Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When the Boot is on the Other Foot

I have listened (for days - it only seems like weeks) to Republicans complain that Obama's use of the US military in Libya is unconstitutional because he did not get a prior vote in Washington. That may be true - I don't want to discuss it really.

Reagan used the US military in Libya, Lebanon and Granada without getting the prior approval of the Congress. If anyone was screaming about the Constitution, I don't think it was the Republicans.

(Side note: Since discussing NPR's bias is all the rage, I tried to do a search on their reaction to Reagan and Libya, but there archives don't go all the back to the 1980s - or else I am not looking in the right place.)

Even if you think it unconstitutional for the President to use force without Congressional authorization, I'm afraid that boat has sailed. The last time the US Congress had the balls to actually vote for war, was the day or so after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

7 comments:

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Honestly, while I don't really think Obama was justified in bypassing Congress in this case, I'm more amused by his own hypocrisy on the matter.

It's strange to find myself in agreement with him on anything, but in this case that would happen no matter which side I was on.

Jim said...

I'll assume you are differentiating between the use of force that congress voted for prior to the Iraq War from an actual declaration of war.

I think the Constitutional issue is something that should be looked at. I do not believe that the United States was threatened with imminent attack from Libya, nor were US citizens being threatened either. I do not believe it will actually go anywhere, but that is certainly no reason not to investigate it. A check on Presidential power is what Congress is supposed to provide.

I agree with Jake that the hypocrisy is quite enjoyable.

Tam said...

When a Republican president bombs Libya without asking Congress, it's all cool. 'Cause he's a Republican, see?

Zendo Deb said...

Congress may have voted to "use force" before the Iraq war, but that isn't what is specified in the Constitution.

They are supposed to vote on a declaration of war. Of course "War" is just too icky a word or something.

(The Department of Defense should change its name back to the Department of War. Then we should wait 10 years or so - to clean out the stationary - and then the Department of Homeland Security should become the Department of Defense.)

Joel said...

"...then the Department of Homeland Security should become a collection of empty, wind-swept ruined buildings."

Fixed.

Jim said...

Can't argue with Tam's snark (as if anyone really could...). Retaliation is not a good enough reason for what Reagan did (at least in a Constitutional sense), although it was satisfying at the time. The Constitutionality of that action should have been investigated as well. Would have been the right thing to do. Unpopular, which is probably why it wasn't looked at (given the general cowardice of the American Political Class), but certainly the right thing to do.

VanderDouchen said...

Dang, youngster. The DOD was originally called the War Department. Name changed to fulfill the prophecies of 1984.

The next name change for it will be the Department of Kinetic Activities.