Monday, March 28, 2011

Libya Again

Travis hit on two reasons I might think more kindly of the current shenanigans in Libya.

(a) there is pragmatic argument for someone to play Imperial Power of the World...especially if they can do it on the cheap, (b) there is a moral argument to support most anyone against a genocidal dictator.

There is no denying that in the long run places where the United States goes to war up do really well.  And you can't argue with the moral side of things: getting rid of genocidal dictators is a good thing. 

Seemingly the best thing a Third Word fella can do for his descendents is to get his country invaded by Americans.  Surviving to have descendants is not assured . . .

We get back in the car and move on, south toward Ajdabiyah. Every five minutes or so, we pass more wreckage. Some of the tanks are pancaked. We also see minivans and SUVs that are charred and smashed, as if they were stomped by a giant flaming robot. Some lie on their sides. I think I even see a BMW 3-series burned out on the side of a hill.

BMW, BMP, whatever: they all look pretty much the same on the screen while cranking along at 500 em-pee-aitch.  Shit happens and it's a good idea not to be close to a tank in the middle of the war.  Granted civilian 'close' and military 'close' are not remotely the same thing but there you go.

As personally sympathetic as I am to the Imperial Power / moral argument jazz the unpleasant fact remains: we live in a Republic.  The Constitution lays out certain roles and responsibilities for the three branches of government.  The executive [1] can't just go to war for humanitarian reasons, or to ensure Europe has cheap gas, or whatever the latest excuse is.

There must to be authorization by Congress.  Or the United States must be under threat of attack, or have been attacked.

The Current Occupant didn't get the authorization, didn't even ask for it.  Libya hasn't attacked the United States, wasn't going to attack the United States.  The President - the fellow sworn to uphold the laws of these United States - just pretty much blew off the whole thing.  Too much bother, I suppose.

Morality don't enter into it.  We've got a Constitution: we should use it.  This war against Libya is just plain illegal and wrong as anything the government has done. 

And it's being done in your name, and mine.

[1] Not even getting into the legality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 - which I don't think it is, much.
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