President Obama rejected senior White House counsel when he decided to continue engagement in Libya without seeking approval from Congress. On PBS News Hour, Senator Harry Reid defended this action saying:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: The War Powers Act has no application to whats going on in Libya.
Jim Lehrer: None?
Senator Reid: I dont believe so. You know, we did an authorization for Afghanistan. We did one for Iraq. But we have no troops on the ground there, and this thing is going to be over before you know it anyway. So I think its not necessary.
While presidents have been pissing on the War Powers act since its inception, it’s hard not to get upset over this. First, whether we went through congress to authorize interventions in Iraq or Afghanistan has no relevance to the discussion at hand. It’s just noise. I’m reminded of the observation (I believe it’s from Orwell) that our “defense” organization is like a cuttlefish: it defends itself by spewing forth a cloud of ink. Of course in the modern world this is done over the television rather than in print, but it’s a good simile.
He goes on to say that the war powers act isn’t relevant here because
- We have no ground troops in Libya
- “This thing is going to be over before you know it anyway”
But the war powers act doesn’t restrict itself to ground troops, so the first point is irrelevant. The entire purpose of the war powers act is to specify a time limit to military engagement, above which the president must request congressional approval. We have exceeded this time limit, so the war powers act is relevant.
I have to say, it’s distressing that a politician can come out on PBS and spew such utter and complete bullshit without being called on it. Harry Reid should be drummed out office. We should go ahead and impeach Obama. Whether these guys are Democrats or Republicans is absolutely irrelevant to the issue, which is their abuse of power. Frankly, as much as the Republicans hate Obama, we might finally have a chance of getting a president impeached for a real abuse of power, setting an important precident.
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defence, joined in the bullshitathon, sayin about Afghanistan:
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter. I think that the Taliban have to feel themselves under military pressure and begin to believe that they cant win, before theyre willing to have a serious conversation.
Okay, we’ve been at war in Afghanistan for 10 years. Mr. Gates feels like we need an additional 6 months before they will feel themselves under military pressure? If they still feel like they can win after 10 years of U.S. assault, if they are not “willing to have a serious conversation” after ten years of brutal bombing and attack from the worlds largest military force, what’ going to happen in the next six months to change that?
These statements should be compared to the bullshit spewed towards the end of our vicious, cruel and unjustified assault of Vietnam. One might note that the bullshit is of very similar texture, color and smell. The only difference is this stuff is fresh.