Where is the US Congressional Declaration of War...

Discuss life, the universe, and everything with other members of this site. Get to know your fellow polywell enthusiasts.

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Where is the US Congressional Declaration of War...

Postby rjaypeters » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:58 am

Against Libya?

Has anyone seen it?

President Obama: "The use of force is not our first choice," the president said from Brasilia, Brazil. "It is not a choice I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his own people that there will be no mercy."

Emphasis mine.

Found here:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03 ... tml?hpt=T1

Will the Obama Doctrine be: "Sic Semper Tyrannis"? A good motto for the Commonwealth of Virginia, but a very dangerous one for the USA.

EDIT: What is the basis, in U.S. constitutional law, for the unprovoked attack against Libya?
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

choff
Posts: 2432
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:02 am
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Postby choff » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:40 am

Isn't the US president allowed to take emergency military action for up to 90 days before congressional approval is required? I believe this was the system during the cold war, as per legislation enacted at the time.
CHoff

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Postby rjaypeters » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:03 pm

Thank you.

You reminded me of the War Powers Resolution, more commonly known (to me anyway) as the War Powers Act. The overview from the Law Library of Congress is here:

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/war-powers.php

I won't repeat it, except to note:

"Conceptually, the War Powers Resolution can be broken down into several distinct parts. The first part states the policy behind the law, namely to "insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities," and that the President's powers as Commander in Chief are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization from Congress, or a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States (50 USC Sec. 1541)"

None of these conditions appear to be met in the U.S. attacks on Libya.

And the time limit is 60 days. Thanks again.
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

Scupperer
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:31 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL
Contact:

Postby Scupperer » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:32 pm

This is a U.N. action, one where the U.S. is not even taking the lead, just providing support. Discussion of the constitutionality of participating in such actions would have to not ignore this and previous history of such actions.

In the past, formal declarations of war have been overlooked/ignored on participating in U.N. military actions. What has generally not been overlooked is congressional approval, even if they don't call it a declaration of war. I believe in this instance, Congress wasn't even briefed, let alone given the chance to approve.
Perrin Ehlinger

Skipjack
Posts: 6045
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:43 pm

Personally, I think that the west should have stayed out of this one.
This is an internal matter for Lybia and it should be the job of their people to deal with it. If something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong), it will be the west that gets blamed for it. Of course the powers that support the current regime will blame the west now for anything that happens. All this will do, is cause more hate for the west in the Arab world. If they want to kill each other, why should we care...
Unless it is about the oil again, of course...

chrismb
Posts: 3161
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:00 pm

Postby chrismb » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:53 pm

I think that in this case, with no "hostilities" declared, any civilian death caused by alliance would be manslaughter and if alliance individuals could have avoided such casualties then it would be culpable homicide.

If Ghaddafi is actually killed in a strike on his residence, this would actually be premeditated murder.

You can argue whether it is OK or otherwise to intentionally kill him - I have no opinion on that - but I think it is immoral that a UN resolution can hedge around this issue and that it serves to encourage a criminal act whilst using tricky words to avoid declaring this as an objective directly. This is beyond 'diplomatic language', this is an incitement to murder.

It is a sad day for legal ethics that we have got into such an immoral state that the UN has stalemated itself like this.

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Postby rjaypeters » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:35 pm

Scupperer wrote:This is a U.N. action, one where the U.S. is not even taking the lead, just providing support. Discussion of the constitutionality of participating in such actions would have to not ignore this and previous history of such actions.
I believe an example is what we in the United States call the Korean War. That was before my time, but my cursory reading indicates you are correct, the U.S. did _not_ declare war against North Korea, though it certainly was a war.

I can't immediately remember other examples where acting on the behalf of the United Nations allowed the U.S. President to ignore U.S. Constitutional requirements for the declaration of war.

Scupperer wrote:...What has generally not been overlooked is congressional approval, even if they don't call it a declaration of war. I believe in this instance, Congress wasn't even briefed, let alone given the chance to approve.
Indeed, I wonder if Congress is going to stand up on its hind legs and call President Obama to account for his actions. Oh, right! What was I thinking? Only if it all goes pear-shaped, otherwise, it will be a celebration of the decisive action and praise of the U.S. military.
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

ANTIcarrot
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:47 pm
Contact:

Postby ANTIcarrot » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:39 pm

chrismb wrote:This is beyond 'diplomatic language', this is an incitement to murder.


Don't forget conspiracy to cause explosions. <rolls eyes> 'The West' gets blaimed for everything. That being the case we have the opertunity to take out a dictator at reasonably low cost. We also have (had?) the opertunity to keep the revolutionary momentum up.

For those objecting to this war, please remember that Libya was not a particularly nice place to live in - and kindly answer the question of what point to you personally does government oppression becaome so unacceptable that the outside world should intervene if it is reasonably safe and practical to do so?
Some light reading material: Half Way To Anywhere, The Rocket Company, Space Technology, The High Fronter, Of Wolves And Men, Light On Shattered Water, The Ultimate Weapon, any Janes Guide, GURPS Bio-Tech, ALIENS Technical Manual, The God Delusion.

Skipjack
Posts: 6045
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:40 pm

I dont quite see the situation as strictly as Chris does. But, I do not fully agree with the attack on Lybia either. As I said, this could backfire at the western powers again. If civilians get killed by US airstrikes there will be fathers that want revenge. The next suicide bomber waiting to happen. Besides, it is not like we have the money right now to spend it on yet another armed conflict...

My other gripe with the situation is that according to the western leaders, Gadhafi is NOT the intended target. So what IS the intended target?
You either want him removed from power, then he should be the target. If you dont want him removed from power, why the military action in the first place?
What is the GOAL of this war?
Are modern generals not required to read the "art of war" anymore?

PS: is there a single way to spell this mans name?
I think, I have seen everything now:
BBC: Gaddafi
CNN:Gadhafi
Chris: Ghaddafi
Making the situation more grotesque since people obviously dont even know "who" they are fighting against.
Maybe they say that "Gaddafi" is not the intended target because it is actually Ghaddafi that they are after? ;)

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Postby rjaypeters » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:51 pm

chrismb wrote:If Ghaddafi is actually killed in a strike on his residence, this would actually be premeditated murder.
The U.S. President can legally order the death of an individual through a Presidential Finding, IIRC. This was probably the legal mechanism use to justify the cruise missile attack which attempted, among other things, to kill Osama bin Laden in 1998. Although President Clinton might have consulted with the relevant Congressional committees before ordering the attacks.

chrismb wrote:You can argue whether it is OK or otherwise to intentionally kill him - I have no opinion on that - but I think it is immoral that a UN resolution can hedge around this issue and that it serves to encourage a criminal act whilst using tricky words to avoid declaring this as an objective directly. This is beyond 'diplomatic language', this is an incitement to murder.
In ancient and modern diplomacy, killing a head of state is avoided unless the intent is to completely take over. Else with whom will the victor negotiate? Also, absent an invasion, killing heads of state sets the bad precedent for wars of assasination.

chrismb wrote:It is a sad day for legal ethics that we have got into such an immoral state that the UN has stalemated itself like this.
Amen.
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

Scupperer
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:31 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL
Contact:

Postby Scupperer » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:55 pm

PS: is there a single way to spell this mans name?


No, but there is a formula.
Image

I can't immediately remember other examples where acting on the behalf of the United Nations allowed the U.S. President to ignore U.S. Constitutional requirements for the declaration of war.

Lebanon, 1978
Gulf War, 1990
Bosnia, 1992,93
Afghanistan, 2001
All UN Authorized, no true war declaration.
Perrin Ehlinger

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Postby rjaypeters » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:34 pm

Scupperer wrote:Lebanon, 1978
Gulf War, 1990
Bosnia, 1992,93
Afghanistan, 2001
All UN Authorized, no true war declaration.

The Gulf War, 1990 and Afghanistan, 2001 both had Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force. Weasel wording, I know.

Desert Storm - The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (short title) (Pub.L. 102-1) or Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (official title), was the United States Congress's January 14, 1991 authorization of the use of U.S. military force in the Gulf War.

Afghanistan - is murkier because the congressional action was aimed at those responsible for the terror attacks of 11 Sep 2001. One can argue the government of Afghanistan was not responsible for the attack on the United States.

Regardless of these excellent examples, I believe my point still stands: President Obama has violated the War Powers Act and the United States Constitution. It has yet to be shown to me where he has consulted Congress.

Further point: Since the President has violated the Constitution and the War Powers Act, what is the legal position of the military commanders who carried out unlawful orders?
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

Scupperer
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 3:31 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL
Contact:

Postby Scupperer » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:09 pm

rjaypeters wrote: President Obama has violated the War Powers Act and the United States Constitution. It has yet to be shown to me where he has consulted Congress.


Do you honestly think the House has enough backbone to push for an impeachment over this?

Judging from all the campaign talk and waving of the constitution, one would expect it, but watching them falter at the overwhelming task of controlling the budget, I seriously doubt it. So far, it's like watching a school of jellyfish with ADHD.

At best, they'll just refuse to fund the operation.
Perrin Ehlinger

Diogenes
Posts: 6958
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:33 pm

Postby Diogenes » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:24 pm

That stuff only applies to Republican candidates that the Media doesn't like.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

rjaypeters
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: Summerville SC, USA

Postby rjaypeters » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:07 pm

Scupperer wrote:Do you honestly think the House has enough backbone to push for an impeachment over this?
I did. I had hope until I saw a news snippet from Sen. Lindsey Graham (one of my Senators) where he said the President did not need Congressional authority. I hoped Sen. Graham had greater integrity, but the scales have fallen from my eyes.

I hoped Sen. Graham better sense than to want to intervene, but he wants to. That moving air you feel is me throwing my hands up in the air in despair and disgust.

Scupperer wrote:At best, they'll just refuse to fund the operation.
I'm not here to argue the merits of the operation (that is being done elsewhere), just its legality.

Thank you all for your time. I think this is enough for now. But you may feel differently.
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters


Return to “General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 8 guests