Monday, March 21, 2011

Conducting foreign relations

Obama sent a letter to the House and Senate about the war in Libya.

By the way, I sincerely hope this thing doesn’t bog down, because everyone will think it’s sooooo cute to spell “quagmire” in lots of different ways, you know, like Qaddafi’s name.

He described the bombing as “a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone”. In case you hadn’t noticed, a no-fly zone, with specific geographic parameters, has not been declared yet; we’re just blowing shit up.

He says several times that US action will be “limited” and “well-defined.” Unlike under Bush, when they were unlimited and not well defined, or well spelled if it comes to that.

And the, “We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations”. Or? Maybe the question of who takes over from us is a detail that should have been nailed down first.

To the increasing complaints about the clear unconstitutionality of taking military action without Congressional approval of any kind, he says:
I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

“Conducting foreign relations,” is that what they’re calling bombing other countries these days. Well, the Constitution doesn’t actually assign the president sweeping powers to conduct foreign relations; the role of Commander in Chief, which he now invokes as a talisman, does not include the right to declare war; and yes, he’s “chief executive,” so what?

“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution.” In other words, he doesn’t actually feel bound by the War Powers Act any more than any other president has since 1973, but he’ll play along as it doesn’t inconvenience him too much.

“I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.” What support? The whole point is that he hasn’t asked for a vote. Maybe he meant that ironically. Does Obama do irony?

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