So, About That Air Campaign I Started…

 

ObamaShrugMany couples — us included — have a policy of asking each other in advance before making purchases over a certain dollar amount. The point isn’t so much to deny one’s spouse what they want as to cut down on impulse purchasing while preserving the principle that medium-to-big decisions should be made in tandem. The asking itself matters as much as what is being asked for; “Honey, I’m going to buy this” and “Honey, I already bought this” both rather miss the point and are (frankly) rather insulting to your spouse. It’s especially noxious if you present these as asking for permission.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the attitude President Obama has taken in his request yesterday for Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Six months after launching an air campaign agains the Islamic State, the president now thinks it’s best to ask Congress to authorize the force he’s been applying, not that he actually thinks it matters whether they do or not.

Even stranger, the president requests — unique among AUMFs, so far as I understand — that Congress limit the kind of operations he may pursue. As the proposed AUMF says:

The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.

There are multiple schools of thought on war powers, with some scholars arguing that Congress’s power to declare war was intended as a check on adventurous executives (e.g., our own Richard Epstein), while others contend that the president has essentially unlimited authority in terms of waging war (e.g., our own John Yoo). President Obama — noted constitutional scholar that he is — seems to have invented a third school, where the president has infinite authority in commencing hostilities, but limited authority in pursuit of them after they’ve begun.

If ever the conservative sentiment that novelty does not equal improvement needed demonstration, I can’t imagine a better example.

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  1. user_959530 Member
    user_959530
    @

    The resolution is not very well thought out and seems like a reaction to the latest ISIL perpetrated atrocity against an American citizen.  The use of the word “enduring,” the integration of coalition partners into the definition of ISIL associated persons without limiting who our coalition partners are beyond stating that there was an anti-ISIL coalition that met in Wales in September of 2014 – it all invites Congress to re-write the resolution.

    If that’s the case, it seems like the President is passing the buck on war policy to the Congress, rather than leading with a clear plan and clear goals, a problem McCain pointed out in the confirmation hearings for Ashton Carter.  So the real question is – will Congress bite, or tell the president that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and his constitutional authority are sufficient to accomplish the stated goal of degrading and defeating ISIL?

    • #1
  2. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Along the lines of Bucky’s comment: I think Obama’s looking for a partner in failure.  If they sign on to his half-hearted and limited plan, they deserve to be partners in failure.

    I suppose Bucky’s approach is the best one: “You started this…”

    I do feel that Obama already has the authority to do this under the existing AUMFs, so Congress wouldn’t be ceding anything by simply saying, this is unnecessary—without further comment.

    • #2
  3. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Tuck:Along the lines of Bucky’s comment: I think Obama’s looking for a partner in failure. If they sign on to his half-hearted and limited plan, they deserve to be partners in failure.

    This is what happens when politics (i.e. Obama derangement syndrome) clouds judgement.

    You start rooting for the US to fail.

    So now conservatives have reached the point the Left was in during the GWB administration: better the US fail than GWB succeed.

    But, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

    • #3
  4. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    AIG: You start rooting for the US to fail.

    I don’t think your interpretation is reasonable.

    I’m not “rooting” for the US to fail, I’m observing that Obama’s half-hearted effort is likely to fail.  He’s looking to spread the blame around, just as he was happy to take all the credit for things like ending the Iraq war.

    He’s not a team player, pretty clearly.

    Having Congress sign on to a dumb plan from an incompetent Commander-in-Chief isn’t going to do a thing to make it more likely to succeed, but it will tar the Republicans, group that might make things better down the road, with the brush of failure.

    I don’t see how that makes it more likely for the US to succeed.  Perhaps you could elucidate?

    It would certainly allow the next Democratic Presidential candidate to do again what the Democrats have already done once—forget about Democratic participation in the War on Terror and blame everything on the Republicans.

    • #4
  5. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    I think Mark Levin put things best on his radio program last night:  This AUMF is primarily about what Obama won’t do and specifies a three-year timeframe in which he won’t do it.  Even if this is your plan–no ground troops and a three-year maximum duration–why would you tell the enemy?

    You wouldn’t, of course, which is why I think the AUMF is primarily intended as a response to domestic political considerations.

    • #5
  6. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Tuck:

    AIG: You start rooting for the US to fail.

    I don’t think your interpretation is reasonable.

    I’m not “rooting” for the US to fail, I’m observing that Obama’s half-hearted effort is likely to fail. He’s looking to spread the blame around, just as he was happy to take all the credit for things like ending the Iraq war.

    He’s not a team player, pretty clearly.

    Having Congress sign on to a dumb plan from an incompetent Commander-in-Chief isn’t going to do a thing to make it more likely to succeed, but it will tar the Republicans, group that might make things better down the road, with the brush of failure.

    I don’t see how that makes it more likely for the US to succeed. Perhaps you could elucidate?

    It would certainly allow the next Democratic Presidential candidate to do again what the Democrats have already done once—forget about Democratic participation in the War on Terror and blame everything on the Republicans.

    1) What is “dumb” about requesting this from Congress?

    2) What is “half-harted” about the effort against ISIS in Syria or Iraq? And if more is required, then isn’t it also a good idea to ask fro Congressional approval?

    I.e., all this is based on 2 assumptions for which no evidence, or even argument, is provided.

    • #6
  7. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Congress should give Obama the authority appropriate to defeating ISIS.  If Obama decides to limit himself, that’s problem.  There is no reason Congress cannot draft its own AUMF.  No sunset.  No unnecessary limits.  If Obama botches it, it’s on him.    No one should give Obama excuses for his failure.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BallDiamondBall

    AIG:

    Tuck:Along the lines of Bucky’s comment: I think Obama’s looking for a partner in failure. If they sign on to his half-hearted and limited plan, they deserve to be partners in failure.

    This is what happens when politics (i.e. Obama derangement syndrome) clouds judgement.

    You start rooting for the US to fail.

    So now conservatives have reached the point the Left was in during the GWB administration: better the US fail than GWB succeed.

    But, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

    Nobody is rooting for the US to fail.  Especially those of us who opposed this sorry single-buttocked political covering action from before the word go.

    • #8
  9. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BallDiamondBall

    We’re not even done surrendering in Afghanistan, and here come the consequences of surrendering in Iraq.  Well, the dead Americans killed to gain what Obama threw away can;t tell you what they think, so I’m saying it for them.  “[expletive] no.”

    If this President wants to defeat ISIS, he needs to find a new President.

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Quinn the Eskimo:Congress should give Obama the authority appropriate to defeating ISIS. If Obama decides to limit himself, that’s problem. There is no reason Congress cannot draft its own AUMF. No sunset. No unnecessary limits. If Obama botches it, it’s on him. No one should give Obama excuses for his failure.

    That’s the best idea I’ve heard on the matter.

    • #10
  11. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Nobody is rooting for the US to fail. Especially those of us who opposed this sorry single-buttocked political covering action from before the word go.

    So now we’re opposed to the intervention against ISIS?

    So what you’re saying is…no matter what…you’re opposed to everything.

    So, what I said earlier.

    • #11
  12. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    AIG:

    1) What is “dumb” about requesting this from Congress?

    I didn’t say it was “dumb” to request this from Congress, I said the plan was dumb.  I don’t think it’s dumb to request this from Congress, and it allows Obama to blame Republicans.  That’s clever, and Republicans are always dumb enough to fall for that trick.

    2) What is “half-harted” about the effort against ISIS in Syria or Iraq? And if more is required, then isn’t it also a good idea to ask fro Congressional approval?

    The whole thing is half-hearted.  Give me a break.  Read the papers, man!

    I.e., all this is based on 2 assumptions for which no evidence, or even argument, is provided.

    Get your facts straight, then we can have an argument.

    • #12
  13. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Quinn the Eskimo:Congress should give Obama the authority appropriate to defeating ISIS. If Obama decides to limit himself, that’s problem. There is no reason Congress cannot draft its own AUMF. No sunset. No unnecessary limits. If Obama botches it, it’s on him. No one should give Obama excuses for his failure.

    Barry just wants to dip his toe into something and extract it quickly, lest his wee nubbin get chilly.

    Ignore his AUMF as written – as Quinn the Frigid here implies – and let him live with it.  He hasn’t needed authorization to do much of anything with or without Congress’s input, like BarryCare.  The only reason, the only one, is so he has political cover and so do future Democratic candidates.

    That is it.  If Barry was passionate about defending Americans or American interests, he locked that in a box and buried it in a catbox years ago.  This latest boondoggle is just Barry Being Barry ™.

    B3, yo.  Dig it.

    • #13
  14. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Tuck:

    I didn’t say it was “dumb” to request this from Congress, I said the plan was dumb.

    I suspect you have a better plan?

    The whole thing is half-hearted.  Give me a break.  Read the papers, man!

    Which paper in particular?

    Get your facts straight, then we can have an argument.

    Which facts?

    • #14
  15. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BallDiamondBall

    Edited: I expressed this better, if less succinctly, in the following comment.

    • #15
  16. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BallDiamondBall

    AIG:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Nobody is rooting for the US to fail. Especially those of us who opposed this sorry single-buttocked political covering action from before the word go.

    So now we’re opposed to the intervention against ISIS?

    So what you’re saying is…no matter what…you’re opposed to everything.

    So, what I said earlier.

    What do you mean “we”?  I’ve been opposed to this from the beginning.

    Speaking of “what you said earlier”, it’s folks like you who are the rudest, most disruptive people on Ricochet.  Your constant demands for clarifications, explanations, evidence, written documentation, just stop conversation in its tracks.  It’s not as though you’re conversational about it.  I’m confrontational in a personable way.  It’s part of my charm.  With you schoolmarms it’s just a bust in the chops every time somebody dares to utter an opinion you don’t like.

    Nobody here needs to be lectured on how to conduct a more AIG-approved debate.  I’m up to here (right here) with the priss sanctimonious clucking and scolding.  Honest to [EXPLETIVING] GOD it’s like walking into a room full of democrats.

    You remind me of Franco’s third wife.

    It has been well established that we do not conduct ourselves here as if we expect to arrive at conclusion, to agree on facts, or to achieve anything.  We do not seek to establish baselines, groundrules, or propositions.  It’s entertainment.  It’s conversation.  So converse.

    I want to know why you think that we must cough up more sons and brothers in order to launder Obama’s dishonest, treacherous approach to politics at home and abroad.  We have already seen what this administration will do with anything that our military might achieve, what it will happen if they should get into trouble, and what will become of their reputations should they live or die.

    The onus is on you to explain to me why you feel that Americans should go back under this President who won election, re-election, and a Nobel prize based on intentionally losing THIS VERY WAR.  (I know why legally — that’s not the question).  The victims of ISIS are the widely predicted result of America’s capitulation to radical Islam under this President.  The facts are all over the [expletive] news.  Deal with it.

    • #16
  17. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    If there is one lesson I learned from the Vietnam War, it was that measured, nuanced, and limited military operations, supposedly designed to wear down the enemy’s morale, do not work.  It is our morale that gets warn down, while the enemy gains a kind of false glory for “standing up to” the most powerful nation on Earth.

    If there is one lesson I learned from the Iraq War (Bush 43 version), it was that it is not yet time for democracy in the Muslim world.  Given the opportunity for self-determination, most of the Muslim world will vote (one time) for a Sharia theocracy.  And even if freedom wins the election, the actual result will be a civil war.  Right now, the best we can hope for in that part of the world is a thug who is our thug, and who will ruthlessly suppress the Islamofascists.

    Obama has designed a “strategy” that is what you would do if you believed the exact opposite of those two lessons.  He wants to use limited military action in the hope that the Muslim world will suddenly be swept up in a wave of freedom-loving democracy and the jihad will crumble before it.  The lesson Obama learned from Vietnam is that the U.S. is evil.  The lesson Obama learned from Iraq is that the U.S. is evil.  Obama is, in short, a complete [CoC self-restraint] idiot.

    • #17
  18. user_656019 Coolidge
    user_656019
    @RayKujawa

    President Obama — noted constitutional scholar that he is — seems to have invented a third school, where the president has infinite authority in commencing hostilities, but limited authority in pursuit of them after they’ve begun.

    A woman would not stay with a man with such an attitude. Her satisfaction counts for something, too. There is a word for this kind of wanton selfishness.

    • #18
  19. user_656019 Coolidge
    user_656019
    @RayKujawa

    Bucky Boz:The resolution is not very well thought out and seems like a reaction to the latest ISIL perpetrated atrocity against an American citizen. The use of the word “enduring,” the integration of coalition partners into the definition of ISIL associated persons without limiting who our coalition partners are beyond stating that there was an anti-ISIL coalition that met in Wales in September of 2014 – it all invites Congress to re-write the resolution.

    If that’s the case, it seems like the President is passing the buck on war policy to the Congress, rather than leading with a clear plan and clear goals, a problem McCain pointed out in the confirmation hearings for Ashton Carter. So the real question is – will Congress bite, or tell the president that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and his constitutional authority are sufficient to accomplish the stated goal of degrading and defeating ISIL?

    What you have left out as seemingly irrelevant is that the 2002 AUMF (the one for Iraq) is on the chopping block as part of the proposed deal.

    George Savage:I think Mark Levin put things best on his radio program last night: This AUMF is primarily about what Obama won’t do and specifies a three-year timeframe in which he won’t do it. Even if this is your plan–no ground troops and a three-year maximum duration–why would you tell the enemy?

    You wouldn’t, of course, which is why I think the AUMF is primarily intended as a response to domestic political considerations.

    I agree with you and Levin about Obama not having any intentions of using the new authorization. But I’m not convinced this is driven primarily as a response to domestic political considerations. It is now news that Obama has been having back-channel correspondence with the Ayatollah of Iran since 2009. And of course, there is the negotiating the deal on nuclear weapons that all our safety depends on, and which is approaching a critical interval where Iran could get the bomb. The timing of this and the associated proposed sunsetting of the 2002 AUMF as part of the deal in light of current negotiations on the nuclear deal with Iran to me suggests some sort of quid pro quo, i.e., one intended to soften Iran’s opposition and actually get some deal with Iran. And perhaps the Ayatollah and his people are making convincing arguments to Obama how to make this work to his advantage, while putting all the necessary limitations on stationing ground troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future? Best take the time required to fully examine and debate the bill. I’m suspicious. But then, as the OP points out, the president doesn’t feel constrained by any such authorization. This negates any need to consider such a deal, at least with this president.

    • #19
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