Justice, A President, and a North African Country

According to the Washington Post this evening, President Obama’s actions in Libya have placed us (that is, America) at war, our third in less than a decade.

Obama, not surprisingly, defended his unconstitutional actions with a plea to a higher standard of morality.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” the president said tonight.  “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

The best response to President Obama’s actions came from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.  To see his five minute speech, click here.

As Senator Paul correctly states, Obama, when senator, opposed unilateral executive decisions to go to war.  Only Congress, the then Illinois senator correctly argued, had the power to declare war.  Or, perhaps to be fair, let’s let then-Senator Obama speak for himself:

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. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action. (Source: Boston Globe questionnaire, December 2007)

Tonight, though, the president offered a very different vision of his own authority and power.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. That is why we are going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold.

Last weekend, while traveling in Brazil, the chief executive called the attack/no-fly zone orders in.

For Obama’s full speech tonight, click here.



  • Brad Birzer

    Thank you, Winston. I find the whole war and speech and president and. . . so maddening that I’m at a loss for words (well, not really–but close). How dare these men presume some gnostic understanding that overturns hundreds of years of well-honed thought and inheritance.

  • Winston Elliott III

    Excellent post. I agree that Senator Rand Paul’s speech is what the President should have said. Of course President (then Senator) Obama was never as committed to a proper view of the Constitution as he was to attacking then President Bush. Now that he wants to use our American soldiers for regime change his understanding of the war powers of the president have changed drastically. Senator Paul understands and respects the Constitution to a far greater degree than either President Bush or Obama. If only a man with Senator Paul’s respect for the Constitution could be our next president.

    • Greg Smith

      Dear Winston ~ I’m re reading Herman Wouk’s ~The Winds of War~ now. In 1941 the shtetl where my wife’s grandparants grew up was overrun by the German Army. Behind them came the Eiesngruppen who murdered the town’s population. Fortunately
      “Bubby and Papa” made the difficult journey to America in 1917. I can’t help but wonder if Paul and Paul were in congress in the late 30’s if they woulden’t have been America Firsters, harshly attacking FDR for his efforts to oppose Axis world domination. ~ Best regards, Greg Smith

      • Brad Birzer

        Dear Greg, with all due respect, are you truly equating Obama with FDR and those who oppose getting involved in Libya with those who opposed entry in WWII? Today’s news revealed that many of those opposing Gadaffi just might be Al Qaeda. Is anyone really surprised?

        • Gfreg Smith

          Dear Brad ~ See my post in the next blog about my lack of optomisim for a free Middle East arising from all this. However, I believe the isolationism of the Pauls is not a good thing for America or the world. “We just marched in and we can just march out” (Ron) is simplistic to the point it scares me. BTW our left winger “peace” protesters love him. As for the President, history will tell. God knows FDR was rideculed and demonized before the war. At least Michelle isn’t the victim of scurrilus culmany the way Elenor was. ~~ Best regards, Greg



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