Saturday, February 14, 2015

Permission To Screw Things Up

President Obama's policies on Syria and dealing with the Islamic State are a place where I greatly differ from him, and I'm with Greg Sargent on the notion of another AUMF: It asks for far too much power and the damage in Syria and Iraq are already done.

A mere six months after military operations began against the Islamic State, the White House today formally requested that Congress authorize military operations against the Islamic State. The full text of the resolution proposed by the Obama administration is right here
Some Democrats criticized the proposal as too broad and too vague. They are right. Several critics I spoke to note that, in its current form, at least, it would not only do little to limit Obama right now, but could also leave thenext president with enormous war-making latitude — whether he or she is a Democrat or a Republican. 
To be clear, the proposal is merely an invitation to Congress to offer its own restrictions on Obama’s war-making authority. Still, it falls well short of what is needed, and it remains to be seen whether Congress can step in and do better.

The notion of this particular Congress "doing better" on anything at all is laughable, let alone the notion that they would craft a smart, limited authorization.  They're way too eager to send in tens of thousands of US troops and saddle us with another dozen years of boots on the ground.

The proposal would authorize armed force against “ISIL or associated persons or forces,” a category that is loosely defined as any entity that is fighting “alongside ISIL” or is a “closely-related successor.” It would not authorize the use of force in “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” which is also pretty loose wording and doesn’t say what operations force would be limited to. It says authorization would terminate three years after the proposal’s enactment by Congress, which means it might be operative after the mission is accomplished, however that might be defined
“This is a constructive proposal, but it’s not sufficiently limited,” Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union tells me. “It lacks geographic limitations, it uses loose language to describe the category of groups that can be targeted, and it fails to state at all clearly the specific objective for which military force is being authorized.”

In other words, Obama's authorization language after the Republicans get a hold of it is a disaster waiting to happen.  The problem is the GOP Congress will almost certainly make it worse. Depending on what they come up with, I'm hoping that Democrats will vote no.

The entire situation is just another decade plus of ground war waiting to happen, and there's no way in hell we can handle it.


RepubAnon said...

The Republicans are also afraid that if the government successfully helps people, people will start looking to government for more help on things such as discouraging uninsured companies from storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate in residential neighborhoods.

Some Lawmakers Want Changes to Avoid Fertilizer Blasts

A committee of Texas lawmakers met Tuesday to discuss possible legislation aimed at preventing another disaster like last year’s explosion in West, Texas — with some Republicans still skeptical of imposing regulations on fertilizer storage facilities. (Emphasis added)

Bills would weaken water protections
by Ken Ward Jr., Staff writer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A year after a toxic leak contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents, West Virginia lawmakers are considering a series of proposals that would weaken a new chemical tank safety law, remove stronger pollution protections for streams across the state, and protect the coal industry from enforcement actions over violations of water quality standards.

The sad thing is that enough voters have become convinced that any regulations protecting their lives in the long run will cost them their jobs in the short run. We're well on the way to becoming China, where pollution controls can be ignored with impunity so long as the cash keeps rolling in and any unpleasant side effects can be kept quiet.

RepubAnon said...

It's more a way to make the Republicans commit to a policy - remember how President Obama was weak for the limited intervention in Libya?

John McCain, in Libya, calls for more airstrikes and weapons aid for rebels
Sen. John McCain, on a visit to rebel-controlled eastern Libya on Friday, urged the United States and its allies to increase airstrikes and facilitate weapons deliveries to bolster the insurgent cause, a call for stepped-up intervention that clashes with the Obama administration's more cautious approach to the conflict.

Now, suddenly, it was all Hillary Clinton's idea:

Hillary Clinton's Libya disaster: Will Republican presidential hopefuls hold her accountable?
Remember Libya? Of course not. As a refresher, Libya is a “country” formerly ruled by dictator, state-terror sponsor, and fashion plate Moammar Gadhafi. After the Egyptian government fell following mass protests in 2011, rebels in neighboring Libya rose up against Gadhafi. He slaughtered them. With internationalist cover provided by French humanitarian hawks, then Secretary of StateHillary Clinton and others urged Obama to intervene in that civil war. Bombs fell, Gaddafi was killed by militants. Clinton took a victory lap, touting her philosophy of “smart power.”

Republican amnesia would be amusing if anyone called them on it - but the media allows Republicans to get away with Brian Wilson-type lies routinely.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Time to talk turkey, friend Zandar: why are you not paid five million dollars a year to say True Things on the tee vee?

Seriously, this was the most succinct analysis of America I have read since Obama was elected.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

This is exactly what Bob Dole was saying about Hillarycare in 1993: if people see the government delivering quality health care at an affordable price, they will lose faith in everything the Republicans stand for and the Reagan Revolution will be crippled. Therefor, health care reform must be destroyed by the most expedient means available.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

I sympathize with your reluctance to use force in the Middle East, so it is only because we are cleaning up after the Bush disasters (and will be doing so for another generation) that I am OK with Obama trying to fix things his way - and then, only so long as he does not kick over another anthill. Between the Neocons who want to invade Egypt and gibbering idiots like the Ted Rall and the rest of the Brain Trust at FireDogLake who want his balls cut off for war crimes, the President doesn't have much room for maneuver.

Scopedog said...

Agreed. That he's managed to throw us completely into the meat grinder is a good thing. And f**k the fools on either side who either want him to go all in (the Far Right, Neocons) or pull all of America's military from the rest of the world and never, EVER get involved in anything (the Far Left, FireDogLake)--Obama understands the world better than these jerks and he's proven it time and time again.

I used to like Rall, but like so many of the folks on the Left, I saw his true colors come through when Obama was elected President.

RepubAnon said...

Some call Reagan "The Great Communicator". Folks seeking accuracy call Reagan "The Great Con Artist."

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Ted Rall started grating on my nerves as far back as 2004, when I began to notice that he was rather more of a Libertarian than a Liberal. Being as I am an old member of the non Marxist Left, this bothered me a great. He has managed to put up a smokescreen with his support for Free Drugs, but if you actually look at his comics they are really quite racist; with the election of a black man to the Presidency he dropped the mask and kicked it into the sewer.

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