GUEST POST by McKinneyTexas, NOT by Gary Farber
First, thanks to Gary Farber for the kind invitation to guest post. Initially, I'd begun a sort of semi-reflective, Kumbaya piece but then it occurred to me that my role was to introduce of bit of diversity here at ObWi, to provoke thought from the other side of the spectrum. So, here it is: your dose of provocation:
One glaring fault of the Left-in-Power is its lack of respect for the constitutional process on that most fundamental question of committing the country to war.
First, under Clinton and then under Obama, US troops were committed to combat operations overseas when no US vital interest was at stake and certainly no attack on US citizens or interests anywhere was imminent. Neither commitment was subject to public debate, or more importantly, authorized by congress.
Compare this to the much reviled Bush II administration and its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Public debate? Regarding the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (Pub.L. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, enacted September 18, 2001), which led to troops in Afghanistan, no, not much debate. The consensus was near-unanimous, coming as it did on the heels of 9-11.
Iraq? The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, (Pub.L. 107-243, 116 Stat. 1498, enacted October 16, 2002, H.J.Res. 114) was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243.
It followed months of debate and had fairly widespread bipartisan support (yes, I know, we were all misled, etc.; that is not the point of this piece).
War is a big deal, period. We can argue whether the First Amendment free speech reaches corporations or whether abortion is or is not within the scope of constitutional protection, but what we can't argue is whether it is Congress or the President who gets to start a war short of immediate self defense.
Two successive Democratic administrations have openly flouted fundamental constitutional principles, yet where is the outrage on the left? Sure, Kucinich got frisky, but he's an outlier.
The left prides itself on adherence to constitutional principle, yet those few voices I hear aren't very loud and there's very little resonance. Bush's military actions, on the other hand, were completely within the law. (I'm not talking about Guantanamo or Abu Graib, I'm talking about the military aspects of invading Afghanistan and Iraq.) Why isn't Bush getting credit and why aren't Clinton/Obama getting slammed?
As a personal aside, whacking a guy like Khadafi is not a bad thing, at least in theory. I felt that way about Saddam Hussein. At the time, it seemed to me, what is the downside to taking a guy like this out? Naiveté is a valid mitigating factor once. Carried on into perpetuity, it gets to be a bit much. We can't fix every rotten bastard out there without a fundamental overhaul in how we view the world and the amount of standing military we are willing to support indefinitely. And if we did—which we won't—and even if our reasons for doing so were the purest ever known in history, eventually, we'd all be worse off. Empire is not a good game these days, if it ever was.
Thanks Gary, again, for the invite.