. Bay of Pigs and the Challenger disaster-level group think. Everyone involved would have to admit the Taliban did a Jedi mind trick on them (these are not the Taliban you’re looking for). Or, something more sinister was involved in their strategy. What if this tragedy was planned? What if they saw this as an opportunity to hang this around Trump’s neck as their last desperate attempt to delegitimize him?

          1. Consider this report, if true, that the Democrats will not succeed in proving their allegation that the January 6th riot was an “insurrection” was the responsibility of Trump.

            “The FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump,” Reuters reports.

            Further, “the FBI has so far found no evidence that [Trump] or people directly around him were involved in organizing the violence.”
            https://www.theblaze.com/news/fbi-no-evidence-jan-6-riot-organized-trump-or-others?utm_source=theblaze-breaking&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20210820SponsoredTrending-Floraspring&utm_term=ACTIVE%20LIST%20-%20TheBlaze%20Breaking%20News

              1. Thank you CO. Good catch. We’d have the usual suspects demanding a link to a “reliable” source; as if they’d have the skills to know the difference.

          2. “What if this tragedy was planned?”

            You’re giving them too much credit.

            They had no “plan.” Their idea of the “future” is: What’s for dinner?

            I bet most of the political advisors did not foresee this, and are genuinely surprised by this disaster — as in: “Huh, who knew that sticking a screwdriver into a socket could shock you?”

            Fundamentally, what they reject is cause and effect.

            1. Fundamentally, what they reject is cause and effect.

              Well, to be honest, I agree. But here we are in 2021 and this country is circling the drain. Why is that? What’s the root cause? My analysis would conclude the rejection of civics literacy and civic action, exacerbated by a culture codependent on government as the root cause. I believe it was a mistake for the framers to bury within the Federalist Papers the self-evident truth that human nature does not change. Our constitution was rooted in that truth.

              You’re giving them too much credit.

              Not necessarily; the entire bunch of them may simply be useful idiots.

              1. This is a great article on how important history is to understanding the present.

                But history as man’s rise from savagery to civilization—history as the record of the lasting contributions made to man’s knowledge, wisdom, arts, morals, manners, skills—history as a laboratory rich in a hundred thousand experiments in economics, religion, literature, science, and government – history as our roots and our illumination, as the road by which we came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide us into the future – that kind of history is not “bunk;” it is, as Napoleon said on St. Helena, “the only true philosophy and the only true psychology.” Other studies may tell us how man might behave, or how he should behave; history tells us how he has behaved for six thousand years. One who knows that record is in large measure protected in advance against the delusions and disillusionments of his time. He has learned the limitations of human nature, and bears with equanimity the faults of his neighbors and the imperfections of states. He shares hopefully in the reforming enterprises of his age and people; but his heart does not break, nor his faith in life fade out, when he perceives how modest are the results, and how persistently man remains what he has been for sixty centuries, perhaps for a thousand generations.
                https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/08/map-human-character-will-durant.html?mc_cid=68b80b85e3

          3. Olly, I said it before, and I will repeat it, but this time with a bit more explanation.

            Small, well-organized groups can have more impact on policy than the much larger American people. (Take note of the early history of long-haul short-haul train prices, a problem brought to the attention by many. The few solved the problem, and they were the ones that owned the railroads.)

            We have many groups expressing hate for America. Examples: Islamic groups (‘destroy the west from within’), Far leftists, BLM, Antifa, Anarchists, Farrakhan, crazies and many others. (That doesn’t mean all members of any group hate America.) We also need to include those who might not personally hate America but are heavily influenced by China.

            Some in the hate America group are willing to destroy or teach America a lesson in various confusing ways. Some of those have significant political influence, especially with Democrats.

            Though the left votes together, there are battles as to who can be the most “far left.” That leaves the door open for disparate groups to influence policy in a disparate, disorganized fashion. (We see things where that explanation may explain the unexplainable.) IMO, this is most likely to happen with a weak leader.

            I conclude that it is likely that Biden leans on those that wish to maintain power. In turn, they rely on disparate ‘hate America groups’ (with influence on the hard left) that have individuals appearing like knowledgeable policy makers. Though the groups may hate one another, they are united together in beating Trump and the Republicans. Thus, I believe it is likely that a disparate hate America group is part of the influential people who decide policy.

            1. Seth, I believe your conclusion to be sound reasoning, but unfortunately that isn’t a guarantee it’s an accurate explanation for the behavior of the Left.

              Two things come to mind: 1. Liberals have always been motivated to set policy that changes our culture so that we will arrive at some idealistic destination. They are an impatient lot. In strategic planning, that would be visionary thinking. That destination is typically presented in a way that to not pursue is tantamount to (pick an adjective) regressive thinking. They will effort to make clear how our current state would be vastly improved by becoming that future state. Between the current state and future state however lies a gap. And to them there is nothing good in that gap. It’s the only thing preventing our country from reaching their vision. And guess who lives in the gap? Conservatives.

              2. Conservatives are a patient lot. Conservatives are motivated by more tangible, realistic desires like securing the right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. In the gap exists obstacles to those liberal visionaries like the constitution, DoI, laws, regulations, Bill of Rights, state’s rights, elections, and so on. This doesn’t mean Conservatives don’t share to some degree the desire to live in that ideal world. Conservatives just know what history shows us and that is by removing those things intended to secure the rights of the people, that unstoppable force of human nature will inevitably lead to tyranny.

              This is the house that is divided. Each an enemy of the other.

              1. Olly, My explanation is one of several likely explanations for the craziness we see from this administration. I believe other things exist, but part of what I said exists mixed with other incentives.

                Liberal vs. conservative = unconstrained vs. constrained.

            2. “We have many groups expressing hate for America.”

              And the worst group, by far, because they spread the noxious ideas destroying this country: the anti-American academics.

        3. “Let me be clear, any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” Biden said.

          And there you have it, Biden just told the world the reason they will use to explain why some Americans didn’t get evacuated, especially those that have been killed: they refused the heroic efforts made by his administration to get them out.

          1. The obvious question is: Why didn’t you evacuate them *first*?

            Because you didn’t, you turned them into hostages of savages.

  2. Olly, the wisdom and warnings from the framers are unending and undeniable. The misguided among us suggest the tyranny practiced by today’s Left should be eagerly accepted, yet they deny the liberty they actually practice for anyone with whom they disagree. Self-awareness is obviously not their strongest virtue.

  3. So Biden told George Stephanopolous that the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan was inevitable. Let’s go with that. Whoever advised Biden to shutdown the Bagram airbase and remove all but a handful of our military before safely evacuating American citizens and Afghan’s that were truly our allies, needs to be fired, prosecuted and/or court martialed. Had this unfolding tragedy been the Titanic and the Captain was told that at this course and speed, they would eventually run into an iceberg, the Captain would clear the bridge and order all of his crew (except the coal stokers) and “elite” passengers to abandon ship. The “ordinary” passengers on the other hand would be on their own.

    1. “So Biden told George Stephanopolous that” no mistakes were made during the exit.

      Then told the nation that it was Trump’s fault.

      Only in a post-logic world could a politician hope to get away with such an obvious contradiction.

  4. The DOJ is complaining that a state gun law is unconstitutional.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-missouri-guns-idUSKBN2FJ1O8?utm_source=34553&utm_medium=partner

    Who cares? Kavanaugh has already explained that we can ignore the Constitution when it suits. The same clowns didn’t fret about sanctuary cities or voter fraud, or Hunter’s laptop revelations, or spying illegally, or illegal immigrants or Antifa and BLM destroying cities. Now we are supposed to defer to federal interpretations? They have already shredded the ‘law is sacred’ text. The states may have their own interpretations of the law without the help of a federal agency that has decayed into what sometimes appears to be a criminal organization.

    Using a favorite Pelosi word, the states may Resist.

    That’s another idea they should never have nurtured if they didn’t want it to fly home.

    1. Good post Young. Even in the military where it was clearly not a “democracy”, Article 138 provided service members the following:

      Article 138 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) gives every member of the Armed Forces the right to complain that he or she was wronged by his or her commanding officer. The right even extends to those subject to the UCMJ on inactive duty for training.

      Matters appropriate to address under Article 138 include discretionary acts or omissions by a commander that adversely affect the member personally and are:

      In violation of law or regulation
      Beyond the legitimate authority of that commander
      Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion
      Clearly unfair (e.g., selective application of standards)

      The federal government wants to assert their constitutional supremacy (rights) without all the responsibilities (limits) that come with that authority. They are unrelenting in their effort to find ways to abuse the rights of our citizens, while simultaneously doing everything they can to enable rights for criminals (potential “residents”) and those coming into this country illegally. Where does a citizen get to file an equivalent Article 138 complaint?

      1. Olly correctly says: “The federal government wants to assert their constitutional supremacy (rights) without all the responsibilities (limits) that come with that authority. They are unrelenting in their effort to find ways to abuse the rights of our citizens…”

        We citizens have forgotten about our little used right: we have the right, if not a duty, to display and enact civil disobedience against unlawful government authoritarian orders and mandates (laws not passed by the legislature). The political reaction to The Covid only being the latest, most egregious example to date of overstepping that authority. Unfortunately, corporations are also demanding absolute obedience and conformity for most citizens to remain gainfully employed. Coastal elites have all but nullified their own promises to protect and defend …”liberty and justice for all.”

        1. “We citizens have forgotten about our little used right: we have the right, if not a duty, to display and enact civil disobedience against unlawful government authoritarian orders and mandates)”

          Casual, you are absolutely correct, but fascist and totalitarian governments do not permit civil disobedience they don’t want. That is why those on Jan 6 were treated unlike citizens in a free nation. They have been jailed, and I understand tortured as well. They were not provided speedy trials, denied bail customarily provided and were not treated like others who did similar things.

          Additionally, one of the civil disobedience protesters was shot and killed. The records and videos that document her death have not been revealed. The one who killed her has yet been named, nor do we presently have the investigation report. Those things are necessary as the government’s lack of transparency has caused many to believe her death was a homicide rather than a proper shoot.

          Rule of Law seems to have been suspended. That is a hallmark of a fascist or totalitarian state.

          1. “Rule of Law seems to have been suspended. That is a hallmark of a fascist or totalitarian state.”

            It was ‘suspended’ after 9/11, if not before. Maybe you were asleep, back then.

            1. Rule of Law should never be suspended except perhaps in the time of war, but we know you are a Nazi or Stalinist type or at least a fascist (you don’t even know what the word means).

              But Rule of Law has been suspended continuously by the left and the bureaucracy. We see that in our IC that suspended the Rule of Law and lied to the FISA court. We saw that with Obama spying, and today we see that regularly from Joe Biden, whose activities against the Rule of Law are so numerous one would require pages to list and explain.

              However, I am sure you will be Stupid enough to deny the violations of the Rule of Law because that is who you are.

                1. We agree. Now we need to get the leftists that are actively suspending the Rule of Law to stop, but I don’t think the Democrats will permit that.

              1. “…we know you are a Nazi or Stalinist type or at least a fascist (you don’t even know what the word means).”

                You are obviously the one who doesn’t understand the meanings of the terms you use, so very carelessly

                    1. You talk, but there is no content to demonstrate that what you say is true. I have demonstrated your Stupidity numerous times along with demonstrating that you don’t know what the word fascist means. On one occasion, you said it was good for the little guy.

                      Looking Stupid and acting Stupid are the same as being Stupid

                    2. “…you don’t know what the word fascist means. On one occasion, you said it was good for the little guy.”

                      You’re a liar.

                      “Looking Stupid and acting Stupid are the same as being Stupid”

                      You should take those words to heart.

                    3. You can call me a liar if you wish but I am sure enough people remember the discussion. It’s in the archives. A lot of your Stupid comments are in the archives but you have a big problem, being anonymous and being Stupid.

                    4. ” I am sure enough people remember the discussion. It’s in the archives. ”

                      You’ve got the wrong guy, pal.

                      Carry on…, as you will. I’m done with you.

                    5. “You’ve got the wrong guy, pal.”

                      Your name is anonymous, right? I got the right person who doesn’t want to take responsibility for what he posts. You were very clear in your support for fascism. You said fascism was good for the little guy.

                      You are that little guy, just not too bright.

  5. Dennis Prager nails it.

    Commenting on the American helicopters picking up Americans from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Blinken said, “This is manifestly not Saigon.”

    That statement sums up the state of the United States of America. We have become a Society of Lies. As I have known since I studied the Soviet Union and communism at the Russian Institute of Columbia University, truth has never been a left-wing value. There are honest and dishonest liberals; there are honest and dishonest conservatives. But truth is both a liberal value and a conservative value. It is not a left-wing value. People on the left are committed to saying whatever furthers their agenda, true or false.

    I have debated the question of whether leftists believe the lies they utter for much of my lifetime. And I have concluded that they generally do — in part because they just don’t ask themselves the question: “Is what I am saying true or false?”
    https://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2021/08/17/this-is-manifestly-not-saigon-and-our-society-of-lies-n2594250

        1. I’d call that “mistaken” rather than “lying.” Lying should be restricted to **knowingly** making a false claim with intent to deceive.

          1. For how long should one accept the same defense of the same untrue mistake before someone else can rightly label a lie?

            1. I don’t assume that there’s some fixed length of time, since some false claims are more complicated to clear up than others. Also, in some cases the person may be deluded rather than lying. I’d say that Flat Earthers are deluded, for example.

        2. I would say if someone makes a claim they believe to be true, that upon further review is proven to be false, then they were merely regurgitation falsehoods. I believe Prager would not consider this a lie, but rather a mistake that is common for liberals and conservatives to make. Liberals and conservatives however, once learning of their mistaken claim, would admit they were wrong and more importantly, take that as a lesson learned to become factually aware before issuing claims. The Left doesn’t do that. They make the false claim wittingly or wittingly, because they were never interested in the accuracy of the claim. They were only interested in the resulting damage such a claim would make.

          1. What an ironic comment. You yourself are making a false claim wittingly or unwittingly when you say “The Left doesn’t do that.” Some on the left do, some on the right do, some in the middle do, and others on the L, R, and middle don’t, and an individual on the L, R, or in the middle may do it sometimes and not other times.

            As a simple counterexample to your belief that “if someone makes a claim they believe to be true, that upon further review is proven to be false, then they were merely regurgitation falsehoods,” science progresses in part through people making a claim they believe to be true, testing it, and discovering upon further review that it was false, when they weren’t regurgitating falsehoods, but were instead conjecturing something novel.

            I’m not going to call you a liar, but you’re clearly mistaken in some of your beliefs.

  6. The AUMF was simply too sweeping and open-ended. THAT bill should not have been approved. I opposed it then, and I oppose it now. More Americans now see that it hasn’t served us well.

  7. Obama’s Taliban Masterminds

    “When President Barack Obama released five Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for an American deserter [the infamous Bowe Bergdahl] in 2014, he assured a wary public that the dangerous enemy combatants would be transferred to Qatar and kept from causing any trouble in Afghanistan.

    “In fact, they were left free to engineer Sunday’s sacking of Kabul.”

    https://nypost.com/2021/08/16/taliban-leader-was-freed-from-guantanamo-in-2014-swap-by-obama/

    I guess Obama thought that the terrorist leaders couldn’t figure out how to get from Qatar to Afghanistan.

    1. Yeah Sam, fortunately the 5k Taliban released under the Trump agreement are all know to have promised to be really good from now on, and to seek new careers in the environmental sciences and nursing.

      1. “fortunately the 5k Taliban released under the Trump agreement”

        One has to think a bit. We were going to leave or not leave. It is apparent that when the deal was being made, we were going to leave Afghanistan.

        Since Trump was going to take the option of leaving Afghanistan, it didn’t matter if he agreed or didn’t agree with the prisoner exchange. Those prisoners were getting out. It doesn’t make sense to expend so much effort discussing something that would happen no matter what. It does make sense to use it as leverage in the negotiating process.

        (I have don’t take issue with either those supporting leaving or staying. There are rational reasons for both as long as the staying scenario involved supportable US bases where America was not acting as a police force.

        Biden could have chosen either, and I wouldn’t take issue with Biden over the decision if it dealt competently. Biden couldn’t have been more incompetent handling the exit.)

      2. “the 5k Taliban released”

        Since you seem to have visceral objections to releasing Afghan prisoners, you must have the same objections to releasing American prisoners. Right?

        Since you seem to have visceral objections to releasing Afghan prisoners, you must have the same objections to releasing illegal aliens into our country. Right?

        You must have even greater objections to releasing Covid carriers, rapists, murderers and thieves into our country with even more forceful objections. Right?

        Where do you stand on those issues? We haven’t heard from you concerning those issues, so we must assume that you are not concerned about releasing dangerous people into America but are worried about releasing dangerous people into Afghanistan.

        If you are against both ideas, I applaud you for not being a hypocrite like many are. If you don’t respond against both ideas, then we know where you stand.

  8. Biden’s Afghanistan Debacle —

    A chaotic, self-destructive *exit*.

    He left behind (now as hostages) some 10k Americans. He left behind a massive amount of military equipment, forts, and wealth (for our enemies). He abandoned some 10k Afghani allies (and their families). (Care to guess what their fate will be?)

    He pulled the military out *first* — before executing any of the above. Exit Strategy 101: The military exits *last*.

    He, his administrators, and the incompetent General Milley deceived the American public about the strength of the Afghan military and about the Taliban’s ability to overrun the country.

    His administration’s advice to those they stranded? — “shelter in place.”

    Biden then blamed Saigon 5.0 on everyone from the Afghan president, to the Afghan military, to Trump.

    Since the start of this administration, one goal has been crystal clear: Dispense with American lives. Destroy American wealth. This is the first nihilistic administration in American history.

    1. Sam,
      One thing not spoken about is the “tactical” decision to shut down Bagram Air Base first. It was more easily defensible, with multiple runways. This left them the one runway at the Kabul airport in the center of city. Did the Biden administration get their exit strategy from the Taliban/Al Queda leadership?

      1. Another question: why do we still have roughly 8,500 US military in Europe? Was the threat to our national security more significant in Europe than in Afghanistan? What’s next, recall our Navy because we’re not at war?

      2. “. . . decision to shut down Bagram Air Base first.”

        Brilliant, wasn’t it?

        Abandon your military-grade airport *before* executing an exit strategy. Skulk off in the middle of the night, without first informing your Afghani allies. Leave that *military-grade* airport for your enemies to use.

        Then leave as your only functioning airport a puny one in the middle of a city, so that your enemies can encircle the airport.

        Children playing hopscotch have a better strategy.

        1. How does this utter failure still have a job? The Ben Domenech’s 7 minute video embedded in the article is spot on.

          Lying About Afghanistan and the Entire War on Terror
          In that same July 21 pro-CRT press conference conducted as the Taliban was advancing across Afghanistan while the Biden military retreated in disarray, Milley promised:

          We continue to dedicate our security resources to that, to secure the embassy, to secure the international zone and secure HKIA, the international airport in Kabul for our diplomats, our personnel and our continued support to the government of Afghanistan.

          The Afghan Security Forces have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country… I want to emphasize repeatedly, and I’ve said this before, a negative outcome, a Taliban automatic military takeover, is not a forgone conclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments as necessary.

          Obviously, that all turned out to be completely false and utterly disqualifying of Milley’s professional judgment just weeks later. In the presser, he also promised:

          I always personally provided the best military professional advice to President Trump previously, to President Biden or any other president. I always provide that best military advice to the secretary of defense, whomever is the secretary of defense, and I do that for the National Security Council, as well. And — and I will speak also for this one time on the part — on behalf of the Joint Chiefs. The same applies to them. We’ve always adhered to providing best professional military advice, bar none. It was candid, honest in every single occasion.

          As Glenn Greenwald documents, this is quite simply a bald-faced lie. America’s military leaders have lied for decades, almost like being a constant liar is required to reach their level of incompetence.
          https://thefederalist.com/2021/08/18/mark-milley-deserves-to-be-fired-and-court-martialed-for-his-afghanistan-lies/?&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_federalist_daily_briefing_2021_08_18&utm_term=2021-08-18

            1. So I have to ask, if it was believed by top military leaders that the Taliban want an Afghanistan that is inclusive for all, then why have they never made that a justification for ending the West’s presence in that country? Did any of these generals recommend at any time over the last 20 years that the Taliban had gone woke and were ready to support an “inclusive” Afghanistan?

      3. Olly: “Did the Biden administration get their exit strategy from the Taliban/Al Queda leadership?”

        ***
        I think not. The Taliban would have been more subtle.

        They wouldn’t believe that the Biden handlers would be stupid/insane enough to adopt the exit plan that they did.

        But Biden showed them, didn’t he?

        1. “. . . the Biden handlers would be stupid/insane . . .”

          And now to those Americans Biden abandoned (who are now hostages): Call Uber.

    2. “This is the first nihilistic administration in American history.”

      What nonsense.

      As for blame, GW Bush, Obama, Biden and Trump all share blame for the disastrous war and waste of money, as does Congress for passing such an expansive and open-ended AUMF and refusing to subsequently end the authorization.

      1. Some people, bent on deflection, don’t seem to understand the word: “*exit*” (which I even emphasized).

        It was an irrational, self-destructive war, from the outset. But once you’re in, don’t *exit* like a bunch of drunken clowns fleeing a fire.

        1. I understand the word “exit.” I simply refuse to focus solely on that, since the larger errors were in the *entrance* and *longterm continuance*. As for the exit, it started under Trump, and both he and Biden bear the blame for faults in the exit. But GW Bush and Congress bear the most blame for the entirety. You may not wish to speak of that, and you are free to ignore it, but I choose not to ignore it, as I do not wish to.

          1. As an early and faithful Obama supporter, I note that he gets much blame as well for recommitting the US to nation building in Afghanistan. By the way, Biden opposed this effort then and so has been consistent.

            1. As a Senator, Biden voted in favor of the AUMF in 2001. I will blame him for that along with the rest of Congress. Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to oppose it in 2001.

              1. The response in 2001 had to do with catching or killing Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and was supported by over 90% of Americans, including me. Nation building was not part of that initial response.

      2. None of the others are responsible for the withdrawal. You are a a totally foolish person trying to justify the unjustifiable.

        1. “You are a a totally foolish person,” says the guy who is apparently too ignorant to understand that the withdrawal started under Trump, so his claim that “None of the others are responsible for the withdrawal” is false.

              1. If this is Allan, then who would you be? We haven’t heard that name in a long time as justified as it is.

          1. Gradual withdrawal is entirely different than a rapid, poorly executed exit that leads to catastrophic results. If you are too ignorant to understand that, you should turn the power off on your computer.

  9. Olly says: “Swamp Thing = by the book.

    ***
    Good call. It seems like, doesn’t it? Sometimes someone can change a handle but still not raise the IQ that is the big giveaway.

  10. Svelaz writes: “It was the Afghan government who agreed to release 5,000 Taliban fighters as part of Trump’s negotiation.”

    That is correct. As I said, TRUMP DID NOT RELEASE THE FIGHTERS. That might have confused some who generally agree with me, so let me explain.

    I’m tired of dealing with Svelaz, who never agrees with anything but instead takes a tangential to change the focus of the discussion or claim the wording isn’t exact.

    One usually might think that is the result of cunning, but generally, it represents his low intellect.

    I used to explain my rationale, but as I said recently, “It used to be that I would provide you with the answers, but you were so impolite, I stopped.”

    Now I will explain. Trump has no political control over Afghanistan. He couldn’t release the prisoners. Only the Afghan government could do so, and they did that with the agreement of Afghan leaders.

    Svelaz also said: “He negotiated for their release as a condition for removing U.S. troops.”

    Are you telling us Trump couldn’t remove American troops unless he freed the Taliban prisoners? That is ridiculous, but that is one of the problems in discussing things with you. Along with not recognizing fact and the dictionary definition of words, you also screw everything up.

    In a way, it is understandable because your mind is littered with false facts, dumb conclusions and conflicting statements. In the U.S., you support Democrats that have released thieves and violent criminals. To you, it is OK to release such people at home, but not in Afghanistan. To you, it is acceptable to permit illegal aliens to break our laws and travel all over the U.S. even if they have Covid. To you, it is OK to have BLM and Antifa riot destroying property and burning things down. On the other hand, you find that type of behavior abhorrent in Afghanistan.

    There is too much conflicting material in your limited intellect for one to waste time dealing with you.

    Let me make one more point. Trump left office, and troops still remained. We don’t know how things would have played out had Trump remained in office. He might have decided to leave a minimal force while controlling some air bases like the one in Bagram, He might have gone in an organized and civil manner, and we might have had a better Afghanistan or not. No one knows. We can only look at past performance. Trump did what was perceived to be impossible, bringing peace to the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. I wouldn’t pretend to know what would have happened.

    On the other hand, we know what happened with Biden. Complete disaster. War in the Middle East. There is a total disruption of American soft power and hard power as well.

    Biden is totally responsible for this disaster.

    1. S. Meyer,

      “ I’m tired of dealing with Svelaz, who never agrees with anything but instead takes a tangential to change the focus of the discussion or claim the wording isn’t exact.

      One usually might think that is the result of cunning, but generally, it represents his low intellect.”

      LOL!!

      You being so oblivious as usual and not recognizing the irony or your own statement is hilarious.

      I have to remind myself that you take everything in absolute literal terms. No grasp for nuance or context.

      “ Now I will explain. Trump has no political control over Afghanistan. He couldn’t release the prisoners. Only the Afghan government could do so, and they did that with the agreement of Afghan leaders.”

      Yes he does have a lot of control over the Afghan government. After all Trump had full control over the money to fully support it including military protection. Remember we have been there for nearly 20 years and the Afghan government is there because of us. So Trump has a great deal of influence over their decisions. Especially over negotiations with the Taliban. Trump initiated the negotiations with the Taliban. Trump who considers himself to be a master negotiator of all things. You know, because he sells real estate.
      He sought to make a deal with the Taliban so he could withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Now pay attention S. Meyer. In order to be able to withdraw all of our troops Trump had to reassure the Afghan government that the Taliban wouldn’t seek to come back and take over again. The Afghan government was in no position to sustain itself, not even militarily. The Taliban offered assurances that they would not support terrorists and would not challenge the Afghan government on the condition that the Afghan government released 5,000 of their fighters including their leader. Trump or more precisely Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo AGREED to their terms. Trump pressured the Afghans into releasing those prisoners with the assurance that Trump being the master negotiator he is and the “trustworthiness” of the United States the Taliban would abide by THEIR promise. Trump already negotiated with the Taliban, a terrorist organization.

      He assured the Afghan government that his deal was legit and persuaded the Afghan government to release 5,000 fighters, the worst offenders of the previous Taliban regime. This means Trump AGREED to the idea of releasing them. He accepted the Taliban’s demand so Trump could begin withdrawing troops and give him a chance to flaunt his negotiating “prowess”. That all happened before Biden became president. Biden followed Trump’s plan to withdraw, but he mage only one change. He extended the deadline for withdrawal. That’s it. This is why it’s accurate to say that Trump set all these events that culminated into the mess that transpired a few days ago.

      Trump is very much at fault here, but that doesn’t make him the sole target of blame. That goes as far back as Bush, Obama, and Trump, and now Biden.

      “ Biden is totally responsible for this disaster.”

      Nope. He’s partly responsible, but ultimately it was Trump’s poor “negotiations” that set the disaster in motion. Just like his COVID response. Trump is more inept than you realize.

      1. “I have to remind myself that you take everything in absolute literal terms. No grasp for nuance or context.”

        You are a fool. I frequently explain things in detail because I recognize that you can mistake things, lie, or misuse words. I used to try and clean up what you were trying to say if it might be valid, but your brain is like concrete.

        “Yes he does have a lot of control over the Afghan government”

        Again you are having a problem. Everyone has some control over everyone else, but that is not the topic. I used the word political control and made it clear (here and elsewhere) that Trump speaks for America while the Afghani leaders speak for Afghanistan. Just because you are ignorant about who has ultimate control doesn’t mean everyone else is. If Trump controlled the Afghani government, a lot of things would be different and for the better. Biden has control over the US government. Things would be better if the Presidency were in other hands.

        Trump did NOT RELEASE the prisoners, and if the Afghani President said no, there would have been no voluntary release. You can keep digging your hole deeper.

        He didn’t need any deal with the Taliban to remove the troops. As commander and chief, he could order them home at any time. That is what Biden did. Biden didn’t bother with an exit policy.

        “Biden followed Trump’s plan to withdraw”

        No, he didn’t. Now, we will have another argument over what you have just said because you are loose with the facts and the wording. After I explain to you the proper wording, you will invent another set of ideas that either doesn’t make sense or are poorly written. Dealing with a dolt isn’t easy, so don’t expect me to go down that road with you.

        Biden is purely at fault for the horrid exit. Trump has succeeded where Biden/Obama failed along with succeeding elsewhere. Biden chose the time, place and how. You don’t recognize that because intellectually, you are not up to it.

        SM

        1. “You are a fool” says S Meyer, describing himself with the insults he addresses to others.

          1. But, Anonymous, you are a fool and documented the reasons why. You can call me a fool if you wish but make sure to document the reasons

  11. What America and the world watched, with equal parts sorrow and horror as America’s nearly two-decade presence in Afghanistan collapsed in humiliating fashion, was forewarned. From the Taliban’s game plan to the Afghan military’s inability to push back to a lack of planning for transportation out of the country in the event such movement was needed, the Biden administration had information at their disposal. They evidently didn’t find it compelling or use it to prepare Americans for what we’ve all now seen.
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/08/17/dod-ig-report-on-afghanistan-n2594272

  12. The withdrawal started under Trump, Olly. Trump and Biden both own their share of the withdrawal debacle. More than anything, GW Bush owns the debacle of starting the war, and Congress owns the debacle of approving the sweeping, open-ended AUMF.

  13. Watching Biden exit Afghanistan is like watching a drunk play Jenga.

    The incompetent fools didn’t even take our military equipment (or at the very least, destroy it).

    1. Sam…Sadly, I wish I could say it’s the first time equipment, tech, and vehicles were left behind. Sadder yet, it’s by design. Now brand new equipment must be supplied to not only our troops but off-the-books contractors as well, many of whom are well connected to elected officials in both Parties. Saddest of grrrr…no one in DC wants to keep track of taxpayer spent dollars to ensure those dollars are being used wisely, not wastefully. Giving away tech to our enemies when we leave has been the norm more often than not.

      1. Sam,
        These idiots will argue that Biden’s hands were tied on a Trump agreement with the Taliban and in the same breath defend Biden for killing the Keystone pipeline, removing sanctions for the Nord Stream II, and eliminating the remain in Mexico policy. If they aren’t defending disastrous policies, their blame-shifting.

        1. Olly, Biden agreed with leaving Afghanistan, but events that occurred before he took office included the agreement with the Taliban negotiated without the Afghani government’s involvement, cutting of US troops to 2500 (from 15k), and the release of 5k Taliban prisoners. To abandon the deal would have included beefing up our forces again and throwing out the agreement, both of which would have rightly been deemed as a restarting of the war until new terms were met and a recommitment by the US of unknown length. No doubt Olly wouldn’t have liked that either.

          Given US intelligence about the strength of the Afghani forces which no doubt Biden believed, or he would not have forcefully stated them only a month ago, he chose to continue towards an end to our involvement this year. People like Olly can continue their attempt at partisan advantage based on shallow thinking, but fortunately most people like that lack credibility, given their obvious bias – of course they’ll go there, and would no matter what Biden did.

          1. “Afghanistan, but events that occurred before he took office included the agreement with the Taliban negotiated without the Afghani government’s involvement, cutting of US troops to 2500 (from 15k), and the release of 5k Taliban prisoners.”

            Swamp, you have gotten lost in your rhetoric. Trump was President of the US. He controlled the number of American troops that remained in Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan decides on the release of prisoners.

            Trump did not remove all American troops, so Biden had a choice. See my most recent comment. Biden had complete control over the situation, but he never had the abilities of a Trump, so we see the worst of the worst.

            What Biden believed or didn’t believe has no impact on his failure to manage the situation appropriately. This comment is not partisan. We saw Trump in action. We saw him create peace in the Middle East and elsewhere. We have witnessed Biden in action causing war in the Middle East and destroying American soft power. Biden was a poor choice to be a leader of such a great country, but the Democrats didn’t care being as partisan as they are.

        2. Olly, in the same breath, someone will say that he jaywalks and that he wants a murderer punished. They’re both illegal, but only a fool thinks they’re legally comparable. The 4 things you list — the Taliban agreement, pipeline, Nord Stream, and the Mexico policy — are not legally comparable either. If you’re going to call others “idiots,” then you should avoid making an idiotic argument with false equivalences.

        3. “. . . Biden’s hands were tied on a Trump agreement . . .”

          But, somehow (magically?), his hands were *not* tied on the Trump-Keystone agreement?

          I realize you made that point. But the contradiction is so glaring that I couldn’t help repeating it.

          1. Sam, the situations are not analogous. Our forces in Afghanistan were already cut to 2500 (from 15k) and turning that around and scrapping the agreement would have meant a renewal of the conflict, which Biden did not want to do. He agreed with Trump on leaving Afghanistan, but not with him on the Keystone pipeline.

    2. Listening to Biden’s speech yesterday, whoever wrote it for him didn’t seem to have a clue as to why he is being blamed for the disaster that has unfolded. It wasn’t about getting out of Afghanistan, it was about the reckless strategy they implemented getting out. These idiots will plan for a climate change natural disaster 50 years from now, but they couldn’t make a plan to safely and securely evacuate personnel, equipment and weapon stores? For a guy that is supposed to be a foreign policy master, you have to wonder if he’s being advised by Jimmy Carter.

      By the way, did we abandon the Northern Alliance in the process?

      1. Olly, His speech yesterday was the same as one he gave not long ago with the exception of a line or two about how strong the Afghans were.

        He plagiarized himself. In the face of this mess they couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a new speech.

    3. Did you watch the Trump Admin. negotiate an exit agreement with the Taliban while excluding the Afghan government? How would you describe the agreement that Biden was bound to either execute or unilaterally break?

      1. How would one describe the person behind this ignorant remark. This is another commenter that has to look up the word, if. The intellect from that side of the aisle is about as low as it can go.

        1. I take it that you haven’t bothered to read the text of the agreement that Trump negotiated with the Taliban and without the involvement of the Afghan government. The “ignorant remark” is yours.

          1. Anonymous – the Taliban did not honor the cease fire agreement in the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, now did they?

            Joe Biden changed the date multiple times. His Administration was in charge of the drawdown and evacuation.

            This Agreement does not include the specific plans for the drawdown, withdrawal, and evacuation which the previous Administration gave to the current one, which was promptly ignored.

            “After the announcement of guarantees for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and timeline in the presence of international witnesses, and guarantees and the announcement in the presence of international witnesses that Afghan soil will not be used against the security of the United States and its allies, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban will start intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides on March 10, 2020, which corresponds to Rajab 15, 1441 on the Hijri Lunar calendar and Hoot 20, 1398 on the Hijri Solar calendar.
            4. A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire will be an item on the agenda of the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations. The participants of intra-Afghan negotiations will discuss the date and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, including joint implementation mechanisms, which will be announced along with the completion and agreement over the future political roadmap of Afghanistan.”

            https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Agreement-For-Bringing-Peace-to-Afghanistan-02.29.20.pdf

            Joe Biden botched the withdrawal. The Taliban broke the conditions of the drawdown, and Biden did nothing about it.

            Donald Trump told the Taliban that if they behaved badly, he’d send the military to bomb their homes. By contrast, Joe Biden begged for mercy.

            You cannot manage a withdrawal and then blame anyone else for how it comes off.

            1. Karen,

              Trump was President on March 10, 2020. His presidency didn’t end until Jan. 20, 2021. The intra-Afghan talks didn’t start for months after the ostensible March start date and then stalled long before Biden became President. You say “Donald Trump told the Taliban that if they behaved badly, he’d send the military to bomb their homes,” but Trump is an inveterate liar, and he did NOT bomb their homes. BOTH Trump AND Biden botched the withdrawal. I have no problem saying that. Do YOU have a problem saying that?

            2. -Karen S.
              I seem to recall the Biden Admin reversing more than a few of Trumps previous actions.
              Why would the Biden Admin adhere to one involving the Taliban, or the Afghan government? I seem to recall a sudden departure of US troops in the middle of the night leaving the Afghan military at a loss for words.

          2. “. . . the agreement that Trump . . .”

            Since when did this administration become pro-agreement? Would that be before or after they usurped the nation’s rental agreements?

              1. No, it’s a stupid and/or disingenuous question.

                A person is neither pro-agreement nor anti-agreement. Rather, every person favors some agreements and opposes other agreements. Same for an administration: each administration favors some agreements and opposes other agreements.

                1. No, it’s stupid not to be consistent, stupider to blame someone else for one’s own choices, and stupidest to have the exit policy Biden took.

                  1. Bottom line: Biden is (allegedly) the Commander in Chief. The botched, suicidal *exit* happened under his watch.

                    Will he and his advisors own it? Not a chance.

                    1. Bottom line: the exit started under Trump and BOTH Trump and Biden f’d up the exit.

                      I’m willing to condemn both. Why aren’t you?

                    2. “I’m willing to condemn both. Why aren’t you?“

                      Because you are always willing to create falsehoods.

                    3. The US involvement started in 2001 under Bush…so blame every President from Bush until today!!!…and now the Taliban is going door to door murdering any person who has US connections…and Biden/Harris is charging a 2000$ fee to escape…haha what a country I live in.

                    4. They own it whether they admit it or not. According to this article from The National Pulse, it would appear the State department was already positioning itself as a victim rather than a responsible party in this fiasco.

                      The subject line reads: “(SBU) Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau,” and the body of the document recommends:

                      “That you direct the discontinuation of the establishment, and termination of, the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR), and direct a further review of certain associated Department requirements and capabilities.”

                      It goes on:

                      “That you direct the discontinuation of the establishment, and termination of, CCR, consistent with the applicable legal requirements, necessary stakeholder engagement, and any applicable changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual and other requirements.”

                      The document reveals the recommendations were approved on June 11th 2021.

                      Speaking exclusively to The National Pulse, former President Donald J. Trump blasted Biden’s irresponsible move:

                      “My Administration prioritized keeping Americans safe, Biden leaves them behind. Canceling this successful Trump Administration program before the withdrawal that would have helped tens of thousands Americans reach home is beyond disgraceful. Our withdrawal was conditions-based and perfect, it would have been flawlessly executed and nobody would have even known we left. The Biden execution and withdrawal is perhaps the greatest embarrassment to our Country in History, both as a military and humanitarian operation.”

    4. We left behind fantastic infrastructure for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, along with the weapons you mentioned.

      We may well end up sending our military back to Afghanistan one day, where they will face US weapons. This is becoming the trend in Afghanistan.

      1. “We may well end up sending our military back to Afghanistan one day, ”

        Let’s hope not.

    1. Actually, it’s GW Bush’s fault for starting the war and Congress’s fault for voting in favor of such an open-ended AUMF.

  14. “We have the largest military on the planet, let’s use it for one good purpose, to get these people out. We have a beach head in Kabul. We need to keep it open for as long as we can and put as many people onto as many planes as we possibly can.” – Matt Zeller @mattczeller

    https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1427451027004006405

    https://nooneleft.org/

    Thanks to the others on this blog who have posted comments about NOLB.

    #NOLBMoralObligation

  15. Price cited a United Nations declaration calling for “an immediate cessation of all hostilities and the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new government that is united, inclusive and representative – including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.”

    Price said that the U.S. government would recognize a potential new government of Afghanistan so long as that government “upholds rights, doesn’t harbor terrorists, and protects the rights of women and girls.” He did not say how the Taliban could convince the U.S. government that it has reformed itself in this way.Price cited a United Nations declaration calling for “an immediate cessation of all hostilities and the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new government that is united, inclusive and representative – including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.”

    Price said that the U.S. government would recognize a potential new government of Afghanistan so long as that government “upholds rights, doesn’t harbor terrorists, and protects the rights of women and girls.” He did not say how the Taliban could convince the U.S. government that it has reformed itself in this way.
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/anthony-blinken-speaks-on-the-fall-of-kabul

    So far there is no evidence to the rumor that the administration would require this “new Afghanistan government” to celebrate Pride month in June; transgender bathrooms; implementation of Critical Race Theory; sign on to the Paris Climate agreement; banning the use of fossil fuels; mask mandates; social distancing; and vaccine passports.

    1. “mask mandates”

      They already have those — for women.

      Will the administration chastise the Taliban when they, once again, topple statues? Is that a barbarian thing only when Muslims do it?

  16. The Roberts Court has been a disaster for America. The democrats are now kicking themselves for ever opposing Trumps nominees in the first place. Sometimes I think Thomas is the only conservative justice on the court.

    1. Justices are sworn to support the Constitution.

      The Constitution is conservative.

      The Justices have failed, being derelict and treasonous.

      The Justices have a real dilemma: Do their sworn duty or impose their communistic beliefs.

      So far, all judges and Justices have endeavored mightily to abrogate the Constitution and implement the principles of the Communist Manifesto.

      Most judges and Justices of the judicial branch are treasonous subversives, and direct and mortal ideological enemies who must be impeached and convicted with extreme prejudice.

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