Sunday, September 01, 2013

Constitution vs Presidential power re: Syria? Not really.

Breaking news update:

The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land, right?  Well, sort of. The actual law of the land, according to the U.S. Constitution, is a combination of its own text, the precedents set by Supreme Court decisions, and what treaties we make, and our national alliances are the result of treaties, which are to be treated, per the Constitution, as equally the law of the land as the Constitution itself.

And then there's the War Powers Act. Per the U.S. Constitution, is unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court didn't make a rule on that, which means that it and all its subsequent versions are still law of the land.  Where the error occurs in this li'l gem is where it deems that the President had inherent powers rather than sticking to the Constitution's enumerated powers, and it's thereby that the Congress, by statute, abdicates its enumerated power to declare war.  Still, in 1973 the War Powers Act was supposed to be a limit on presidential power, but as long as it contains language about some ephemeral concept as "inherent powers" rather than refer to the Constitution's enumerated powers, it'll never do that.

And now Congress wants it back again.  Sorry, guys, but until the Supremes rule otherwise, you're stuck with the abdication.

Israel and Turkey are allies by treaty, and the Constitution recognize the President as the BMOC for that, nevermind the abdication created by the War Powers Act. The President does indeed have the authority to act without Congress not only because of obligation to our allies, but also because the Congress signed off on that with the War Powers Act.  Deal with it.

Related article--Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Syria Deeply website
Related question on Yahoo Answers

Next day update: no other country is coming on board, not even Britain, and it is the case that (at least) 2 years of atrocity has occurred in Syria til now.  Has Obama proven himself to be no world leader? Judging from the debates in Britain, I'd say it's more the case that Dubya/Cheney gave the globe more reasons to NOT follow U.S. leadership than Obama gave reasons to follow.  The hole that the previous administration dug us into was both financial and globally political and it's going to have to take something bigger than Syria to get us out of that hole, financial collapse aside.

Aug 4 Update:
A lot of talking-head chatter about how the ghost of the war on Iraq hangs over the Syria matter; so far, none of the chatter I've heard today mentioned how the Viet Nam war hung over the Iraq matter.  From this perspective, from the Korean war til present, the U.S. now has an unbroken record of being snake-bit where any war is concerned.  Peace, anybody?

Yeah, the old argument about how pacifism gave Hitler his license, but there's the other old argument of that era, the one of  "never again". Well, after Rwanda and Darfur, so much for "never again"...and here we are, at yet another atrocity.  Never again for atrocities, or never again for wars?  Something's gotta give somewhere, and what already gave way were Rwanda and Darfur. It looks like the choice has already been made, and all that's happening now is just running the clock out.

So--when did we run out of drones?

Yemen seems to have been forgotten as a hotspot where all the drones have gone, too.

Ibrahim's Twitter account, SK
Afrah Nasser's blog entry about Ibrahim

Sept. 8 Sunday talking heads update:
I was especially surprised at Fareed Zacharia's inability to notice that his guest, regarding presidential powers in view of Syria, side-stepped the legality of treaties as being one reason why a president could have the power to send in troops without consulting congress.  The current president has been urged to set that "red line" based on standing treaties, after all, and at the urging of allies party to those treaties.

By the way, Fareed's question of the day is misleading, bigtime. FDR was the first president to visit the U.S.S.R. on official World War II business in official capacity, but it was in the Ukraine, not Russia, and in Nixon's time, Russia as a country didn't exist except as part of the same U.S.S.R. that FDR visited.  Confining the question to "first to visit Russia" is intellectually dishonest, and I'm calling SHENANIGANS!

States, therefore members of Congress, are specifically prohibited from treaties individually by Article I Section 10.  Only the Senate can advise and consent to treaties entered into by the president--Article II Section 2. Treaties that are currently binding have *already* been agreed to by advice and consent of the Senate, or they wouldn't be existing treaties, so going to congress AGAIN would be unnecessary even when you look at it that way.  The executive branch is sworn to faithfully execute that which congress passes, and treaties, having already been passed by Senate advice and consent, simply remain to be executed by the Commander in Chief, NATO notwithstanding.

The North Atlantic Treaty, though, could pit treaty vs treaty, and it does remain one of the elephants in the room with Turkey and Israel being two others.  From Israel's perspective, it's being thrown under the bus not just in regards to Iran but also to Syria. AIPAC can't be happy.
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