Obama to Congress: Oh, By the Way, You Just Funded the Iraq War

A number of people have closely scrutinized the latest entry in Obama’s epistolary war — the one informing Congress he had escalated the war into Syria.

I especially like the way he doesn’t even mention the strikes on Jabhat al-Nusra (aka Khorasan) explicitly, lumping them in instead with “these terrorists” who have invaded Iraq.

I have ordered implementation of a new comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy to degrade, and ultimately defeat, ISIL. As part of this strategy, I have directed the deployment of 475 additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Iraq, and I have determined that it is necessary and appropriate to use the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct coordination with Iraqi forces and to provide training, communications support, intelligence support, and other support, to select elements of the Iraqi security forces, including Kurdish Peshmerga forces. I have also ordered the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes and other necessary actions against these terrorists in Iraq and Syria. [my emphasis]

The antecedent to “these terrorists” is ISIL. Yet he effectively lumps his attack on Nusra — which really pissed off the “moderates” in Syria we claim to be fighting with and for — in with ISIL, even though they are totally different groups. As I said, I believe one reason he struck Nusra is to be able to invoke the 2001 AUMF marginally credibly.

I’m also interested in the timing of something noted by Josh Gerstein.

For the first time in his epistolary series of self-authorizations, Obama invoked AUMFs — both of them — to justify his war.

I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional and statutory authority as Commander in Chief (including the authority to carry out Public Law 107-40 [the Afghan AUMF] and Public Law 107-243 [the Iraq AUMF]) and as Chief Executive, as well as my constitutional and statutory authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States.

I was afraid it would come to this.

I’m particularly struck by the timing of this move. Obama waited until Congress authorized funding for this escalation before he told them he considers the escalation to already have been authorized by them — at a time when most of them weren’t even in Congress (neither was Obama, of course).

I guess that’s the easier route to take, in a democracy, to blame your war on people who’ve long ago retired.

This way, if Congress decides to do nothing to authorize this new war during the lame duck session, Obama can keep on operating with the “sanction” of Congress without anyone having to pay a political price for it.

For shits and giggles, here’s a list of all the Senators who were not in the Senate (some were in the House) for the 2002 Iraq War vote. Just the AL, CA, IA, MI, and WA delegations remain the same as they were for the Iraq AUMF.

AK: Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich

AZ: Jeff Flake

AR: Mark Pryor, John Boozman

CO: Mark Udall, Michael Bennet

CT: Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy

DE: Chris Coons

FL: Marco Rubio

GA: Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson

HI: Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz

ID: Jim Risch

IL: Mark Kirk

IN: Dan Coats, Joe Donnelly

KS: Jerry Moran

KY: Rand Paul

LA: David Vitter

ME: Angus King

MD: Ben Cardin

MA: Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey

MN: Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken

MS: Roger Wicker

MO: Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt

MT: Jon Tester, John Walsh

NE: Mike Johanns, Deb Fischer

NV: Dean Heller

NH: Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte

NJ: Bob Menendez, Cory Booker

NM: Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich

NY: Kirsten Gillibrand

NC: Richard Burr, Kay Hagan

ND: John Hoeven, Heidi Heitkamp

OH: Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman

OK: Tom Coburn

OR: Jeff Merkley

PA: Bob Casey, Jr., Pat Toomey

RI: Sheldon Whitehouse

SC: Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott

SD: John Thune

TN: Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker

TX: John Cornyn, Ted Cruz

UT: Mike Lee

VT: Bernie Sanders

VA: Mark Warner, Tim Kaine

WV: Joe Manchin

WI: Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin

WY: John Barrasso

15 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    In regard to the AUMF’s:
    Public Law 107-40 — the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001
    Public Law 107-243 — The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq
    Neither of these, from a dozen years ago, cover what the president is doing.
    Going to the general case, Obama the past Constitutional scholar, we’re told, has no “constitutional and statutory authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States” as he claims.
    The president has no more authority to conduct foreign relations than he does domestic relations. That “authority” is to administer the laws of the land as passed by the Congress. Senator Morse said it well here.
    Presidential oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    • Michael Murry says:

      As for the so-called AUMF resolutions: they authorize the President to attack Saudi Arabia, the nation most clearly implicated in the 9/11 attacks. They did not and do not authorize any military attacks on Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Yet President George “Deputy Dubya” Bush “determined” that the U.S. military would attack Iraq and not Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the United States never had, nor has now, any statutory legal authority to attack Iraq. Furthermore, the last two Presidents of the United States have shown by their clueless, cynical, duplicitous and incompetent policies in Iraq that they possess no ability whatsoever to “determine” anything of genuine worth or value. They imagine “enemies” that don’t exist and ignore or collaborate with real ones — like Saudi Arabia and the Apartheid Zionist Entity — that do. No legal statue specifically “authorizes” such insane, if not criminal, behavior.

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Obama at the UN:
    Obama said nations are staring into the “heart of darkness” with the violence in Iraq and Syria driven by the terror group. He urged nations to “reject the cancer of violent extremism.”
    How many countries has the violent extremist US “terror group” bombed, invaded and occupied recently, kidnapping imprisoning and torturing their citizens? I’ve lost count. It’s like staring into the heart of darkness.

  3. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    You missed at least one Senator who should be on your list: Minnesota’s Al Franken, first elected in 2008.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    This war thing at least seems to be keeping Congress from re-upping the surveillance statutes, which would have created some awful legislative history (real or imagined) helpful to keep warrantless wiretapping legal in the eyes of the courts. So, we sacrifice a few Muslims to keep the Feds off our electronic backs – okay, no?

  5. RUKidding says:

    Unbelievably, I’ve had 2 people call me over the past 2 days absolutely terrified (yes, really) about the alleged “threat” of ISIS to them personally. At least they had enough common sense to call me to talk them off the ledge. I was dismayed and angry how easy it appears to be to get US citizens to drink the Kool Aid and go along with this crap… in 2014. No amount of truth telling – about the falsehood of WMD, for ex – seems to sink in.

    Some used to call the tv the “demon box,” and more and more, I have to agree. I tossed mine out ages ago, which never ceases to amaze some people (whatever do you DO with your time??? Uh, use it wisely.).

    No, neither War Criminal – W Bush or O’Bomber – has legal authority to wreak havoc and mayhem in the ME or elsewhere, but who’s going to stop this murderous spree that the US seems addicted to? Wish I had an answer.

    Where’s Congress? Oh yeah: out to lunch and collecting their sweet sweet payola from the MIC.

  6. decader says:

    But Obama’s a peacekeeper cause he gave a speech back in 2002/3. Nobel Prize!!!
    HIllary’s a warmonger because she voted for UN inspections & the same AUMF half of the democrats did.
    There’s a special place in hell…

  7. Don Bacon says:

    [ter-uh-riz-uh m]
    1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
    Yup, fits the US and its media propaganda arms whose motto is:
    Be afraid, very afraid. But we are here to help save you.

  8. wallace says:

    All I can say anymore is, every time April 15th rolls around..take a moment to reflect on why your words have no effect on your masters.

  9. Robert Weisenhamer says:

    BREAKING NEWS – Newest Terror Overlord Named

    Government officials have released the name of the newest terror-master responsible for much of the carnage against everything that is good in the world: Obama bin Golfin’

    Like his fellow death merchants, Obama bin Golfin’ is a charismatic, often soft spoken type who hides his true and psychopathic narcissism behind a cool demeanor served to the public through masterful propaganda techniques. Photos reveal a tall and handsome man who, nevertheless, avoids the spotlight except in highly controlled appearances. He rarely does interviews except with those who won’t question his motives and, more often than not, refuses the Q/A format of press conferences. Mr. bin Golfin’ has amassed a large cadre of cult-like sycophants around the globe who are willing to do the heavy lifting as to ensure their supreme leader’s hands are not sullied. Indeed, his evil has been so whitewashed as to have allowed credulous international peace organizations to bestow upon him their highest honors before his murderous rampages were known to them. Authorities are concerned that the public, distracted by consumerism and mesmerized by popular culture, cannot see the truth and have assumed a dangerous complacency.

    With nuclear war heads assumed to be at his fingertips, Obama bin Golfin’s declared war against democracy and decency threatens the globe and we are admonished to take heed, lest an international confrontation of ghastly proportion results.

    • RUKidding says:

      Maybe another Terrorissssss!!11!! War Lord can stop Obama Bin Golfin. I hear his name is Al Fuckkayaup. I’m attempting to find out how to contact Mr. Fuckkayaup to see if he is available for this important mercenary opportunity.

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