by Kagro X
I just wanted to highlight something that I was reminded of when reading this fine post on the Lieberman amendment (and Russ Feingold's explanation of why he would vote for something like that).
In order to set it up properly, let's take a look at what Feingold had to say:
While I don’t agree with Senator Lieberman when it comes to Iraq, his amendment having to do with Iran offered yesterday was not controversial because it basically just required a report on Iran’s role in Iraq and any responses by the US government.
Dover Bitch, the author of the post at Hullaballoo I was reading, had this to say:
I'm stunned by this response, and not just because it's from Feingold. Apparently, the addition of this clause has convinced senators like Harry Reid that the bill is benign:
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of Armed Forces against Iran.
I'm stunned, too, but for a reason in addition to the excellent catalog compiled by Dover Bitch.
What stuns me about it is that anyone could feel reassured by this language knowing that the "administration" (with an assist from John Yoo) believes the AUMF was unnecessary, anyway:
The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.
The President has constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations.
The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.
"Acknowledged." Not "authorized."
This is something I wrote about back in January:
[John Yoo wrote that] the AUMF is "an express affirmation of the President's constitutional authorities by Congress." Not an authorization to use force, then, but an affirmation. An affirmation of what? That the power to use military force exists independent of this (or any other) act of Congress.
A quick scan of the entire document, in fact, will reveal that Yoo does not even deign to use the title of the act in question, "Authorization for Use of Military Force," probably because that would imply that the act actually is an authorization, not just an affirmation of existing authority drawn directly from the Constitution. Instead, he simply refers to it as the "Joint Resolution," and nothing else.
The next part of the conclusion that'll jump out at you is this:
Force can be used both to retaliate for those attacks, and to prevent and deter future assaults on the Nation. Military actions need not be limited to those individuals, groups, or states that participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: the Constitution vests the President with the power to strike terrorist groups or organizations that cannot be demonstrably linked to the September 11 incidents, but that, nonetheless, pose a similar threat to the security of the United States and the lives of its people, whether at home or overseas.
If military action need not be limited to those individuals, groups, or states that participated in the attacks of September 11th, then they're not even paying attention to the AUMF. It doesn't even figure in their game plan. You can repeal it ten times over without making a dent in their "reasoning."
To continue with Yoo's conclusion:
In both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution, Congress has recognized the President's authority to use force in circumstances such as those created by the September 11 incidents.
"Congress has recognized the President's authority." Not granted it. Recognized it.
Neither statute, however, can place any limits on the President's determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing, and nature of the response. These decisions, under our Constitution, are for the President alone to make.
If neither statute can place any limits on the President's powers, then neither can their repeal. "These decisions... are for the President alone to make."
So if that last section in the Lieberman amendment is supposed to be some kind of a safeguard, well, considering that the "administration" believes the AUMF wasn't what actually authorized the use of force against Iraq, then you'd have to color me slightly less impressed with the ability of that addition to constrain the use of force against Iran.
Needless to say, the same applies for the Warner-Lugar pablum, as well.