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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Video- Rand Paul On Libya War: 'The Senate Has Abdicated It's Responsibility'

I've told my caucus, 'Come loaded with all your questions; ask questions in this classified setting. And then if in fact you want to do more legislatively, you're entitled to do it. The War Powers Act we believe is valid, is very clear, setting forth timelines."--- Harry Reid to reporters, Tuesday, March 29, 2011: Source Bloomberg)

12 minute video below of Rand Paul (R., Ky.)speaking on the Senate floor about his proposed resolution reasserting congressional authority regarding the committing of the U.S.. and our resources to war. (H/T The Corner for the video)

Paul talks about the War Powers Act and specifically highlights his proposed resolution is, in fact, the exact words of Barack Obama in 2007 and the purpose of this resolution, according to Paul's office is "the measure aims to put the Senate on record affirming Congress as the body with constitutional authority on matters of war.”

....To make his point, Paul quoted, in the legislative language, from Obama’s 2007 remarks on the subject: “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.”

At the 3 minute 48 second mark in the video Rand expresses that "I am appalled that the Senate has abdicated their responsibility".

The specific wording of the War Powers Resolution:

SECTION 1. This joint resolution may be cited as the "War Powers Resolution".


SEC. 2. (a) It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.

(b) Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

What Rand Paul did was attach this amendment to the small-business re-authorization bill that the Senate was to vote on.

This put Harry Reid in the position of having to allow the Senate to be put on record either agreeing with Barack Obama in 2007 or agreeing with him now since he committed our U.S. armed forces to actions in Libya without receiving congressional permission to do so.

So, Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, did what he does best.. he ran. Reid adjourned the upper chamber and postponed all pending votes until Monday.

NRO reports:

“Paul’s Libya amendment has brought the Senate to a standstill because Reid doesn’t know how to handle it,” one GOP aide tells me. “If he allows a vote, Democrats are forced to either disagree with then-senator Obama or with President Obama. It’s possible that Reid just yanks the bill or files cloture, seems he may do anything to avoid a vote on Paul’s amendment.”

Following up on the issue, Paul has issued a press release of a letter he has sent both Reid and McConnell:

Dear Leader Reid and Leader McConnell:

As you know, Senator Paul recently made a motion to have the Senate vote on the following sense of the Senate:

“The President does not have the power to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The motion Senator Paul made has the vote as the pending business in the Senate, ready for a vote at any time. He did not ask for extended debate, and his motion would take up a maximum of 30 minutes of the Senate’s time.

Though brief, it would be an important 30 minutes for the Senate. It will be the only 30 minutes spent on discussing and voting on whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution to attack another country without congressional authorization.

We believe the answer is that he does not. We also believe Congress has an obligation to stand up and declare whether or not we intend to hold the President to his constitutional oath.

While we realize there are other matters the Senate had planned to work on, it is our belief that there is very little we are doing that rises to the level of a constitutional question regarding war. Voting for whether or not to send our sons and daughters to war is the most important and most difficult decision we should ever make as a nation and as senators. We do not take this responsibility lightly, and we believe the Senate is abdicating its responsibility at this very moment.

The bombing and military action against the Libyan government will be two weeks old by the time we return to session next week. That means congressional debate on this war is two weeks overdue.

We feel strongly enough about this matter that we are writing to inform you of our intentions. The Senate has already agreed to move a bill on Tuesday morning. In order to ensure our rights are protected, we will serve notice now that upon completion of H.R. 4, we will object to further votes on amendments to S. 493 until such time as the motion on presidential war authority is scheduled for a vote. We are happy to work with the leaders of both parties on the timing of the vote for next week, and would be happy to allow other business to proceed as soon as an agreement is reached.

Lest it be said only Republicans and Conservatives are concerned about Barack Obama's complete disregard for congressional authority over matters of war, Liberals are also highlighting the matter vehemently.


The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.

Clinton was responding to a question from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) about the administration's response to any effort by Congress to exercise its war powers, according to a senior Republican lawmaker who attended the briefing.

The answer surprised many in the room because Clinton plainly admitted the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama's power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions. In doing so, he would follow a long line of Presidents who have ignored the act since its passage, deeming it an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power.

Andrew Sullivan:

Many of us supported this president because he promised to bring back the constitutional balance after the theories of Yoo, Delahunty, et al put the president on a par with emperors and kings in wartime. And yet in this Libya move, what difference is there between Bush and Obama? In some ways, Bush was more respectful of the Congress, waiting for a vote of support before launching us like an angry bird into the desert. Hillary Clinton, channeling her inner Cheney, said in a classified Congressional briefing that her administration would simply ignore the War Powers Resolution of 1973 that requires the president to seek Congressional approval within 60 days of the conflict starting. If the congress voted against continuing the war, it would be irrelevant to the administration. Beat that, King George II.


The president is violating his constitutional duty to enforce the laws (to himself as well as anyone else). He has no constitutional right to simply waive the War Powers Resolution. In my view, we need a debate in the Congress on this as soon as possible.

Glenn Greenwald concludes after his typical diarrhea of the keyboard:

Most Democrats, liberals, and even traditional conservatives and libertarians purported to find such lawlessness outrageous and dangerous during the Bush years. It isn't any less so now.

Bottom line, Harry Reid, as evidenced by the opening quote of this post, agreed that his caucus, his Democratic Senators, were "entitled" to "do more legislatively," in regards to Obama and the War Powers Resolution but when a Republican Senator does just that, using Barack Obama's own words, Reid runs for the hills and refuses to hold a vote on it.

As a side note, I find one particular statement by Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones to be quite disturbing:

But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I'd literally trust his judgment over my own.

I find that statement incomprehensible. A person should never abdicate their own intellectual thought. A person should never give in to the "he is smarter than me so I will accept whatever he says" mentality.

You listen to both sides of an argument, sometimes another person's view will help you adjust your own thinking, clarify issues you hadn't previously considered and perhaps even change your mind once the facts and opinions are laid out.

But you never, ever, simply give up your right to individual thought.

It is people like Drum that gave way to creation of the term "Obamabot."

“Consider the reasons which make us certain that we are right... but not the fact that we are certain. If you are not convinced, ignore our certainty. Don't be tempted to substitute our judgment for your own.”--- Atlas Shrugged