Yesterday I noted a strange silence from the anti-war left regarding Obama’s Congress-free decision to bomb Libya’s air defense system back into the 19th century. Well, turns out they just needed a little time to shake the rust off.
Ralph Nader called for Obama to be impeached for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he participated in an anti-war demonstration outside the White House. From The Hill:
“[Bush officials] were considered war criminals by many people. Now Barack Obama is committing the same crimes,” Nader said. “In fact, worse ones in Afghanistan. Innocents are being slaughtered, we are creating more enemies, he is violating international law.”
Michael Moore, who’s descended into a sad, bitter shadow of his former self, let forth a volley of tweets criticizing the strikes (Twitter being his biggest platform these days in lieu of Oscar podiums). Here’s some of Moore’s trademark wit on display:
It’s only cause we’re defending the Libyan people from a tyrant! That’s why we bombed the Saudis last wk! Hahaha. Pentagon=comedy
And we always follow the French’s lead! Next thing you know, we’ll have free health care & free college! Yay war!
We’ve had a “no-fly zone” over Afghanistan for over 9 yrs. How’s that going? #WINNING !
Khadaffy must’ve planned 9/11! #excuses
Khadaffy must’ve had WMD! #excusesthatwork
Khadaffy must’ve threatened to kill somebody’s daddy! #daddywantedjeb
Apparently Moore doesn’t find the wholesale slaughter of civilians by an insane dictator excuse enough for intervention. He also apparently finds it to be a good opportunity for cheap laughs.
And finally, we have the reliably crazy wing of the Democratic Party. From Politico:
Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.
Good ol’ Dennis Kucinich is also pressing for impeachment. And perhaps underscoring why presidents and the Pentagon often avoid involving Congress in military decisions as much as possible, Rep. John Larson (Conn.) posed this series of queries during a conference call with media (emphasis added):
“Whose side are we on? This appears to be more of a civil war than some kind of a revolution. Who are protecting? Are we with the people that are supposedly opposed to [Qadhafi]? You think they have a lot of people with him? If he is deposed, who will we be dealing with? There are a lot of questions here from members.”
This is certainly not to say that I think the power of Congress to declare war is a bad idea. The president should seek approval from Congress for all large-scale military actions. In fact, it’s pretty much his constitutional duty to do so. But when it comes to time-sensitive operations, Congress is probably the last deliberative body you’d want involved, as the above quote amply illustrates.
However, there is a good argument to be made that Obama’s actions were outside the scope of his power. For example, here’s the man himself, Barack Obama, in 2007:
“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Hat-tip to The Agitator.