Update: An astute reader noted I had already used this blog title two years ago. I guess that just shows my consistency on the topic.
A periodically recurring theme on this blog is how there is little, if any, true difference between President George W Bush and President Obama; at least from a libertarian viewpoint. A couple months ago I noted the lies leading into the Iraq war and the lies leading into the current war against
Syria ISIS were basically the same. It would be hard to imagine Obama could do anything to make an anit-war libertarian such as myself believe Obama could become even more Bush-like. I guess I should know better than to underestimate President Obama. He found a way to make himself completely indistinguishable from Bush.
Here are a few lines from President Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly (via Buzzfeed):
There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil.
The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.
No god condones this terror.
Wow, those lines sound like they were spoken by President Bush himself. Yet sadly they came instead from Nobel Peace recipient President Barack Obama.
To give a comparison, here are a few quotes from President GW on Wikiquotes:
My administration has a job to do and we’re going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
Nope, I don’t see a difference between the two. Too bad the US didn’t have at least one major party that opposed war and foreign interventionism. Going past the two big parties, I am happy to note the Libertarian Party has come out against Obama’s new war. Perhaps in the 2014 election more voters should be looking at independent and third-party candidates, especially if they are against war.
PS. I think I forgot to post this last week. Here is the latest video from Remy, which happens to be about the ISIS crisis:
PPS. OK, since Obama is going to create more wounded veterans with his new war it might be appropriate to show this video as well:
PPPS. Oh yeah, the title of this post:
I just got done watching President Obama’s remarks about ISIL. This will be a short post, there will be plenty of time for more in-depth posts. While addressing the nation he basically set out his strategy to Degrade and Destroy ISIL (he has his own catch phrase like “shock and awe”, remember that one?). Basically he wanted to let it be known he will be working with a coalition of countries to accomplish his goals.
To meet those goals he has ordered air strikes against ISIL a month ago. He also noted troops will be sent, but they won’t be involved in the fight? Does anyone truly believe that any boots on the ground in Iraq would be kept out of the battle? Similar political lines have been used by more than one President…
A very troubling part of Obama’s speech was to commit to chasing ISIL everywhere. He made it sound unilateral and as if he doesn’t care what country he has to bomb. Does that mean that the Obama administration will continue to bomb people (many of whom are innocent) in other countries with unmanned drones? This move by Obama cannot be called “Bushes fault”. This is a war Obama is going to have to own.
Another troubling talking point from Obama was that he “welcomes support” from Congress. But then goes on to say he does not require authority from Congress to act. The Obama administration over the years has said the other side is unwilling to meet half way on anything. It is hard to meet half way with a President that believes he can do anything he wants without Congressional authority.
Finally, I have a question for many of those on the left that I marched alongside protesting GW Bush’s war in Iraq. Will you continue to stand up for your beliefs against war? Or will you continue to believe what Obama says?
One thing that gets tiring from a libertarian point of view is the bi-partisan support for interventionism overseas. Just as tiring is the bi-partisan bickering where the two sides say it is the lies of the other side that are worse. Personally I wish both sides would grow up, look at each political leader individually, and without regards to party. But that is of course unlikely to happen any times soon… Which brings up today’s topics: Iraq War lies!
During the Bush years as a libertarian I was more than happy to speak (and join protest marches) against the Iraq War. And who can forget the 935 ‘false statements’ made by the Bush administration as reported by CNN. True, many of those ‘false statements’ were perhaps over-stated by CNN. But the majority of them stand as lies. Those were the good old days when I knew as a libertarian at least one of the big parties was anti-war!
Now lets fast forward to the Obama administration. Obama has already proved he just as war-hawkish as Bush by his handling of Syria. But now he has taken his “if you like your plan you can keep it” lies over to foreign policy. The Obama administration however is getting smarter about its lies. This time it’s repeating the same line in hope that nobody notices the President is doubling the troops sent to Iraq.
This from two weeks ago via the Washington Post:
Obama said he would send up to 300 additional U.S. Special Operations troops to better assess the situation on the ground, where forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have moved ever nearer to Baghdad, and to determine “how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.”
It was promised by the Obama administration that these 300 “advisers” were not combat troops.
Now we have this from this week via CBS:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.
The new injection of manpower brings the total number of U.S. personnel sent to Iraq to deal with the recent crisis to approximately 800.
Is that the key for Obama to keep the anti-war portion of his party happy? Use the same line a couple of weeks apart and hope nobody notices that these are two separate occurrences of 300 ‘advisers’ being sent? Apparently it works, since I’m seeing very little resistance to this move from the left-leaning media sources. Nobody seems to be calling him out on his promise of keeping boots out of this conflict.
Most of the resistance I’ve seen from the left-leaning sources have been attacking Bush for what Obama is doing. That line is getting old. Yes, Bush was wrong and told many lies getting us into a bad war. But that doesn’t excuse Obama doing the same thing. Things are eerily similar to 2002 right now. I have one question: If Obama gets us into another full-scale war will it continued to be called Bush’s War? I think by that time we can call it the Bush/Obama War.
Personally I think it is time to cut our losses and completely pull out of Iraq. That includes the embassy. Why keep personnel and
combat troops advisers in harm’s way for a war we should not even be involved in. I won’t even bother elaborating on that thought. Partisan politicians on both sides of the political spectrum will always listen to the war-hawks. Oh well, maybe I can look forward to having anti-war allies on the left again when we have a Republican President.
I’ve been looking through the amendments added to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015 (HR 4870). Earlier today I noted that South Dakota’s Representative Kristi Noem voted on the side of civil liberties by defunding illegal NSA activities. I applaud her for that vote. Now it is time to look at another amendment to the defense appropriations act she voted for that I feel is bad.
Rep Cotton (R-AR) submitted an amendment (905) that basically prevents President Obama from transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for one year. This amendment was offered by Rep Cotton as a response to Obama unilaterally choosing to swap Sgt Bergdahl for Guantanamo Bay prisoners. That act from Obama was technically illegal because the NDAA requires the President to give a thirty-day notice to Congress before such transfers can happen.
I call bullshit on Rep Cotton’s reason for submitting this amendment.
Back when campaigning for this first term the closure of Guantanamo Bay was one of Obama’s biggest campaign promises. A promise he has failed to accomplish. There appears to be two very large reasons Obama has failed to keep this promise:
- Congressional war hawks in both parties do not want Guantanamo Bay closed. Rep Cotton is among those who will do anything possible to keep Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay.
- Obama has never really tried to close Guantanamo Bay. It is true that Obama has raised Guantanamo Bay as a talking point many times over the years. Yet he has failed to ever try using his political power to accomplish this goal. Now this late into his second term Obama simply doesn’t have the political power to make such a change actually happen.
Rep Cotton is using the current Obama Bergdahl scandal as political cover in a means to keeping Guantanamo Bay open. The Obama administration in turn is playing political games by saying this amendment would actually be unconstitutional because it would diminish the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief. Both Congressional war hawks and the White House are content with this battle because it keeps focus away from the debate that should actually be happening: should Guantanamo Bay be closed.
Personally I think Guantanamo Bay is the antithesis of what American is meant to stand for. The indefinite detaining of people without any true means of due process goes against the principles this country was founded upon. Ironically some of the very same politicians I hear talk about “natural-born rights” are also the same the politicians that support the existence of Guantanamo Bay. If someone believes in natural-born rights it has to be for EVERYONE; and not just for people who are born in the United States. Allowing the government to arbitrarily choose who gets natural-born rights and who doesn’t has the endgame effect of reducing the potential liberties for all people; including US citizens. Government officials have often claimed Guantanamo Bay is important because our Constitution and laws do not apply there. The very fact that claim is made in support of Guantanamo Bay should actually be the reason to show why it should not exist. Our morals should not disappear when we leave our national border!
Are the people in Guantanamo Bay bad? Most likely they are. But it is time to stop pretending we as a country have the right to detain people indefinitely in an ambiguous and unwinnable “War on Terror”. I don’t know what should be done with the prisoners that currently ‘reside’ in Guantanamo Bay; but I most certainly believe the current solution is NOT Constitutional or morally acceptable. It is time for Congress and the White House to actually try looking for an answer to removing this morally bankrupt detainment center from our country.
Back to Cotton’s amendment. The amendment passed 230-184 along highly partisan lines. Yet it is important to remember the vote was only among party lines because the Democrats voting knew it would pass not matter what they voted. If there were too many Republicans parting from leadership in this vote there is no doubt more war hawks from the Democrat side would have stepped up and ensured the amendments passage.
I don’t really think the amendment will make it through the Senate. But it doesn’t have to. Debate will take place about the amendment. Reid will accuse Republicans of playing political games. McConnel will accuse Reid of being a dictator. In the end the amendment will be dropped. That will be a case of Reid and McConnel showing modern-day bi-partisanship: both parties arguing over political games to keep attention away from the real issue.
Unfortunately in South Dakota our lone Representative Kristi Noem decided to be part of this political straw-man battle; instead of actually standing up for what is right and arguing about whether Guantanamo Bay should remain open. Maybe I was expecting too much to think that DC Republicans care about little things like natural-born rights……
Here is the actual text of Cotton’s amendment for those interested. Basically if passed it would prevent the President from transferring prisoners until the next defense appropriations bill is passed in 2016.
At the end of the bill (before the short title) insert the following:
Sec. __. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to transfer or release any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the individual’s country of origin or to any other foreign country.
This morning National Security Adviser Susan Rice gave remarks in regards to attacking Syria. Following this speech was White House Press Secretary Jay Carney giving the administrations updates on Syria. Both were pushing hard for military action in Syria.
At the heart of Susan Rice’s speech was the old “for the children” tactic. Rice multiple times mentioned the hundreds of innocent children that were killed by the Assad administration using chemical weapons. There was no mention of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of children that were killed by more ‘conventional’ means in the Syrian Civil War. Like most Americans I believe it is an outrage for innocent children to be killed. However not everyone agrees with Rice (and Obama) that killing more Syrians, including children, with military strikes is the best answer. Killing more children in the name of “for the children” just seems morally vacant.
Another noteworthy portion of her speech was the mention of “energy security”. Wow! Does anyone but me remember the Bush administration being attacked by the left (and libertarians like me) for going to war for oil? Here we have the National Security Adviser actually saying the oil in the region is part of why we are getting involved. Will the same crowd that was against the Iraq war oppose action in Syria for the same reason? I would like to think they will. However, so far most of that crowd appears to be quiet right now.
The rest of the Rice speech is not worth mentioning. It was normal Obama administration war hawk talking points. As a side note, I noticed many people in my twitter feed took notice of the fact that Susan Rice was giving these remarks just shy of the 1 year anniversary of the Benghazi attacks.
Carney in his daily presser was much more hawkish. He indirectly made the case that over the last two years the US has exhausted all non-military options with Syria. This includes a proposal by Russia to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. Carney made the case that the Assad administration cannot be trusted. Ironically Carney also indirectly made the case that we should ignore the UN because Syria is ignoring the UN. Really? So much for United States taking the moral high road. To add insult, Carney also mirrored Obama in saying that Congressional approval was not necessary to strike Syria…
If the Republicans don’t mess up in the next few months I could see Syria becoming an election-killer for Democrats in 2014. Who knows, this might provide an opportunity for more libertarian-leaning legislators to reside in DC. No matter what happens, it seems the Obama administration is intent on going to war with Syria (with or without congressional approval or public support).
This last Saturday a protest against possible War with Syria was held. The crowd was small but very adamant of their position. I am proud to have been part of the event. Tomorrow (Saturday, Sept 7) another rally against possible war in Syria will be held. See the Facebook Event for time and location information.
In addition to the rally I would urge people to contact their representatives in DC. A week ago President Obama planned to take action against Syria without congressional approval; shortly after he caved to pressure and decided to ask for Congressional authorization (perhaps Senator Obama reminded him of that little thing called the Constitution). I would like to think the world-wide Rally’s against War in Syria had some part in his decision. By focusing on legislators in DC we may get similar results and avoid a path that will only lead to more bloodshed.
For those living in South Dakota, here are some ways to contact our legislators and let them know War with Syria is not wanted:
- Senator John Thune
- Senator Tim Johnson
- Representative Kristi Noem
- Toll Free Phone – (855) 225-2801
- DC Phone – (202) 225-2801
- Sioux Falls Phone – (605) 275-2868
- Rapid City Phone -(605) 791-4673
- Aberdeen Phone – (605) 262-2862
- Watertown Phone – (605) 878-2868
- Website – http://noem.house.gov/
- Twitter – @RepKristiNoem
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kristiforcongress
Please join the Rally against War in Syria tomorrow and/or contact our elected officials. Public pressure can and does make a difference!
War with Syria seem imminent. Here is what the AP had to report on Obama’s remarks yesterday:
President Barack Obama is vowing that American retaliation for Syrian chemical weapons use would send a “strong signal,” as U.S. intelligence officials readied briefings for Congress on evidence aimed at linking last week’s attack to President Bashar Assad’s government.
Obama did not present specific evidence to back up his assertion that the Assad regime is responsible for the Aug. 21 attack.
Obama said he was not seeking a lengthy, open-ended conflict in Syria, indicating that any U.S. response would be limited in scope. But he argued that Syria’s use of chemical weapons not only violated international norms, but threatened “America’s core self-interest.”
“We do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable,” he said.
Wow. Is anyone having flashbacks to the Bush years? Replace any time Bush used the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” and insert “chemical weapons” and you now have the talking points for President Obama. Notice how Obama isn’t even seeking Congressional approval. I wonder what a couple of top Senate Democrats during the Bush years would have said about such unilateral motions of war from a president?
Here is what Senator Obama told the Boston Globe back in 2007 :
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.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
What a difference a change of title makes. It would be interesting to see Senator Obama stand up to President Obama. Maybe we should get those two to meet someday!
How about Vice President Joe Biden? Is he supporting President Obama’s call to war? Here is what the NY Daily News has to report on the matter:
Meanwhile, Biden became the highest-ranking member of the Obama administration to rattle a saber as he ripped into Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his henchmen.
“Those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable,” he said at an American Legion convention in Houston.
Biden’s comments about the alleged Aug. 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus came after White House spokesman Jay Carney turned the screws on Syria by saying “there must be a response.”
Now lets look at what Senator Biden would say on the issue. Biden was very outspoken against President Bush and had this to say in 2007 (YouTube video):
“I want to make it clear to you, I’ve drafted, with the help of 17 years I was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee or the ranking member. Ladies and gentlemen, I drafted an outline of what I think the constitutional limits have on the president in over the war clause. I went to five leading scholars, constitutional scholars, and they drafted a treatise for me, and it’s being distributed to every senator. And I want to make it clear and I made it clear to the president, if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without congressional approval — I will make it my business to impeach him.”
I wonder if Senator Biden will support the impeachment of President Obama now that he is taking the same steps as those walked by President Bush? Maybe Vice President Biden can help us find Senator Biden. Maybe we can find Senator Obama and Senator Biden before it is too late. Sadly I fear DC has removed all signs of Senators Obama and Biden.
PS: On Saturday August 31 there will be Global No War with Syria Rallies!