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Does Obama have a fool for a client?

President Obama, former adjunct Constitutional law professor, has taken on the role of WH legal counsel, indeed legal counsel for other more involved departments as well, in determining that what the US is doing in Libya is not "hostilities." Pentagon and Dept. of Justice legal opinions were rejected.

President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate president now cements and extends the right of US presidents to define "hostilities," and to use any armaments anywhere for these "kinetic actions."

Purportedly Abraham Lincoln said that "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."


jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

So those congressfolk suing him might have quite a case. This could get interesting.

Submitted by jawbone on

From Amy Davidson's analysis at The New Yorker.

Does Obama really believe that it's not war if one power attacks another and the attacked country is unable to retaliate or does not retaliate effectively? Does he think Nazi Germany was within its rights to invade the small European nations it hit first "because it could" without fear of significant retaliation?

Read the following carefully. What kind of thinking went into this torture of the English language?

U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.

Is the point that, while we are bombing Libya, we are doing it from a distance, out of Qaddafi’s forces’ range, so there aren’t “exchanges” of fire, just one-way barrages—hostility, rather than hostilities? By the same reasoning, it wouldn’t count as war if any overwhelming force attacked anyone who couldn’t effectively hit back; that exemption could apply not only to cruise missiles and drones but to a column of tanks rolling into a village. Is the only concern of the War Powers Act—is our only concern about war—whether our own soldiers can be shot? Aren’t we also interested in making sure there is some accountability when our government decides to shoot? (Would, someday, Congress have a say when it came to human troops, but not robot soldiers?) A war is not simply a short-term public-health issue; it can inveigle our country diplomatically, financially, and morally for decades.

Really, in my worst imaginings of what kind of president Obama would be I never, ever, imagined he could be this awful.

Bush III...on steroids.