By unlawfully ceding the war-declaring power to the president, they allowed the president to start a war against Iraq based on whatever evidence or whatever lies he chose ~ John C. Bonifaz (dob 6/22/1966) a Boston-based attorney and political activist specializing in constitutional law and voting rights. Excerpt from his 2/12/2014 article "Iraq Invasion Was Unconstitutional". Bonifaz argued that the President's planned first-strike invasion of Iraq violated the War Powers Clause of the US Constitution.
Barbara Jean Lee, the U.S. Representative for California's 13th congressional district and a Democrat, "gained national attention in 2001 as the only member of congress to vote No on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), stating that she voted NO not because she opposed military action but because she believed the AUMF, as written, granted overly-broad powers to wage war to the president" (blurb via Wikipedia).
|Dennis Marks: Lee is the one who voted like the Taliban slipped her a check. She is also a devout racist (1/11/2014 AT 4:28am).|
Correction: the "Taliban slipped her a check" was due to her AUMF vote; and the "racist" crack was due to... who knows? I'm going to guess it's because she is Black. Whenever Dennis accuses someone of racism, it seems as though they are always Black. I certainly cannot think of an example of him calling a White person a racist, with the sole exception of Dennis calling me and another blogger "racist" due to our support for Affirmative Action.
In any case... Barbara Lee deserves mucho kudos for being the ONLY one who recognized the FACT that the AUMF granted WAY too much power to the preznit. Only Congress has the power to declare war, and with the AUMF Congress ceded its Constitutionally granted power to declare war to the preznit, which bush used to illegally invade two countries. bush abused the AMUF and lied us into a war with a country completely unconnected to the 9-11 attacks; as well as using it to justify other unconstitutional actions, as the author of the following NYT editorial points out...
|NYT Editorial: Mr. Bush used the... law as an excuse to kidnap hundreds of people - guilty and blameless people alike - and throw them into secret prisons where many were tortured. He used it as a pretext to open the Guantánamo Bay camp and to eavesdrop on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. He claimed it as justification for the invasion of Iraq, twisting intelligence to fabricate a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. (Article excerpt from the New York Times website, pub. 3/9/2013. No author cited.)|
That isn't to say that the invasion of Afghanistan wasn't illegal or unconstitutional, which it was, given that there was no formal declaration of war... which was the entire problem with the AUMF; it grants "overly broad" powers to the preznit to wage war against an UNNAMED group ("the terrorists" responsible for 9-11). The AMUF should have authorized military strikes in Afghanistan against the al Qaeda camps only, and it should have only been voted on AFTER we determined bin Laden was behind the attacks. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq SHOULD have (Constitutionally) required a declaration of war by Congress... although they would still have been unnecessary (especially Iraq) and illegal under international law (at least they wouldn't have been unconstitutional).
According to Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, "this [the AUMF] is worse that the Tonkin Gulf Resolution". Aside from a Congressional deceleration of war, the President can send the military into armed conflict by invoking the War Powers Resolution, a law that allows the president to enter "armed conflict without the consent of Congress".
However, under the War Powers Resolution the president is limited to conflicts lasting no more than 60 before a Congressional authorization is required. Under the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution the president (LBJ) was limited to who assistance could be provided to. LBJ's resolution said the president was limited in that it "authorized [him] to do whatever necessary in order to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty"... so it at least gave a who and a where, unlike the AUMF, which only gives a "who", and a very nebulous "who" at that.
Under the AUMF, bush was granted "the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force against those whom he determined planned, authorized, committed or aided the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups". The "harboring" part allowed (and continues to allow) bush, Obama and FUTURE presidents to send troops (and drones) anywhere in the world to kill anyone (even US citizens) engaged in terrorism (or innocent people - referred to as "collateral damage").
Indeed, the Obama administration has cited the AUMF for military actions it has engaged in. For example, the dramatic ramp up of drone strikes - in Afghanistan and Pakistan (a country we aren't at war with) - was cited as being authorized by the 2001 law...
|John Brennan, while chief counterterrorism advisor to BHO: First, these targeted strikes are legal. ... To briefly recap... the Authorization for Use of Military Force - the AUMF - passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks authorizes the President "to use all necessary and appropriate force" against those nations, organizations and individuals responsible for 9-11. There is nothing in the AUMF that restricts the use of military force against al-Qaeda to Afghanistan. ("The Ethics and Efficacy of the President's Counterterrorism Strategy"; Remarks given at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC on 4/30/2012).|
In addition to be morally reprehensible, given the loss of innocent civilian life - Robert Taylor of PolicyMic says "there are estimates as high as 98% of drone strike casualties being civilians [or] 50 for every one suspected terrorist" (citing a Columbia Law School report that looked at 2011 civilian deaths in 2011 which concludes "drone strike casualty estimates likely understated").
In regards to the Columbia Law School report cited by the Libertarian Taylor, I must concur, and add that these strikes are, in my strong opinion, extremely counterproductive and could be classed as war crimes (according to Amnesty International).
Although, while at the same time using the AUMF to justify other military actions, president Obama has promised to "revise and ultimately repeal [the AUMF] that he worries could lead to a perpetual war". So, at least Obama realizes there is a problem... but I say NO to "revising". The law should not have been passed to begin with. Rep Lee is the ONLY member of Congress to have gotten it right when voting NO on this bad law. The AUMF needs to be repealed - something Rep. Lee has has been pushing for ever since the AUMF was passed.
A 5/23/2013 HuffPo article by Matt Sledge says the Pentagon, in disagreement with the president, believes "the AUMF means they could operate from Boston to Pakistan, for the next 10 to 20 years [and that] it could even be used... in new battlefields like Congo or Syria.
But the idiot Dennis condemns the ONE person who voted correctly in regards to this abominable piece of legislation with a vile lie about her voting "as if the Taliban slipped her a check" - even though she said she voted NO not because she opposed military action against al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan (which she did not), but because she believed the AUMF granted overly-broad powers to wage war to the president (which it did). And then Dennis throws in a charge of the African American representative being a "devout racist" with no explanation at all... other than the obvious explanation, which is that she is Black.
In conclusion I must say Barbara Lee deserves praise for her AUMF vote and her continuing efforts at repeal, while Dennis Marks deserves condemnation for his vile and baseless accusations of the Congresswoman siding with al Qaeda and being racist. The first charge has obviously got much to do with Dennis' utter stupidity, the latter likely due to the Congresswoman speaking against GOP voter suppression laws designed to disenfranchise minorities legally entitled to vote.
Or that is my guess, due to Dennis' praise of the recent SCOTUS gutting of the Voting Right Act. In regards to the SCOTUS ruling, Dennis said the gutting was a "victory for those who want progress toward equal treatment, diminished racial bias, and level playing field".
Rep. Lee, speaking on the House floor on 12/7/2011 correctly pointed out that "Republican legislators around the country are purposefully trying to deny Blacks the right to vote by pushing for voter identification laws". This kind of truth-telling would, given Dennis' support for the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, is probably what makes Lee a "devout racist" in the eyes of the racially biased Dennis. Or it could just be that she's Black.
In either case I again offer praise to Mrs. Lee and condemnation for Dennis. Correctly identifying the GOP strategy of tilting elections in their favor via suppressive voter ID laws that target minorities isn't "racist", although I do believe it is very bigoted and offensive to call a Black woman racist for taking a stand against GOP disenfranchisement tactics. In fact, I'd say the illiberal Dennis is quite devout in his labeling of Black people who take a stand against Conservative bigotry as "racists".
Update 7/1/2014: Dennis, as he often does, deleted his comment. Reason? He says he does it "for the amusement factor". BTW, I did not notice this one until the Google cache had been overwritten... which means his comment is gone forever. You can trust me, however. He absolutely did type and submit this racist slur about Congresswoman Lee.