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Irony, the left, the AUMF and bin Laden

I assume most of you political junkies remember the left and their reaction to the Authorization to use Military Force resolution that was passed by Congress not long after 9/11.

The left wasn’t at all happy with Congress authorizing the use of force and during the presidential debates you had various Democratic candidates called out on it by the Obama campaign and we went through a series of apologies for voting for that.  Obama was never clear as to whether or not he’d have voted for it had he been in the Senate at the time, but he certainly left the impression he probably wouldn’t have.

The irony comes in the form of the justification for the raid on and death of Osama bin Laden.  Apparently the AUMF is suddenly a pretty handy thing to have around:

To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.

The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.

One year ago, in the midst of a debate about the legality of targeted killing of foreign nationals, Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, said in a speech that the administration’s targeting practices complied "with all applicable law, including the laws of war."

"As recent events have shown," Koh said at the time, al Qaeda has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and so "the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks."

I find it both amusing and interesting (not to mention ironic) that those so heavily engaged in pumping up the Obama profile over the bin Laden killing are mostly unaware of the fact that the hated AUMF was the basis for the strike and, in effect, they’re now defending what they once roundly condemned.

As someone recently quipped, in the area of the war(s), this is like Bush’s third term.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Irony, the left, the AUMF and bin Laden

  • In his book “Known & Unknown”, Rumsfeld says the AUMF was the equivalent of a Declaration of War.

  • Off topic sorta:

    In October, when American intelligence was close on the trail of the courier and spy satellites were taking detailed photographs of the house, Bin Laden issued two audio statements urging help for victims of floods in Pakistan. “We are in need of a big change in the method of relief work because the number of victims is great due to climate changes in modern times,” he said.
    In 2007, he complained that Democratic control of Congress had not ended the war in Iraq, a fact he attributed to the pernicious influence of “big corporations.” In other messages he commented on the writings of Noam Chomsky, the leftist professor at M.I.T., and praised former President Jimmy Carter’s book supporting Palestinian rights.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/world/asia/08binladen.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    • All to prove he was alive – hard for dead dudes on old video tape to talk current events.
       
      Unless he started writing quatrains in French of course - that guy is always timely.

    • “This is your brain” <insert healthy brain image>
      “This is your brain after reading Chomsky” <insert dead OBL image>

      Always suspected as much.

  • Truly, these are the chickenhawks; hawks too chicken to look their own beliefs, as demonstrated by their actions, in the face, and too chicken to face the political consequences and self-image adjustments of admitting Bush was right.

    My prescription: Less time spent constructing elaborate phantom self-images about how peaceful they are, and more time spent understanding sheepdogs. Then working your way up to spending less time conflating sheepdogs and wolves for political profit, at the expense of the integrity of the fabric of the civilization that shelters you.

    • The ones I’ve come across have created a hardened bubble to simply ignore the situation.

  • Harold Koh[I]n the midst of a debate about the legality of targeted killing of foreign nationals, Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, said in a speech that the administration’s targeting practices complied “with all applicable law, including the laws of war.”

    First of all, did Koh check with Jimmuh about this, because, as I recall, Jimmuh took quite a different view when HE was the president.

    As for the laws of war:

    It is especially forbidden *** to kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army. (HR, art. 23, par. (b).)

    This article is construed as prohibiting assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy, or putting a price upon an enemy’s head, as well as offering a reward for an enemy “dead or alive”. It does not, however, preclude attacks on individual soldiers or officers of the enemy whether in the zone of hostilities, occupied territory, or elsewhere.

    US Army field manual FM 27-10, “The Law of Land Warfare”, sec. II, par. 31

    http://faculty.ed.umuc.edu/~nstanton/FM27-10.htm

    As it happens, I don’t have a problem with killing bin Laden or terrorists like him in any manner we can devise, ranging from an airstrike to a raid by special forces to getting a spy to slip a little cyanide into his hummus. However, I predicate my position on the idea that terrorists are unlawful combatants who are not entitled to the protections extended to honorable soldiers or other lawful combatants, an idea obviously not shared by Captain Bullsh*t and the other senior members of his regime. It seems to me, therefore, that their interpretation of the law is pretty selective. Shouldn’t “Bagman” Holder be looking into this? Or does he only prosecute “war crimes” when they are committed by Bush appointees or under his orders? I think that we all know the answer to that one.

    Now, if Captain Bullsh*t is taking the position that bin Laden and other terrorists are basically “individual soldiers or officers of the enemy” (i.e. they are part of some enemy “army”), then they cannot easily be tried for their “crimes”, and certainly not in a civilian court.  Nor can they be transferred to US prisons.  Further, they cannot be “tortured”, and it seems to me that the FAILURE to prosecute such activities would make CB and his thugs accessories after the fact.

    • “It does not, however, preclude attacks on individual soldiers or officers of the enemy whether in the zone of hostilities, occupied territory, or elsewhere.”
       
      Looks like that base was covered – did we not attack, an officer of the enemy, ‘elsewhere’.   This was hardly as if a Seal team sat in a chicken coop blind in the Abbottabad market and took the top of his head off with an LRSR.
       
      I don’t think a helicopter assault meets the qualifications for ‘treacherous’.  That would be having the Seal team invited over for tea and stabbing him while he was in mid-pour, or spiking his sesame cakes with poison while he’s consulting his dictionary of colloquial english.
       

  • I see now that Obama is talking about striking against other branches of al Qaida around the world. This is a curious, if logical, development. It makes sense to strike hard after toppling the leader and while the organization is in disarray. However if Obama is preparing the public for such operations then:

    1. Just how much intel have they already obtained from detainees in various evil prisons these last few years? Is this why Obama has been so reluctant to close Guantanamo etc, because as President he finally discovered what was coming out of these places?
    2. What are the odds Osama will have had some info on a laptop implicating Gadaffi in some convenient way to authorize a take down of him as well.
    3. Just how much is Obama a Bush clone? Starting a “war of choice” in Libya while pursuing al Qaida in a now again expanding war on terror?

    • Well, we always blow up an Al Qaeda location from time to time but now everyone is going to be linked to Obama having gotten Bin Laden, I’m sure.  But now with 9/11 tenth anniversary plot maybe there’s a concern.  Especially since suddenly they stopped talking about it.  Depending how much of a plan is in the works, maybe there’s an imperative.

    • Just how much intel have the already obtained from prisoner #534671.  After all, he’s been learning to waterboard for over a week now in that Eastern European resort he was flown to.