War Powers Act

Is World War 3 On The Horizon, After Assassination Of Iranian Government Leader By Donald Trump’s Orders?

As the new year 2020 begins, the world is faced by the possibility of World War 3 on the horizon, after the assassination of Iran’s number two government figure, Qasem Soleimani, by order of President Donald Trump.

Not since World War II has there been an assassination of a top government leader by plan of the United States, with that event being the murder of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in April 1943.

This presents the potential for any US government leader, such as Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, or a whole slew of other government figures, including the President himself, becoming a target.

And the potential for World War 3, with the close and growing association of Russia and China with Iran, is certainly present.

The President has opened up a can of worms, and has defied the War Powers Act of 1973 to inform Congressional leaders of his plans and actions.

And this comes at a time when Trump has been impeached, and before his trial.

It seems overly political that Trump is trying to divert attention from his impeachment, and meanwhile, endangers US National Security, and the lives of Americans overseas, whether military. diplomats, or just ordinary tourists and travelers.

Libya Success Proof Of Obama’s NEW Foreign Policy Being A Success!

The overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, even if Gaddafi himself is still at large as the author writes, is a triumph of major proportions for President Obama, and adds to his image of fighting against terrorism and international outlaws in unison with the international community, rather than going “Lone Ranger” as George W. Bush did in Iraq!

Despite all the critics who said Barack Obama was defying the War Powers Act, which he was not; and that the Libyan Civil War should not have been intervened in, as many Republicans declared; or the criticism that we had led from behind, rather than use our own air power and troops on the ground, as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman stated; Barack Obama did PRECISELY the right thing in working with the Arab League, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and with the full backing of his Secretary or State Hillary Clinton and his UN Ambassador Susan Rice in undermining Gaddafi, working with the Libyan rebels, and yet NOT committing ground forces or major American air attacks and spending large amounts of money on the involvement!

So not one person was killed who wore an American uniform; not one plane was lost; and only about $1 billion was spent on this crisis, by the latest estimate!

This outdoes the Kosovo intervention against Serbia in 1999 under President Bill Clinton, where no one was killed and only one plane was shot down and lost!

The Republicans may be unwilling to give Barack Obama credit, but his new foreign policy of collaboration with other nations has been a major success, and he deserves full credit for what has happened!

So even in the midst of economic troubles that the President faces, which threaten his reelection, one must hail the President’s outstanding record in foreign policy and ask again: Other than Jon Huntsman, what are the credentials in foreign policy of ANY of the other GOP Presidential candidates? The answer, unlike with John McCain in 2008, is ABSOLUTELY NONE!

So again, if the Republicans have any common sense, in more ways than one, they will make Jon Huntsman their Presidential nominee, and if so, Barack Obama will have some sleepless nights during the fall campaign of 2012!

The House GOP, Barack Obama, And Libya

The House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner, slapped President Obama in the face symbolically on Thursday by refusing to back the President’s intervention in Libya. Interesting, since we did not see the Republican House of Representatives refuse to back George W. Bush constantly in his interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But then when one realizes that the Republican House failed to back Bill Clinton in his intervention in Kosovo in 1999, for the same reason to prevent a total massacre of civilians, one understands this is all about politics.

But it also divides the party nationally, as John McCain and Lindsey Graham see it as a sign of isolationism in the party, in their mind a dangerous trend.

Also, the House acted as a “paper tiger” when they went ahead and refused to cut funding for the war effort against Moammar Gaddafi, but then again, NEVER has the House refused to support a President’s intervention in financial terms.

So it comes down to the reality that the War Powers Act is an ineffective way to deal with foreign policy, and the President of the United States, whoever he is, remains the Commander in Chief, with final control over decisions on committing troops overseas!

The Republican Division On Afghanistan Policy: Could It Affect 2012?

The Republican Party is bitterly divided over foreign policy as the Presidential campaign develops.

Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have both called for cutting back US involvement in Afghanistan, and may be, theoretically, to the left of President Obama in this regard.

At the same time, Tim Pawlenty came out today for a hard line view on that war, joining the camp of John McCain and Lindsey Graham in calling such a viewpoint of Romney and Huntsman “isolationist”!

Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann have also sounded “isolationist”, with Paul for sure, and Bachmann speaking in that fashion at the recent Presidential debate in New Hampshire.

Who would have thought that foreign policy would divide the GOP, when many believed it was domestic policy, the budget, taxes, and spending that would dominate?

But, actually, it is the spending for the war in Afghanistan, and the involvement in Libya, which is causing the rift in the party, as House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner, are pushing a resolution challenging our involvement in Libya under the War Powers Act, something that McCain and Graham have bitterly denounced, and want modified, which may happen!

So this just complicates the battle for the Republican Presidential nomination, and for the Presidential Election of 2012!

Barack Obama, Libya, And The War Powers Act

A bitter debate has developed over President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya, in unison with NATO, to protect the lives of Libyan citizens and remove Moammar Gaddafi from power.

Unfortunately, it is now three months since that intervention, and Gaddafi is still in power.

But no Americans are on the ground in Libya, and to call what we are doing a real military intervention, is false!

The reality is that Libya will soon be liberated, and the War Powers Act, which is basically a “paper tiger” anyway, does not come into play, since there are no combat troops in Libya.

Ironic that the Republican opposition is making such a stink about Libya, and yet most want us to stay in Afghanistan, and some want us bombing and intervening in many other Muslim lands!

In the long run, intervention in Libya will be seen as a good move, even though right now, there is great impatience that the overthrow of Gaddafi is taking longer than expected.

Obama is correct that the War Powers Act does not apply in this intervention, since it is NOT a war engagement in the pure sense! It is more like the intervention in Kosovo against the Serbians in 1999 by President Bill Clinton!

A Clarification On Obama, The Libyan Civil War Intervention, And The War Powers Act

A few days ago, the author wrote in criticism of a group of Republican conservatives who were making an issue of the fact that 60 days has passed since the Libyan intervention, and that a resolution was needed to continue the intervention, under the War Powers Act of 1973.

The author incorrectly stated that no such resolution was required, but made the point that the Congress could, but never had, demanded the withdrawal of troops within a 60-90 day period, and never, realistically, would.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that it is not just a group of extremely conservative Republicans who are making an issue of this matter, but instead a bipartisan group that is pushing for a resolution next week in the Senate to continue support of the intervention.

And it turns out that yesterday, President Obama called for such a resolution to continue support, which is assured, despite criticism of some Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the political spectrum.

The group pushing a resolution includes Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Diane Feinstein of California.

It turns out that Bill Clinton failed to get a resolution within 60 days when he intervened in Kosovo in 1999, with the intervention lasting 78 days, but with specific funding for it approved early on by Congress. In Obama’s case with Libya, no such specific funding has been authorized, and the mission has cost about $750 million already, and has angered forces on the left and the right, including intellectuals and constitutional law professors who contend that the War Powers Act has been further damaged by Obama’s failure to call for action sooner than yesterday.

The author hopes that the resolution will pass, so as to legitimize the intervention, and although the War Powers Act remains considered a “paper tiger” by many observers, it would be best NOT to have it declared totally ineffective, as the issue is not just Obama, but the balance of power between the executive branch and the legislative branch when it comes to war powers!

The War Powers Act Of 1973 And The Libyan Intervention

It is now 60 days since the Obama Administration decided to intervene in the Libyan Civil War against Moammar Gaddafi in unity with NATO, without using ground troops.

So far, the Libyan intervention has not succeeded, and it is exasperating to many that this nation is now, in some form, involved with three wars at the same time–Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, although the Iraqi intervention is not considered a war situation at this point.

Controversy is now arising over the Obama Administration being involved in Libya, and six extremely right wing senators, including some Tea Party favorites, are now demanding that the administration seek a joint resolution of Congress to measure whether the Congress is willing to back a continued involvement in that North African nation.

The list of six senators includes a “nightmare” list of the worst senators in that chamber–Rand Paul of Kentucky, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (all Tea Party activists)– along with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Cornyn of Texas.

They claim to understand the War Powers Act of 1973, which was vetoed by President Richard Nixon, and has been opposed in principle by every President since of both parties. But Senator John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 Presidential election, claims the law is unconstitutional, and that the President cannot be hamstrung by legislation limiting his Commander in Chief powers.

The legislation has never been considered by the Supreme Court, but the understanding of the author is that IF the Congress, by majority vote in both houses, demands a troop withdrawal from a military action begun by the President, that the President then would have a 60-90 day period to withdraw the troops. It is not clear that the President must gain a majority resolution in both houses to CONTINUE the war effort!

The War Powers Act has long been seen as a “paper tiger” that is a feeble attempt to control the President’s war powers. The reality is that in the modern world, the whole concept of interfering with a President’s military powers seems counterproductive, as the President and his advisers have more information about our defense posture and national security, and that senators or congressman who have a political motivation to interfere with smart policy making cannot be allowed to interfere in such a way as to undermine his ability to do his job.

Having said the above, it is clear to the author that the Libyan intervention is questionable as to its purpose, effectiveness, and its righteousness, but to allow a group of right wing senators who, in many cases, either backed, or if they had been in Congress, likely would have supported the Iraq War, to now be so “principled” on Libya, makes one want to laugh heartily, as it is obviously just a political ploy by men who have few principles in reality!

The Politics Of The Libyan Civil War Intervention

With the US involvement in the Libyan Civil War, along with that of France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Canada, Denmark, and Norway, and with the backing of the Arab League, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations, and lack of use of their Security Council veto by Russia and China, we are seeing a political split developing in our nation.

We have learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after earlier doubts, was finally convinced by UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

We have also learned that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen had great doubts on the intervention, but of course were loyal team members once the decision was made for involvement.

Also, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, of different political persuasions and the last two losing Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2004 both felt that intervention was essential.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also have strongly backed the military action, but Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member ofr the Kerry led Foreign Relations Committee, has expressed great upset at the intervention, and Speaker of the House John Boehner has made it clear that the President needed to consult Congress before taking action, which he basically failed to do, leading to a controversy over the War Powers Act of 1973, which mandates an explanation by the President within 48 hours, and the ability of Congress in theory to demand withdrawal after the military action, IF they can gain a majority vote in both houses of Congress, which has never happened, and is unlikely ever to happen!

The lack of consultation so far has angered Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich so much that he has brought up the concept of impeachment of the President, which certainly is not going to happen, but shows the turmoil developing because of the US now being committed to THREE wars at once, all in Muslim nations!

The danger is that Obama might, by what he has decided to do, to intervene to stop mass murder in Libya, could end up in a protracted war that could cost the nation many billions of dollars at a time when we are in economic crisis and cutting domestic budgets in states and nationally.

Additionally, it could cause Obama to have a Democratic opponent in the Presidential primaries of 2012, who assuredly he could defeat, but the attacks that would occur against him would weaken him, and make him more subjected to the likelihood of defeat in the Presidential Election of 2012 by the Republican nominee for that office!

This has happened three times in the past 35 years, in 1976 to Gerald Ford, in 1980 to Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 to George H W Bush.

It is clear that the Libyan Civil War intervention complicates the economic and political scene in America, and creates potentially new defense, foreign policy, and national security issues for the short run and the long run!

Eighth Anniversary Of The Iraq War’s Beginning, And Now Libya!

It is quite ironic that on the 8th anniversary of America’s involvement in the Iraq War, which killed over 4,000 and wounded over 30,000, many very seriously, that suddenly we are engaged in war against Libya and its leader, Moammar Gaddafi!

The first missile strikes against Libya were by the French, but soon were joined by the United States and Great Britain, with the war effort being endorsed by the Arab League.

President Obama has said there will be no combat troops on the ground, that the purpose of the conflict is to prevent mass murder in Benghazi and other locations in eastern Libya, and to allow the rebels against the central government forces of Gaddafi to have a chance to succeed in defending themselves and to overthrow the 42 years long Libyan dictatorship, which has been condemned by UN Resolution 1973.

So we are now engaged in THREE wars at the same time, although Iraq is not considered to be hostile territory anymore, and American forces are scheduled to leave at the end of 2011. Meanwhile, Afghanistan is a war we are now engaged in for the 10th year.

The question is whether we can be certain that our involvement will be just missiles and air attacks, or whether it will deteriorate and lead to combat forces, no matter what Obama is saying now.

The thought of three wars at once, and the economic costs involved is enough to make one sick, and will probably mean further cuts down the road in domestic spending!

And there is concern that the Arab world and Muslim nations, while no friends of Gaddafi, might yet someday turn against the West, led by the US, France and Great Britain, and accuse them of a holy war against Islam.

There is also concern that Obama has not involved the Congress in the war planning, although that fits Presidential actions under Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and the two Bushes, and other Presidents have intervened in a non war situation without Congressional approval. The War Powers Act of 1973 is again proved a “paper tiger”, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich is leading the attack on Obama asserting too much authority without approval of Congress.

So this Libyan intervention has just begun, and is bound to be longer lasting and creating more headaches, both domestic and foreign, than one wants to imagine today!

But at least, we will not be able to say that we ignored a potential mass holocaust, as Jimmy Carter did in Cambodia, and Bill Clinton did in Rwanda!