Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama's New War on Libya was "illegal from the start."

In this Edition:

- Obama's New War on Libya was "illegal from the start."

- ODFW Kills Second Wallowa County Wolf, Collars Alpha Male of Imnaha Pack.


Obama's New War on Libya was "illegal from the start."

From Information Clearing House:

The Illegal War in Libya

By Glenn Greenwald

"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" -- candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007

"No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are. . . . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers" -- candidate Barack Obama, August 1, 2007

May 19, 2011 "Salon" - - When President Obama ordered the U.S. military to wage war in Libya without Congressional approval (even though, to use his words, it did "not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation"), the administration and its defenders claimed he had legal authority to do so for two reasons: (1) the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (WPR) authorizes the President to wage war for 60 days without Congress, and (2) the "time-limited, well defined and discreet" nature of the mission meant that it was not really a "war" under the Constitution (Deputy NSA Adviser Ben Rhodes and the Obama OLC). Those claims were specious from the start, but are unquestionably inapplicable now.

From the start, the WPR provided no such authority. Section 1541(c) explicitly states that the war-making rights conferred by the statute apply only to "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." That's why Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman -- in an article in Foreign Policy entitled "Obama's Unconstitutional War" -- wrote when the war started that the "The War Powers Resolution doesn't authorize a single day of Libyan bombing" and that "in taking the country into a war with Libya, Barack Obama's administration is breaking new ground in its construction of an imperial presidency."

Ackerman detailed why Obama's sweeping claims of war powers exceeded that even of past controversial precedents, such as Clinton's 1999 bombing of Kosovo, which at least had the excuse that Congress authorized funding for it: "but Obama can't even take advantage of this same desperate expedient, since Congress has appropriated no funds for the Libyan war." The Nation's John Nichols explained that Obama's unilateral decision "was a violation of the provision in the founding document that requires the executive to attain authorization from Congress before launching military adventures abroad." Put simply, as Daniel Larison concluded in an excellent analysis last week, "the war was illegal from the start."

For rest of article, see Salon.

Imperial Secrecy

By Stephen M. Walt

May 19, 2011 "FP" -- Glenn Greenwald has a couple of must-read posts over at Salon, and I want to highlight the connection between them. The first post deals with the familiar issue of anti-Americanism, and Glenn makes the obvious but often-forgotten point that foreign animosity to the United States is largely a reaction to things that the United States does. In other words, they don't hate us for our freedoms, or for our values, or even our supposedly decadent TV shows. Rather, people who are angry at the United States -- and this includes most anti-American terrorists -- are opposed to different aspects of U.S. policy. Whether those U.S. policies are the right ones can be debated, of course, but the key point is that anti-Americanism doesn't come out of nowhere.
His second post draws on a just-published New Yorker article by Jane Mayer, detailing the Obama administration's unprecedented campaign to preserve official secrets and to prosecute leakers and whistleblowers. We've already seen the outlines of this campaign in the administration's overheated response to Wikileaks and its harsh treatment of alleged Wiki-leaker Bradley Manning, but Mayer offers a typically thorough account of just how widespread the administration's campaign is and I recommend you read it for yourself. The irony, of course is that candidate Obama used to be a loud advocate of greater transparency in government. But now that he's president, not so much.

The point I want to highlight, however, is that these two phenemona are tightly linked. America's global military presence, and its penchant for intervening in other countries for various reasons, inevitably generates a hostile backlash in lots of places. We tend to see our actions as wholly benevolent, in part because we take our leaders' rhetoric at face value and assume that if our stated purpose is noble, then the people whose countries we are meddling in will see it that way too. But no matter how noble our aims may be, military intervention and occupation inevitably creates winners and losers, and some of the losers aren't very happy about it. And because force is a crude instrument, even well-intentioned actions often have unfortunate unintended consequences (like civilian deaths). And so some people plant IEDs, or organize suicide attacks on our troops or our clients, and the most extreme of them even fly airplanes into buildings.

When things like this happen, Americans begin to see the world as increasingly hostile and dangerous, and so they naturally demand that the government do more to protect them. And as both Joseph McCarthy and Dick Cheney understood, the easiest way to convince people to give up their civil liberties is to magnify foreign threats. Once people are sufficiently scared, they will be more than happy to compromise civil liberties, especially if they think this is necessary for their protection (see under: Patriot Act).

For rest of Article see "Foreign Policy."

ODFW Kills Second Wallowa County Wolf, Collars Alpha Male

From ODFW:

Subject: Second uncollared wolf killed by ODFW last night
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 10:02:46 -0700
From: Michelle Dennehy

Update May 19, 2011

Second wolf killed to reduce livestock losses

A second uncollared wolf from the Imnaha pack was killed by ODFW last night (May 18) as part of efforts to reduce livestock losses by wolves.

The young female wolf was shot on private land. At the time, the wolf was with four other wolves from the pack (including one of the younger collared wolves) in an area where livestock depredation has occurred this year.

The latest confirmed depredation by a wolf (a calf) occurred the evening of May 16, 2011. All wolf kills of livestock this year have taken place on private land.

More information:


Update May 19, 2011 3 p.m.

Imnaha alpha male wolf re-collared

SALEM, Ore.—The Imnaha wolf pack’s alpha male was fitted with a new working GPS collar today.

Its GPS collar stopped working back in May 2010.

The alpha male was found in good condition in a trap set by ODFW on private land in Wallowa County, east of Joseph, Ore. He was tranquilized, fitted with a new collar, and released.

The trap was set as part of efforts to catch and kill two uncollared wolves from the Imnaha pack, to reduce livestock losses by wolves in the area.

As the two uncollared wolves have been killed, ODFW has now removed traps from Wallowa County.

“We hope the experience discourages the alpha male from returning to this area, which is private land with livestock operations,” noted Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.


No comments: