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CapitalistSwine
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Jefferson did not dispatch the Navy on orders to blockade the Bashaw of Tripoli, only to protect US merchant shipping. His orders were decidedly defensive, mentioning the fact that Congress was not in session, that the US forces were not to attack unless attacked first. Now, I don't know who actually attacked first, I wasn't there. But he also proclaimed that the US would not blockade any state that was not in a state of war with the US. If they found that any of the Barbary states had declared war on the US, then they were authorized “to punish their insolence.” However, earlier in May, the Bashaw of Tripoli had already declared war on the United States, so this is not analogous to the current international “humanitarian” intervention at all.

But anyway, is not this line of argument all a bit concrete bound? Either the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 grants the power of the Congress to declare war, or it grants it to the President. Either the War Powers Resolution explicitly reaffirms this fact and rests sole power to authorize military action (except in immediate defensive action) or it allows the President to say, “Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians.” Does it give the President the power to authorize military action, or the Congress?

What Jefferson says or did, contradicted himself or thinks he was following the Constitution (isn't it pretty clear that Jefferson was a man of many contradictions?), or whether whose ship actually attacked first is a red herring.

Edited by 2046
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Either the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 grants the power of the Congress to declare war, or it grants it to the President.

What does it mean "to declare war"? Has Obama done it?

Either the War Powers Resolution explicitly reaffirms this fact and rests sole power to authorize military action (except in immediate defensive action) or it allows the President to say, “Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians.” Does it give the President the power to authorize military action, or the Congress?

The War Powers resolution is an unconstitutional overreach of the powers of the Congress. Congress has the power to declare war, not micromanage every act of the military by granting or withholding a made-up authorization power with the intent of nullifying the constitutional power of the office of President as Commander in Chief of the army and navy.

Given that the War Powers act has time limits and the very real possibility that this whole situation may be resolved within 60 or 90 days, it is not established that the War Powers act has even been violated.

If Congress thinks the President is flat wrong and he has in fact started a war then let Congress impeach him.

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I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what the purpose of this military action is, and how it will be accomplished. All I see is some bombings that will achieve nothing except retaliation from Qaddafi, probably against civilians, maybe even American civilians.

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"Obama and the Libya decision" By James V. Capua (March 19, 2011):

"Barack Obama finally has a war he can believe in. The intervention in Libya promises to conform just about perfectly to the president's world view. He hastened to declare in his Friday afternoon statement what it would not entail-- no US troops on the ground, and somebody else will lead it." (And obviously no interest in oil, though there should be. That would be in our own interest. Must not do that.)

Edit to correct URL.

Edited by Trebor
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What does it mean "to declare war"? Has Obama done it?

Within the context of the people who put it there, it means the statutory authority to commence military action against a foreign nation rests entirely with the Congress. Apparently there are some people that think this is “unworkable in our modern times,” or that it limits too much the “flexibility” of the President to “react to conflicts,” or some such, but I disagree.

Now if you are going to ask me to define “war,” allow me to preemptively strike:

18 U.S.C. 2331:

(4.) the term "act of war" means any act occurring in the course

of -

(A.) declared war;

(B.) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared,between two or more nations; or

(C.) armed conflict between military forces of any origin;

The War Powers resolution is an unconstitutional overreach of the powers of the Congress. Congress has the power to declare war, not micromanage every act of the military by granting or withholding a made-up authorization power with the intent of nullifying the constitutional power of the office of President as Commander in Chief of the army and navy.

Given that the War Powers act has time limits and the very real possibility that this whole situation may be resolved within 60 or 90 days, it is not established that the War Powers act has even been violated.

I can't see my way to agreeing that the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional and/or that it “micromanages” every act of the President, or somehow doesn't let him be Commander-in-Chief. Apparently there are some people who think that the US military is the president's personal army, but this is not true.

It's pretty clear that it has been violated because: “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.” Senator Barack Obama, December 20, 2007

The President is required to consult Congress before putting into action US Armed forces, unless repelling an attack or in the event of emergency hostilities. Additionally, he is required to report to the Speaker of the House and he President Pro Tempore of the Senate within 48 hours of having made such commitments, and alas, Obama isn't even in the United States at the moment, and has said that he has no intention of consulting Congress for their authorization because he has a “broad bipartisan consensus.”

If Congress thinks the President is flat wrong and he has in fact started a war then let Congress impeach him.

They should. But like you said, a moot point today.

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What exactly do people here mean when they say our interest should be invested in their oil? Does that mean:

A) Attempting to get good oil contracts and the like when things have stabilized (something we could have done, but chose not to do in Iraq, to our own detriment in light of other countries that took up the opportunity)

B ) Forcefully extracting oil from them through exploiting the situation? We have done that on several occasions and it has never worked out well for us in the long term as far as I am aware, though I would like to be proven wrong.

Edited by Jennifer
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CapitalistSwine:

I'm not disagreeing with you, but perhaps you could elaborate what you think are the political reasons behind this action, if not for the oil?

I don't think this action has been taken explicitly for oil, but I do think that if this were a landlocked country in central Africa that lacks natural resources with a stranglehold on the world economy (i.e. Rwanda), no one would lift a finger to stop it. I don't think there is much done in the Middle East that is not, at least indirectly, a result of the oil there...or, at the very least, the effect on oil supply has to be taken into account before any foreign policy decisions regarding the Middle East.

Edited by The Wrath
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The Pentagon says it plans to hand over control of Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya no-fly zone) as it's called in "a matter of days". But it's not at all clear who will take over. Washington is thought to favour a NATO-led mission but internal disagreements at the organisation's Brussels headquarters may make that impossible.

"President Barack Obama has said the US will transfer its leading role on Libya "within days" to ensure the burden of enforcing a UN resolution against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is shared. He said Nato would play a co-ordinating role but differences remain within the organisation. Moving the operation under full Nato control would require the agreement of all 28 members.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says Turkey and Germany have been reluctant for Nato to assume control, and France is not keen.. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Arab countries did not want the operation to be placed completely under Nato control, but he said he expected Nato to agree to play a supporting role within the next few days.

Mr Obama pointed to past events when the US had acted "unilaterally and without full international support" and had "ended up bearing the full burden.

Italy has said it could take back its offer of military bases if Nato does not take control.It's important that the command passes to Nato with a different co-ordination structure than what we have now," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

And British PM David Cameron said the campaign would benefit from "Nato's tried and tested machinery in command and control".

New Updates:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12813757

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3169694.htm

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/21/libya-live-blog-u-s-to-hand-over-control-of-mission-in-coming-days/

CapitalistSwine:

I'm not disagreeing with you, but perhaps you could elaborate what you think are the political reasons behind this action, if not for the oil?

I don't think this action has been taken explicitly for oil, but I do think that if this were a landlocked country in central Africa that lacks natural resources with a stranglehold on the world economy (i.e. Rwanda), no one would lift a finger to stop it. I don't think there is much done in the Middle East that is not, at least indirectly, a result of the oil there...or, at the very least, the effect on oil supply has to be taken into account before any foreign policy decisions regarding the Middle East.

I am not going to suggest I know what the reasoning is, I am merely suggestion that based on what is known about Libyan and our recent past conflicts where there was oil involved I am doubtful that it is a major reason. It may still be a reason but I believe it is a secondary consideration. As far as I am *currently* aware we do not get any oil from Libya, I would think if we had interest in getting oil from them we would have at least some kind of contract with them by now since we have been able to get a number of other things out of Gadaffi over recent years.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Oil is a fungible commodity for which there is a world wide market. It is in the economic interest of every country in the world that uses oil that Libya participate in the world oil market by exporting to someone, anyone.

Oil is what makes Libya important as a country. Libya was already exporting oil into the worldwide market before the present anti-Gadafi rebellion, and no doubt will export oil into the world-wide market after the rebellion is settled. There is a disruption in Libya's oil exports while the conflict plays out, and if Gadafi hangs on in control of the oil there could be a longer duration disruption. Then the western powers will be forced to choose between changing their policy and accepting him, settling for a long term boycott or blockade to enforce sanctions, or to invade Libya and finish what the rebels could not.

I defend Obama's legal authority to take action, but he is going about it poorly and this will likely end badly. The time to intervene with the lowest cost and lowest risk was when the rebels were marching on Tripoli weeks ago, not as Gadafi was marching on Benghazi. So long as regime change is not an explicit goal of the intervention of the western powers then it is less likely to happen, leading to the prolonged loss of Libyan oil on the world market. Eventually Obama will need Congressional authorization if this plays out as it is now going.

The moral justification for the intervention is to prevent Gadafi from "murdering his own people". That moral justification is being read narrowly and not as a justification to get rid of Gadafi entirely. This will lead to the worst possible outcome for everyone involved (and not involved), a long civil war and sanctions that stop Libya's oil trade.

Meanwhile in Bahrain their army is ordered back into town and gets reinforcements from Saudis, and then they proceed to establish martial law to preserve the King and his Sunni minority in control of the Shiite majority. The Shiites killed in Bahrain are just as dead the tribesmen of eastern Libya are and would be if Gadafi were unchecked. I am in favor of the suppression of the Shiites of Bahrain as they the tools of Iran, but the fate of the rebellion in Bahrain demonstrates the humanitarian justification for intervening in Libya is a hypocritical lie.

It would have been better if Gadafi and the rebels had been left to fend for themselves. Once the "Gadafy must go" propaganda was flying in western capitals, he should have been eliminated quickly, energetically, ruthlessly. Either course of action could be justified based on Gadafy's history. What is actually playing out is just stupid.

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Oil is a fungible commodity for which there is a world wide market. It is in the economic interest of every country in the world that uses oil that Libya participate in the world oil market by exporting to someone, anyone.

Oil is what makes Libya important as a country.

Contrary to popular belief, that's false. Oil comes out of the ground in different forms, requires refinement, and different kinds yield different amounts of usable products. The kind of oil in Libya is “light sweet crude,” and yields a much higher amount of usable gasoline than Saudi or Texan oil. It is generally sold to Europe because it is more profitable, whilst the medium and heavier grades are sold in the US and Asia.

The moral justification for the intervention is to prevent Gadafi from "murdering his own people".

I challenge whether that is a valid reason for intervening. People kill other people the world over. Did we invade China when Mao Zedung was killing people? Or Soviet Russia, or Sudan, or Rwanda, or Chad, or Turkey, or Croatia, or Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, or Tibet, or Ethiopia, or Azerbaijan, and on and on. America's well-being does not and cannot logically require the well-being of the entire world, that would make us a parasite. Unless someone is a direct threat to the US, there is no egoistic imperative to US military intervention. This ideology amounts to an unlimited claim on US property and lives for the sake of others and is therefore an entirely altruistic foreign policy.

The proper foreign policy cannot demand sacrifice and cannot be based on anything other than the principle of keeping Americans free. When we intervene for the sake of saving the oppressed rebels in XYZ-land, we both demand Americans give up their property in moral servitude to the needs of others and we demand US soldiers put their lives in danger in servitude to the needs of others. By what right does the life of a Libyan rebel or civilian exert a claim on the life of an American taxpayer or airman? Before America decides to wage war, there must exist a serious threat of physical force to Americans' lives and freedom. There is no threat to Americans, so you cannot claim proper retaliatory action.

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Someone sent me this link earlier today due to it having an interesting story, but it also seems to have quite a lot of other information, including a useful info-graphic which I will post separately from the link as well. It also has a few pretty amazing pictures:

U.S. rescue chopper shoots six Libyan villagers as they welcome pilots of downed Air Force jet

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368633/Libya-war-US-chopper-shoots-6-villagers-welcomed-Air-Force-F-15-crash-pilots.html#ixzz1HMlVj851

article-1368633-0B489A7F00000578-92_964x412.jpg

article-1368633-0B47B37400000578-873_964x769.jpg

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Contrary to popular belief, that's false.

Fungible does not mean identical, merely close enough to be interchangeable in the appropriate sense. Refinery products of diffeent grades of crude are much closer to being identical and is the basis for the degree to which the prices of different grades of crude move up and down together instead of being independent.

I challenge whether that is a valid reason for intervening.

So did I. Regardless of the reason officially given as justification, several valid reasons could be found in Gadafy's erratic history of sponsoring terrorism and assassinating critics (including some in the U.S.).

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Before America decides to wage war, there must exist a serious threat of physical force to Americans' lives and freedom. There is no threat to Americans, so you cannot claim proper retaliatory action.

I'm not convinced America's participation in this coalition is immoral. Preventing Gaddafi from marching into Benghazi and completely squashing the rebellion may strike fear into other dictatorships (and inspire uprising there) that *are* a real threat, like Iran (and perhaps Syria?). I see it is a small risk for a very high reward.

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I'm not convinced America's participation in this coalition is immoral. Preventing Gaddafi from marching into Benghazi and completely squashing the rebellion may strike fear into other dictatorships (and inspire uprising there) that *are* a real threat, like Iran (and perhaps Syria?). I see it is a small risk for a very high reward.

If those other nations are a threat to the lives and freedom of Americans, then we should declare war on them and destroy them, not invade some other non-threatening country after declaring our completely self-abnegating motivations for doing so, and going out of our way to not seem like we are “going it alone” and participating in a broad international coalition, in the totally deluded hopes that this is going to scare them and not actually embolden them.

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Looks like things are going well over there in the non-war:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368693/Libya-war-Germans-pull-forces-NATO-Libyan-coalition-falls-apart.html

Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart

Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated

French propose a new political 'committee' to oversee operations

Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign's direction

Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts

No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes 'neutralises' Libyan military machine

U.K. ministers say war could last '30 years'

Italy to 'take back control' of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission

Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians - calls bombing a 'crusade'

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If those other nations are a threat to the lives and freedom of Americans, then we should declare war on them and destroy them, not invade some other non-threatening country after declaring our completely self-abnegating motivations for doing so, and going out of our way to not seem like we are “going it alone” and participating in a broad international coalition, in the totally deluded hopes that this is going to scare them and not actually embolden them.

You incorrectly assume that a big, well-funded military like the U.S. has means that we can attack any country we want without serious consequences, economic, militarily, political or otherwise. Some of the countries in that region have become well versed in asymmetric warfare, particularly Iran, exactly because they fear intervention by western countries, particularly the United States. Saudi Arabia on the other hand has tons of funds so they mostly use that as their means to appeasing discontent within their population. They also happen to be allies of the U.S., even though they are one of the main sources of Wahhabist teachings (oh the irony) which puts them in a cozier position than many of the others. "If those other nations are a threat to the lives and freedom of Americans, then we should declare war on them and destroy them," things are just not that simple, most people realize this, and Rand seemed to realize this as well based on what I can grasp from her writings on foreign policy.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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You incorrectly assume that a big, well-funded military like the U.S. has means that we can attack any country we want without serious consequences, economic, militarily, political or otherwise. Some of the countries in that region have become well versed in asymmetric warfare, particularly Iran, exactly because they fear intervention by western countries, particularly the United States. Saudi Arabia on the other hand has tons of funds so they mostly use that as their means to appeasing discontent within their population. They also happen to be allies of the U.S., even though they are one of the main sources of Wahhabist teachings (oh the irony) which puts them in a cozier position than many of the others. "If those other nations are a threat to the lives and freedom of Americans, then we should declare war on them and destroy them," things are just not that simple, most people realize this, and Rand seemed to realize this as well based on what I can grasp from her writings on foreign policy.

I agree with the point of what you're saying, but, to be fair though, this doesn't say exactly what tactics should be employed, just that we should engage the actual threat with the intent to destroy it (i.e. remove it from being a threat), rather than start some undefined “limited military action” against a non-threat in the hopes the the actual threat will be afraid of us. Does this not reflect, for example, "the lessons of Vietnam"?

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No worries guys, the White House says we're not at war...

Yep, that's right up there with the White House claim we're not trying to kill Gaddafi. If we're not trying to kill him, lobbing all those cruise missiles into his compound kinda seems like a waste of taxpayer money.:rolleyes:

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If you are talking about the cruise missiles sent from that ship early on, I believe those were targeting the surface to air missiles that needed to be taken out so that we could bring fighters in. At least that is what I have read and also heard on the news.

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Altruism. Check.

Just War ideology. Check.

Feckless leadership. Check.

Ambiguous mission objectives. Check.

Endless buck-passing, hand-wringing and finger-pointing. Check.

(sarc)What could possibly go wrong here? (/sarc)

Is it just me, or does the Libya situation bear a slight resemblance to Europe in 1914?

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