Is our Libya action legal/Constitutional? Rep. Forbes needles Sec Gates

This is a discussion on Is our Libya action legal/Constitutional? Rep. Forbes needles Sec Gates within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; At around the 50 minute mark... Congressman Forbes: “Mr. Secretary, if tomorrow a foreign nation intentionally, for whatever reason, launched a tomahawk missile or its ...

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Thread: Is our Libya action legal/Constitutional? Rep. Forbes needles Sec Gates

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    Is our Libya action legal/Constitutional? Rep. Forbes needles Sec Gates



    At around the 50 minute mark...

    Congressman Forbes: “Mr. Secretary, if tomorrow a foreign nation intentionally, for whatever reason, launched a tomahawk missile or its equivalent into New York City, would that be considered an act of war against the United States?”

    Secretary Gates: “Probably so.”

    Congressman Forbes: “Then I would assume the same laws would apply if we launched a tomahawk missile at another nation—is that also true?”

    Secretary Gates: “You’re getting into constitutional law here and I am no expert on it.”

    Congressman Forbes: “Mr. Secretary, you’re the Secretary of Defense. You ought to be an expert on what’s an act of war and what is not.”
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    It's amazing that one can calmly sit and say this is not an act of war. Of course it is!

    Congress controls the pursestrings for a specific reason - as a check to the CIC's ability to command our forces. The CIC can issue orders basically as he pleases, but only Congress can pay for it. If any Congresspeople truly oppose this action, it is imperative on them to defund the effort. In addition, all those who were against our earlier wars and interventions failed to vote against funding packages, making them hypocrites... except for Ron Paul, of course. He says it like it is and walks his talk. Defunding is not an issue of patriotism; it is the exact power Congress was intended to wield for precisely this reason. The Founding Fathers knew well the dangers of allowing an unchecked executive who could make war as he pleased.

    Apparently there were supposed to be "no boots on the ground," but there are least CIA operatives in the country directly supporting the rebels, and possibly a few thousand Marines. I guess that's not an act of war, either, eh?

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    While I am very pro-military, I find it insane that our nation can launch can (and does) launch missiles and drop bombs on any country anytime, all in the name of protecting our security. Yet we wouldn't stand for the slightest intrusion on our precious borders, unless it happens to run the border of Mexico.

    Sooner or later, Karma will have its way, or perhaps it did on 9-11.

    Personally, if certain countries and peoples wish to live in a world of crap, let them!
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    There are places we have no business intruding into,Libya was a hotbed for training terrorists to attack US and Israeli interests in the past,now they are trying to over throw their own government and even if they succeed with our help they will still be a muslim country that hates infidels and it will come back to bite us in the ass in the future
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    Congress (all parties) has had at least 60 years to resolve some of these war powers issues. They haven't. That's because they pretty much like things the way they are. If things go well everyone can cheer, and if things go poorly, Congressmen get to make political points complaining that the action was illegal, or unapproved, or whatever description they dream up at the moment.

    I don't remember complaining by those now upset when we invaded Grenada? Or when we invaded Panama? Or when we attempted to rescue our embassy personnel from Iran.

    And somewhere in our relatively recent history there were military operations in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic, and clandestine operations in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

    Where were the complaints when the 7th fleet was interposed between China and Taiwan 40 years ago? Do you think a declaration was issued against the Indian tribes? Or did the prez of the day merely just do what he thought had to be done for the promotion of Manifest Destiny.

    Who complains about use of force depends on who is in, who is doing the use of force, who is out, and these complaints are just a bunch of red-herring attention getting stunts for political purposes.

    It has been reported that the Congressional leadership (certainly that included the House Speaker as number 3 in line) were consulted prior.

    Is any of this in full accord with the literal word that Congress shall have the power to declare war? No. But neither does the constitution forbid the prez from the use of force without a declaration of war.

    Congress has been mostly happy with things this way or they would have found a way to change it.

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    After 9/11 I was really hopeful that we would steamroll through the middle east, cleaning up terrorists and terror supporting regimes, then pull back to see if we needed a round 2 or they got the message. Not get bogged down in this crap.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Well, since we have no problem with the use of international force to target heads of state that refuse to step down after large public demonstrations, I am sure there would be no objection from our side if other governments decide to initiate similar actions, if after some large demonstration our president refuses to immediately resign. I mean if this is acceptable behavior Castro could have legitimately taken out L.B.J. or Nixon right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    Well, since we have no problem with the use of international force to target heads of state that refuse to step down after large public demonstrations, I am sure there would be no objection from our side if other governments decide to initiate similar actions, if after some large demonstration our president refuses to immediately resign. I mean if this is acceptable behavior Castro could have legitimately taken out L.B.J. or Nixon right?
    Only if he first got backing from, for example, OAS and the UN Security Council. Don't confuse the 3 different sources which legitimize a use of force: 1) Congressional authority; 2) Presidential authority; 3) International arrangements and treaties.

    In this Libyan situation, there was Arab League approval; there was UN Security Council approval; there was NATO approval. Hence the intervention was legitimate per international law. Whether or not a prez has the authority to do the act without full Congressional debate and authorization is another issue and far more debatable as in my lifetime we have gone to war innumerable times without Congress saying hi nor ho on the matter. Truman did it. Eisenhower ?? I'm uncertain but he certainly used the military domestically to enforce court orders. Kennedy did it --Bay of Pigs and Blockade. Johnson, lest we forget Vietnam. Nixon, continuation of Vietnam. Ford, I'm uncertain, but he was only in power a short time. Carter, Iran though the effort failed. Reagan, Grenada if memory serves. Panama? Or, was that Bush I. I can't recall. I'm going to stop with recent history so it doesn't become too partisan a debate too wound up in emotion. The point, this is what presidents do. If Congress doesn't like it, they know what to do about it.

    It only takes a few seconds to search "invasion of Cambodia" "invasion of Grenada" "invasion of Haiti" "invasion of Dominican Republic" "invasion of Panama" "rescue attempt of hostages in Iran" "Blockade of Cuba" "naval interposition between China and Taiwan" to find examples of presidents who use presidential authority to do stuff which some in Congress find objectionable, but which Congress has never specifically forbidden with controlling legislation in advance.

    In this particular Libyan instance, the man killed Americans on PanAm 103; his agents murdered Libyans living physically within the US. We owe Quadaffi no courtesy but the end of a rope.

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    So if the Warsaw Pact had sanctioned Castro's assassination of JFK you would be cool with that? We can forget the U.N. security council as we would obviously veto any action that was adverse to us.
    And really, as far as any other countries are concerned the particulars of our Constitution are irrelevant. Just as the Cuban constitution ( if they have one) is irrelevant to us as far as how we would view the legitimacy of their launching a missile strike against the White House. The Constitutional question is simply a matter of legality under our own laws. It has no bearing on justification.

    As far as NATO approval goes, which member nation did Libya attack recently? Under which article of the North Atlantic Treaty does this action fall?

    As far as the U.N. sanctioning the action, that is in contradiction to the U.N. Charter!
    Article 2 section 7
    Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.
    Article 33 states:
    1.The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
    2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.
    And under Article 51
    Article 51
    Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
    since the council has yet to enforce the peace it looks like Libya is justified under Article 51 to take military actions against it's attackers.

    If we are going to use violence as a means to advance our foreign policy interests we should not complain too loudly when those with opposing interests do the same to us. Either violence is a legitimate means of advancing a nations interests or it is not. If we can do it, they can do it. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    And since we already retaliated for Pan Am 103, and the German disco bombing with airstrikes (under Reagan) I guess we could say that now it is Libya's turn to retaliate.
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    VIP Member Array Sig 210's Avatar
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    Sec Def Gates was opposed to the US interfering in Libya. He was over-ruled when Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, the US rep to the UN, persuaded Obama to get involved. The congressman would do well to hassle those responsible for the US decision to go after Libya.

    The US made a very big mistake by "normalizing" relations with Libya in 2006.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post

    If we are going to use violence as a means to advance our foreign policy interests we should not complain too loudly when those with opposing interests do the same to us. Either violence is a legitimate means of advancing a nations interests or it is not. If we can do it, they can do it. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Which is why we spend a few bazillion dollars a year on defense. In international relations, might makes right notwithstanding all the legal framework of international bodies. If this were not the case we would be speaking either Japanese or German; maybe Russian.

    I have no doubt others would do unto us if they could.

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    In this Libyan situation, there was Arab League approval; there was UN Security Council approval; there was NATO approval.
    Then let them handle it.

    There is NO reason for us to be involved.



    Lets put it to the test...

    Was or is Libya a threat to the U.S. ?

    Have they taken any hostile action on our soil or our citizens?

    Have they made any threats against us as a nation?

    Can they endanger our way of life and do they have the means to make it happen?


    If this were not the case we would be speaking either Japanese or German; maybe Russian.
    I don't believe that either. Not for one second. Not one of those countries could sustain a war against us at that time. The United States is over 3000 miles long and over 1000 miles wide. Thats a lot of turf to cover and it would be a logistical nightmare for any opposing force. Even if they did happen to defeat our military, there is still an awful lot of people with guns that would not just roll over and play dead.
    Even the Japanese knew that they couldn't attack the mainland with any hope of success and publicly stated it on more than on occasion.

    The Germans couldn't sustain a front against the northern nations of Africa for a long time, it too was a logistical nightmare and the country's that they occupied has less of a military force than many of our own states with the National Guard.

    The Russians at that time were as ragtag an army as any. They were fighting for their very existence with no where to go. Thats a far cry from invading another country.

    We do agree on one thing...
    We owe Quadaffi no courtesy but the end of a rope.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Which is why we spend a few bazillion dollars a year on defense. In international relations, might makes right notwithstanding all the legal framework of international bodies. If this were not the case we would be speaking either Japanese or German; maybe Russian.

    I have no doubt others would do unto us if they could.
    And others will do unto us. As they have been for the last forty plus years. However since they don't have nukes ( that we have acknowledged) or carrier battle groups, it will be with stuff like bombs on planes, chemical weapons and truck bombs. But I guess we can just write the victims off as the cost of doing business. Who knows in another twenty years (if he is still alive) Bin Laden or Qadaffi may get the Nobel Peace Prize. Would not be the first recipient that had at one time been labeled a "terrorist".
    And of course the "Good Guys" will always win. After all, they are the ones that get to write the history books.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Then let them handle it.
    That is fine with me and it is the direction things have gone. We are mostly out now, and Egypt is arming the rebels and training them.

    There is NO reason for us to be involved.
    Lets put it to the test...
    Was or is Libya a threat to the U.S. ?
    Have they taken any hostile action on our soil or our citizens?
    Yes. Their agents committed murder on our soil.

    From Wiki-- "In 1980, a Libyan agent attempted to assassinate dissident Faisal Zagallai, a graduate student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The bullets partially blinded Zagallai.[30] A defector was kidnapped and executed in 1990 just before he was about to receive U.S. citizenship.[18]"

    True we waited too long, and true Bush II normalized relations with this dictator even though it wasn't warranted by any reform of his behavior. Still, there is plenty of US blood on his hands and we have ample reason to want him out of power or better yet, dead.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    So that means since that CIA contractor killed those two guys in Pakistan it is now OK for Pakistan to launch strikes against the United States right? Or since we tried to whack that Imam in Beruit with a car bomb back in 1985 Lebanon can attack us. And since we killed one of Qadaffi's kids with our air strikes back in the 1980's I guess that means the children of our elected officials are fair game too.
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