How to Ensure You’ll Always Have War Powers to Fight Eastasia

As we’ve known for years, the May 6, 2004 OLC opinion authorizing the warrantless wiretap program shifted the claimed basis for the program from inherent Article II power to a claim the Afghanistan AUMF trumped FISA.

But one problem with that argument (hard to fathom now that Afghanistan has once again become our main forever war) is to sustain the claim that we were still at war in 2004, given that so many of the troops had been redeployed to Iraq. And to sustain the claim that the threat to the US from al Qaeda was sufficiently serious to justify eviscerating the Fourth Amendment.

So, they used politicized intelligence and (accidentally) propaganda to support it.

Use of the Pat Tillman Propaganda to Support Case of Ongoing War

As I’ve noted, Jack Goldsmith made the unfortunate choice to use an article reporting Pat Tillman’s death as his evidence that the war in Afghanistan was still going on.

Acting under his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, and with the support of Congress, the President dispatched forces to Afghanistan and, with the cooperation of the Northern Alliance, toppled the Taliban regime from power. Military operations to seek out resurgent elements of the Taliban regime and al Qaeda fighters continue in Afghanistan to this day. See e.g., Mike Wise and Josh White, Ex-NFL Player Tillman Killed in Combat, Wash. Post, Apr. 24, 2004, at A1 (noting that “there are still more than 10,000 U.S. troops in the country and fighting continues against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda”).

That article was not really about the ongoing war in Afghanistan; rather, it told a lie, the lie that war hero Pat Tillman had died in combat, rather than in a friendly fire incident.

Pat Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals safety who forfeited a multimillion dollar contract and the celebrity of the National Football League to become a U.S. Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan during a firefight near the Pakistan border on Thursday, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Tillman, 27, was killed when the combat patrol unit he was serving in was ambushed by militia forces near the village of Spera, about 90 miles south of Kabul, the Afghan capital. Tillman was hit when his unit returned fire, according to officials at the Pentagon. He was medically evacuated from the scene and pronounced dead by U.S. officials at approximately 11:45 a.m. Thursday. Two other U.S. soldiers were injured and one Afghan solider fighting alongside the U.S. troops was killed.

The death of Tillman, the first prominent U.S. athlete to be killed in combat since Vietnam, cast a spotlight on a war that has receded in the American public consciousness. As Iraq has come into the foreground with daily casualty updates, the military campaign in Afghanistan has not garnered the same attention, though there are still more than 10,000 U.S. troops in the country and fighting continues against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Now, I say the choice was unfortunate because, in spite of the fact that Tillman’s commanding officers knew within 24 hours of his death on April 22 that it was a friendly fire incident, in spite of the fact that General Stanley McChrystal sent an urgent memo within DOD on April 29 that the death was probably friendly fire, and in spite of the fact that the White House learned enough about the real circumstances of Tillman’s death by May 1 to make no claims about how he died in a Bush speech, there’s no reason to believe that Jack Goldsmith would have learned how Tillman died until it was publicly announced on May 29, 2004.

In other words, it was just bad luck that Goldsmith happened to use what ultimately became an ugly propaganda stunt as his evidence that the Afghan war was still a going concern.

Producing Scary Memos to Justify Domestic Surveillance

I’m less impressed with the description of the role of threat assessments that we’re beginning to get.

Goldsmith’s memo includes an odd redaction in its description of the threat assessment process.

As the period of each reauthorization nears an end, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) prepares a memorandum for the President outlining selected current information concerning the continuing threat that al Qaeda poses for conducting attacks in the United States, as well as information describing the broader context of al Qaeda plans to attack U.S. interests around the world. Both the DCI and the [redacted] review that memorandum and sign a recommendation that the President should reauthorize [redacted name of program] based on the continuing threat posed by potential terrorist attacks within the United States. That recommendation is then reviewed by this Office. Based upon the information provided in the recommendation, and also taking into account information available to the President from all sources, this Office assess whether there is a sufficient factual basis demonstrating a threat of terrorist attacks in the United States for it to continue to be reasonable under the standards of the Fourth Amendment for the President to authorize the warrantless involved in [redacted, probably name of program]. [my emphasis]

Now, there are any number of possibilities for the person who, in addition to the DCI, reviewed the threat assessment: John Brennan and others who oversaw the threat assessment are one possibility, David Addington or Dick Cheney are another.

But the IG Report provides another possibility or two that makes this whole passage that much more interesting:

The CIA initially prepared the threat assessment memoranda that were used to support the Presidential Authorization and periodic reauthorizations of the PSP. The memoranda documented intelligence assessments of the terrorist threats to the United States and to U.S. interests abroad from al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations. These assessments were prepared approximately every 45 days to correspond with the President’s Authorizations of the PSP.

The Director of the Central Intelligence’s (DCI) Chief of Staff was the initial focus point for preparing the threat assessment memoranda. According to the former DCI Chief of Staff, he directed CIA terrorism analysts to prepare objective appraisals of the current terrorist threat, focusing primarily on threats to the U.S. homeland, and to document those appraisals in a memorandum. Initially, the analysts who prepared the threat assessments were not read into the PSP and did not know how the threat assessments would be used. CIA’s terrorism analysts drew upon all sources of intelligence in preparing these threat assessments.

After the terrorism analysts completed their portion of the memoranda, the DCI Chief of Staff added a paragraph at the end of the memoranda stating that the individuals and organizations involved in global terrorism (and discussed in the memoranda) possessed the capability and intention to undertake further attacks within the United States. The DCI Chief of Staff recalled that the paragraph was provided to him initially by a senior White House official. The paragraph included the DCI’s recommendation to the President that he authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance activities under the PSP. CIA Office of General Counsel (OGC) attorneys reviewed the draft threat assessment memoranda to determine whether they contained sufficient threat information and a compelling case for reauthorization of the PSP. If either was lacking, an OGC attorney would request that the analysts provide additional threat information or make revisions to the draft memoranda.


NCTC personnel involved in preparing the threat assessments [beginning in 2005] told the ODNI OIG that the danger of a terrorist attack described in the threat assessments was sobering and “scary,” resulting in the threat assessments becoming known by ODNI and IC personnel involved in the PSP as the “scary memos.” [my emphasis]

This passage names one entity personally who reviewed what would later become known as the “scary memos:” the Office of General Counsel. Of course it also mentions an unidentified “senior White House official” (remember, there was a classified version of this report that might have described who it was in more detail) who provided the DCI’s Chief of Staff with the language to use for the authorization.

It’s the function of OGC here I find particularly interesting (and which might provide a reason why DOJ chose to redact mention of OGC’s rule on Goldsmith’s memo): lawyers at CIA reviewed the threat assessment “to determine whether they contained … a compelling case for reauthorization of the PSP. If [such a case] was lacking, an OGC attorney would request that the analysts provide additional threat information make revisions to the draft memoranda.”

So let’s be clear what these two descriptions of the scary memos tell us. It is clear that the entire claim that surveillance in the US was justified was based on the argument that there were dangerous people here in the US who were plotting attacks, in the US. It seems that, either for PR reasons or legal ones (heh), the White House (or maybe DOJ) took this requirement pretty seriously. The IG Report invokes the possibility that “a case for reauthorization” might be “lacking,” suggesting someone, at least, wanted to see proof of the threat.

But look at what constituted that proof.

First, a bunch of CIA analysts were asked to do “objective analysis” of the current terrorist threat, focusing on threats to the “US homeland.” These analysts, at least for some time, had no idea how their report would be used. After they prepared the report, the DCI COS slapped language that Cheney Addington someone at the White House had told them to slap onto the report, presumably creating the incorrect documentary appearance that the analysts who did the “objective analysis” had bought off on the conclusion that the terrorists they had discussed had the “capability and intention” to commit further attacks in the US, all of which justified vacuuming up all the international phone traffic coming into the US.

Apparently, on at least some occasions, the “objective analysis” did not sufficiently back up the claims slapped on courtesy of Cheney Addington someone at the White House; it was OGC’s job to make sure it did. Mind you, if the “objective analysis” did not back up the conclusion, OGC did not issue a report saying, “sorry, Cheney, you’re going to have stop wiretapping Americans,” but instead, they found information to fluff out the request. Perhaps they went back to the “objective analysts” and told them they had to fearmonger some more about domestic threats. Perhaps they simply “ma[de] revisions” to the “objective analysis” themselves. [Update: Mary has convinced me I misread this–that the analysts, not the OGC lawyers–would make the changes.]

But the result was, apparently, that every time the program was up for renewal, CIA produced a report that claimed there was sufficient danger to the US domestically that they had to continue wiretapping Americans.

As Goldsmith describes, there was one more level of review done within OLC. OLC, you see, did not limit itself to what appeared in writing in the scary memos. Instead, it sometimes supplemented the threats described in the scary memos by considering “information available to the President from all sources.” Nothing says the additional information that came from the President was ever documented. Or vetted by actual intelligence professionals. But OLC could and apparently did invoke it in finding the warrantless wiretapping program necessary.

This is, Goldsmith tells us, the review process they used to ensure “relevant constitutional standards of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment.”

It was, of course, a classic case of politicized intelligence, a Team B operating in secret, serving as the only check on abuse of the Fourth Amendment.

“All Sources,” Including Tortured Confessions

The IG Report says the “objective” analysts “drew upon all sources of intelligence” to write their scary memos.

Goldsmith says OLC also took “into account information available to the President from all sources.”

And he also says this:

As explained in more detail below, since the inception of [redacted program name] intelligence from various sources (particularly from interrogations of detained al Qaeda operatives) has provided a continuing flow of information indicating that al Qaeda has had, and continues to have, multiple redundant plans for executing further attacks within the United States. These strategies are at various stages of planning and execution, and some have been disrupted. They include plans for [several lines redacted; my emphasis]


Before I point out the obvious problem with relying “particularly” on detainee interrogations to justify the illegal wiretap program, let me note that the passage where Goldsmith “explain[s] in more detail below” the intelligence that has justified the scary memos does not appear in the unredacted parts of the memo. So between the several lines redacted here, and what must be Goldsmith’s more extensive discussion redacted somewhere else in this memo, there’s a whole bunch of alleged threats to the US that DOJ doesn’t really want us to read.

But we don’t have to guess, entirely, at what kind of threats to the US the scary memos were reporting that detainees had said. We can refer to one of Dick Cheney’s two favorite reports on detainee reporting, the report “Khalid Sheikh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al-Qa’ida” released on July 17, 2004, not long after Goldsmith wrote this memo. Here’s what that report said about threats to the US:

KSM steadfastly maintains that his overriding priority was to strike the United States but says that immediately after 11 September he realized that a follow-on attack in the United States would be difficult because of new security measures. As a result, KSM’s plots against the US homeland from late 2001 were opportunistic and limited, including a plot to fly a hijacked plane into the tallest building on the US West Coast and a plan to send al-Qa’ida operative and US citizen Jose Padilla to set off bombs in high-rise apartment buildings in a US city.


Striking the United States. Despite KSM’s assertion that a post-11 September attack in the United States would be difficult because of more stringent security measures, he has admitted to hatching a plot in late 2001 to use Jemaah Islamiya (JI) operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into the tallest building on the US West Coast. From late 2001 until early 2003, KSM also conceived several low-level plots, including an early 2002 plan to send al-Qa’ida operative and US citizen Jose Padilla to set off bombs in high-rise apartment buildings in an unspecified major US city and an early 2003 plot to employ a network of Pakistanis–including Iyman Faris and Majid Khad–to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. KSM has also spoken at length about operative Ja’far al-Tayyar, admitting that al-Qa’ida had tasked al-Tayyar to case targets in New York City in 2001.


KSM stated that he had planned a second wave of hijacking attacks even before September 2001 but shifted his aim from the United States to the United Kingdom because of the United States’ post-11 September security posture and the British Government’s strong support for Washington’s global war on terror.

So the guy whom Dick Cheney himself considered to be the best detainee source on al Qaeda’s plans at the time Goldsmith wrote this memo said that the threats to the US consisted of the Library Tower plot that was canceled before 2002, Jose Padilla’s purported dirty bomb plot that ultimately amounted to filling out an application to join al Qaeda by the time it got to the courts, Iyman Faris’ plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch, and Ja’far al-Tayyar, who may have cased NY subways three years before Goldsmith wrote the memo (and ultimately may have had ties with Najibullah Zazi). But actually–Cheney’s favorite detainee source kept insisting–he had given up on attacking the US, and had instead focused on the UK.

Nevertheless, detainee reporting like this served as one particularly important source, Goldsmith tells us, for the scary memos that created the justification for illegally wiretapping American citizens.

One more thing. Goldsmith published this report on May 6, 2004. The very next day, CIA’s Inspector General would publish the report that Goldsmith had been discussing for weeks, which showed, among other things, that CIA’s “preeminent source” had been waterboarded 183 times. CIA’s IG would also raise questions about the efficacy of the intelligence (though he did say it revealed plots in the US). Goldsmith knew of the problems in the detainee interrogation program when he wrote about the role of detainee interrogations in this memo.

They tortured the detainees to get claims of plots against the US. And then–even though the detainees insisted they had stopped planning against the US–they used intelligence about canceled or absurd plots to write scary memos so they could continue to use their illegal wiretap program. Mind you, now they use entrapment to do the same thing. But back in the day KSM’s tortured confessions gave Dick Cheney his excuse to wiretap you.

  1. MadDog says:

    And where did Cheney & Co. get their info?

    Could this be it (and dagnabbit, I spent all that time constructing my comment on the wrong post *g*):

    …back to the missing OLC opinion of:

    …Memorandum for the Deputy Attorney General from Jay S. Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Re: Effect of the Patriot Act on Disclosure to the President and Other Federal Officials of Grand Jury and Title III Information Relating to National Security and Foreign Affairs 1 (July 22, 2002)…

    I can’t help but again comment on the extraordinarily telling title of that opinion. To me, it seems to have a significance all it’s own.

    Though I somewhat jokingly referred to Cheney in the original post, I find that I keep coming back to the sense that indeed, Cheney & Co. were the “other Federal officials” being described.

    The opinion’s title just seems far too specific in stating “Disclosure to the President and Other Federal Officials”.

    So the question arises as to why would “Disclosure to the President and Other Federal Officials” be important. Important enough to have a specific classified OLC opinion written for it.

    I tend to dismiss the “Disclosure to the President” part as the typical disingenuous attempt to provide cover for Cheney & Co. This is just his typical modus operandi.

    So why would Cheney & Co. need this electronic surveillance material? Is it because Cheney & Co. were running their own off-the-books (and off-the-wall) intel ops?

    Was it because Cheney & Co. wanted free access to those illegal massive electronic databases?

    What were they doing? And why?

    Apparently, only the Shadow knows. *g*

  2. MadDog says:

    Totally OT (or not, you decide) – One might take a gander at the speech given by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Tony West last Friday here in the Twin Cities at the University of St. Thomas School of Law:

    …One of our primary duties in the Civil Division is to represent federal officials when they are sued in court, often in cases where there’s been some accusation of official wrongdoing. And these cases run the spectrum: from the federal employee who injures a bystander while driving a government vehicle to the lawsuit accusing a high-ranking government official of authorizing an unconstitutional targeted killing program overseas


    …Imagine a scenario in which you’re an FBI agent deployed overseas on a mission to interview suspected terrorists in connection with a national security operation. (Now, while you may think you recognize some of these facts, let me assure you: this is just like the movies – any resemblance to cases living or dead is purely coincidental.)

    Now, as you know, interrogating suspected terrorists can be difficult and perilous work. You’re in a foreign country, maybe one that’s not too friendly. You’re often operating on limited information and it’s your job to fill in the blanks so that an accurate threat assessment can be made. Your primary purpose is to gather information that will help support efforts to keep the American people safe…


    …So let’s say one of those individuals you interrogated later accuses you of having mistreated him in some way. And suppose you soon find yourself as a named defendant in a Bivens action for damages, meaning you’re being sued personally in your individual capacity.

    If, after examining the available evidence, the FBI concludes that, in the course of carrying out your mission, you acted appropriately and made difficult judgment calls in good faith, it’s a good bet the agency will ask our Civil Division lawyers to stake out an aggressive defensive litigation posture to secure dismissal of your case at the earliest stage…


    …How might these interests play out in litigation? Let’s say there’s a videotape of the entire episode of your interrogation, and let’s suppose it conclusively demonstrates that you behaved appropriately throughout the entire interaction. But suppose it was recorded not by you or a member of your American team, but by one of our foreign liaisons with whom you were cooperating. Producing that tape in litigation may exonerate you – so there’s clearly litigation value in releasing it – but revealing its existence may also expose or damage our relationship with that foreign official or government. Indeed, revealing the existence or nature of a foreign liaison relationship could jeopardize the positions of foreign officials or even constitute a danger to their lives…

    (My Bold)

  3. tjbs says:

    So an assassination by our government is friendly fire ?

    A triple tap is a setting on the rifle that results in the shots in rapid order.

    It’s quite a set of lies we have accepted as TRUTH.

  4. Mary says:

    an OGC attorney would … make revisions to the draft memoranda

    Is that how you read that, as opposed to the an OGC attorney would request that the analysts… make revisions ot the draft memoranda?” I wasn’t sure when I first looked at it.

    @5 – it would be kind of interesting to watch Khadafy have a breakdown rant about how ungrateful we are, after he made sure of the suicide of al-Libi and all.

  5. Citizen92 says:

    I often wonder if “Anonymous” will ever take any interest in helping out NARA “track down” the emails that David Addington made disappear… Or if Anon will ever be interested in checking out what’s still parked on the server?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nothing says the additional information that came from the President was ever documented. Or vetted by actual intelligence professionals. But OLC could and apparently did invoke it in finding the warrantless wiretapping program necessary.

    One of the first things Rumsfeld and Cheney set up was their own intelligence shop. Congress found that it didn’t do “analysis”, the statutory fiefdom of others, and let it off the hook. Their conclusion was true, but not in the way they intended.

    The Rumsfeld/Cheney “intel” store wasn’t designed to compete with CIA, et al., which were still needed to hide what Rumsfeld/Cheney were doing. Their store supplemented real agency intel that wasn’t “politically dependable” by rifling through raw data, looking for names, words and phrases that would beef up their war propaganda. Data elicited through torture would probably have had its own direct route to the DoD and White House.

    Even before coming into office, Cheney began circumventing the normal policy-making processes and the informal grapevine that smooths its edges, fills its gaps and makes it work. He ultimately controlled the vetting and hiring process government-wide. He substituted his own personal network, with the added benefit that it spied on the people whose work it was usurping.

    Addington would have been privy to the “good stuff” and could readily have channeled it to OGC or the OLC, both of which, in effect, reported to him in the same manner that bureaucrats would report to a prince regent instead of a mentally incompetent king.

    You’ve described, I think correctly, a vital aspect of Cheney’s corruption of the process through which governments do their most important work.

  7. radiofreewill says:

    Basically, to ensure that you’ll always have war powers to fight Eastasia:

    First you create an ‘enemy’ that is pervasive and mostly invisible, but believed to be capable of mass destruction – make that enemy an adjective that can be ‘put’ on any threat, real or imagined – to your ‘way of life’ – any threat, real or imagined, to your Belief System, to your Ideology – and so you create an enemy like Terror.

    In order for Terror to prop-up a curtain of authoritarian secrecy behind which the security state (Bush) and the surveillance state (Obama) – h/t Balkin – are constructed, Terror must be regularly re-validated – about every 45-days seemed to be the thinking in the beginning, until the omnipotent secret state gets codified into law.

    Goldsmith didn’t say that the apparatchik was concerned that they were doing wrong – they all knew that – they were concerned, he said, about being held responsible. So, he took the ball from Bybee and Yoo, and moved the codification of the security state forward to protect all of those ‘in the know’ – and not to do the principled right thing…

    In the meantime, the people are infantilized into learned helplessness with such Pavlovian conditioning techniques as the politically-manipulated ‘terror threat level’ – inscrutable but fear-inducing – worked like a charm!

    And today we have firms like HB Gary, who will contract with ‘coalition partners’ like the Chamber to covertly ‘create’ the appearance of an ideological enemy – all for sale using an ala carte menu.

    On its present trajectory, there’s no reason not to suspect that by 2016 all of us citizens will be wards of the state, with proscribed ‘permissions’ to be good consumers, instead of rights to be free – preyed upon relentlessly by corporations, dis-enfranchised from all power by the rich, and electronically tracked and potentially entrapped all the time for ‘compliance’ by the nanny state – “If you haven’t done anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to worry about…”

    State Secrecy creates a power differential between those ‘in the know’ and those ‘in the dark’ – and, wherever there exists a power differential between humans, cloaked in secrecy, there is fertile ground for abuse.

    It’s time to push the secret state and its proxies out of the lives of citizens, returning us to the Constitution and rule of law for all equally – backed by law enforcement and open courts.

    There is no Eastasia – there is no monolithic enemy plotting to destroy ‘our way of life’ – there are only enemies aggrieved by our wrong-doing to them – despite what we’re being sold by the powers that be.

    We should not accept the fait accompli of surrendering our hard won freedoms to a government-created boogeyman for the benefit of those ‘in the know.’

    • tjbs says:

      I’ve only flown 4 times in the last twenty years and I was stunned to watch every flying american submit to such an invasion of privacy that they all willingly took their shoes off, for fear of being placed on the dreaded ” No fly list”.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      The enemy from within! The corporatist who uses law to game the system. Monopolies in commerce and trade which deprive you of life and liberty, as the corporate aristocrat, like the slave owner used law to protect the institution of slavery. That was until people realized, people are not property. Now the “corporatist” benefits as a result of a “Life Tax!” Where you must now under fear of punitive tax penalty buy health insurance from health insurance corporation who having been ripping people off for fucking decades, because you have a life? Motherfucking servitude 101! A new Life Tax, bought and paid for with campaign contributions via the manipulative influence of monied interests on the political process to fuck you! Bend over all you Tea Party misfits and get your just rewards from corporate America, who already fucked you and your collective ignorants!!!!!!!!!

      • radiofreewill says:

        No problem, and thanks for the shout-outs above!

        And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to suggest a link to the whole article, and comment thread, go with it, too – this is just a great place to freely assemble and promote our common interests.

  8. blueskybigstar says:

    I keep trying to post articles from here on Facebook, but they block every attempt completely.

  9. JamesJoyce says:

    Seems we have people who should take a WWII History class to reacquaint themselves the tactics employed by Nazis Bastards to consolidate power using propaganda, fear, and perpetual war,” to protect zee homeland, their corporate buddies in crime, while inflicting so much pain on the world?

    Yup….. Manning in jail for honesty and war criminals living like fucking kings while rewriting history to benefit their revisionist horse shit! How does one define garbage?
    A-holes all of them!

  10. bobschacht says:

    Thanks, EW, for these penetrating analyses [NB: Plural of analysis]. I keep hoping that sooner or later the better angels at DOJ and in Congress will use this information to restore the rule of law and the balance of powers and rescue us from this hole we’re in. And meanwhile trying to figure out how I can help, other than adding what I can to the Marcy Wheeler fund drive.

    Thanks also to the smart commenters who share their own work and expertise with us.

    Bob in AZ

  11. vinny says:

    this is a total tangent, but the whole war powers controversy is just a little too convenient considering that there is a behind the scenes push coming out of the obama administration to amend the war powers act in a way that increases the influence of president in matters of war.

    Here is an article on a meeting president-­elect obama had with the war powers commission… struck me as peculiar, why would he be meeting with these people???


    basically, this is an ongoing, behind-the-scenes push for new War Powers legislatio­n that would force congress to approve of the Presidents military actions in 30 days, rather than having the President withdraw from military action after 60 days w/o approval. this new legislatio­n is dressed up like an improvemen­t, but really puts congress on the hot seat, having to decide whether to force the president to disengage or not…

    check out the players in this war powers commission:


    i just picked one, and start reading about what they’ve been doing since… check out this a lady named Anne-Marie S/aughter, who was on the War Powers commission that met with president-­elect obama, and then who was subsequent­ly hired into Obama’s state dept. she convenient­ly quit last Jan, and was recently doing the media circuit as foreign relations scholar at Princeton in effort to talk up and promote the No Fly Zone.

    here S/aughter is on March 9th talking very forcefully about the need for a No Fly Zone… she is debating Ha/ase, president of FRC… the debate seems almost scripted, as if they’ve been working on it for a while.

    here S/aughter a few years ago, in a COAUTHORED piece with Ge/b, emiritus president of FRC, talking up benefits of new War Powers legislation


    this is just one person on the war powers commission, that i just happened to start looking at. She’s been actively involved in trying to promote “improved” war powers legislation, Obama meets with the commission, then subsequent­ly hires S/aughter as a think tanker, she quits and then comes out as media pundit pushing no fly zone earlier on, that’s just a strange series of events…

    AND NOW LOOKY – how convenient there’s a war powers controvers­y now…

    kucinich likely pulled off something very clever in calling for an impeachment, we were seeing a lot of republican­s raise the constituti­onal issue of obama’s actions, and kucinich comes out with the impeachmen­t proposal…

    think about that, have you heard any republican­s echo kucinich’s proposal?

    i haven’t yet. of course, i dont watch much TV, just internet, so maybe i missed it, but i keep searching and i haven’t seen a republican yet jump on kucinich’s argument, which logically is a fairly strong one. obama did take military action in a conflict that does not threaten US and he did so without congressio­nal approval. that is against the letter of the law.

    my question is: why are republican­s who are supposedly interested in “destroyin­g” obama’s presidency – as the narrative goes, not running with this argument, and trying to at the very least disgrace him?

    that just doesn’t add up, it seems like they would… they are the ones who first brought up the constituti­onal issue, so its not like they don’t buy into it or think its politicall­y uncouth to discuss it, but they are not following it to its logical conclusion­, odd, could they have some other purpose for questionin­g obama’s war Powers?

    the more you delve into this, the less it seems that any of these events have been spontaneously unfolding.

    the no fly zone doesn’t seem like an option of “last resort”

    and it doesn’t make any sense that obama would not follow the letter of the law given the prescient brain power in his administration that saw this coming, and were arguing for the no fly zone from the beginning, the controversy seems manufactured.

    • bobschacht says:

      This War Powers thing is the key to the Fascist takeover. As Jerry Nadler pointed out to me at the Netroots Convention, Congress goes all wobbly in the knees about civil rights whenever there’s a war going on. The abuses that EW chronicles so penetratingly are all tied to our new Perpetual State of War. Presidents will game that system from now until doomsday. None of these things will improve until the War is ended. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, all of it.

      Bob in AZ

    • harpie says:

      I couldn’t get your links to work, so did some looking around.

      Report Urges Overhaul of the War Powers Law; James M. Broder; NYT; 7/9/08

      The Early Word: Obama Meets the Press; Michael Falcone; NYT; 12/11/08

      ON THE WHITE HOUSE; Obama to Hear Panel on Changes to War Powers Act; Peter Baker; NYT; 12/12/08

      The Miller Center page on their Report

      From the Wiki page on Warren Christopher

      Former Secretaries of State James A. Baker, III and Christopher served as Co-Chairs of the Miller Center’s National War Powers Commission. Baker and Christopher testified on March 5 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the War Powers Consultation Act of 2009 – the statute that the Commission unanimously recommended in its July 2008 report. The statute is designed to replace the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and provide for more meaningful consultation between the president and Congress on matters of war.

      Hearings on

      War powers for the 21st century



      4/10/08 [w/ Louis Fisher]


      3/5/09 [w/ Warren Christopher and James Baker]

      Senate [also with Christopher/Baker]:


  12. evernewecon says:

    The U.S. military is doing tremendously humanitarian work in one place
    just now; but, Japanese economists are saying the military should utilize
    more local distribution expertise input.

    Trucks of excessive weight for the roads
    they’re traveling on are distributing goods of excessive weight for the school gym floors they’re being deposited on.

    Instead, the military should distribute to local professional, commercial distribution centers. (Japan Broadcasting Corporation (by way of the U.K.’s LiveStation) only cited one professor’s name once, which name
    I missed (can’t win ‘em all.))