Democrats & Liberals Archives

Now we're talkin'! Democats chest-thumping 101

Senators Robert Byrd and Hillary Clinton proposed legislation (link)revoking the War Powers authorization given to the President in October of 2002. Citing that the reasons for the War Powers authorization in 2002 was completely different to the reason why the US is currently in Iraq.

When Congress gave the President the authorization to wage war against Iraq in 2002, via the unconstitutional "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of Force against Iraq (link)", they did so, as they said, to protect the American people from the threat of Saddam Hussein; to stop them in Iraq before they come to the US. The authorization mentions nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, connections between 911 and Iraq, and host of other scare tactics to legitimize the artificial need to militarily overthrown a sovereign nation. The Bush Administration presented this threat and used this threat to commit our troops. What Congress did not give the President was the use of force to manage a civil war.

It's about time that the Democratic majority starts thumping their chests and doing what they were elected to do; get us out of Iraq.

Posted by john trevisani at May 4, 2007 8:21 AM
Comment #219308

It’s certainly the best show of cojones by Democrats yet. Hillary is trying to show that she has a pair. But, the grapevine has it that this kind of talk is scaring the bejeezus out of a lot of Democrats on The Hill. I rather doubt that the consensus is there amongst Democrats to play this kind of high stakes poker with the White House.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 9:20 AM
Comment #219313

A few observations:

(1) The 2002 authorization is legally null-and-void at this time for the reasons stated above. Hopefully, Congress will address the void in Federal law.

(2) Unfortunately, there is no provision in Federal law granting anyone standing to sue the Executive over this and force the Executive to bring our involvement in the civil war to an end.

(3) Fortunately, a bill de-authorizing our continued involvement in Iraq will do the trick. Such a bill cannot be vetoed and Federal law does give standing to any member of Congress to sue the Executive to enforce the provisions of the de-authorization.

(4) The October target date for the bill anticipated by Sens. Byrd and Clinton is appropriate.

(5) I, and a few others, have been arguing for the de-authorization since the GOP lost its Congressional majorities last Fall.

(6) A de-authorization bill will be a good first step to the Congress reclaiming its war-making powers which the War Powers Act (probably unconstitutionally) has given over to the Executive in rather ambiguous language.

It is important to remember that while the Constitution names the President as Commander-in-Chief of the army and navies, the President has no power to engage in military action without the explicit initial authorization and without the continuing authorization of the Congress. In other words, the Executive takes it direction from and answers to the Congress in military matters as it does in all matters with the exception of the pardoning power. In Article II of the Constitution, the Framers deliberately created a weak Executive. GWB has certainly confirmed, on again, the wisdom of the Framers.

David: Please note what I wrote regarding the October target date for the de-authorization. By October, there will be not only a Democratic consensus, there will be an overwhelming Congressional consensus. Also, keep in mind that there is already a majority in each house that would vote for such de-authorization. By October, even GOPers will publically state what many already know: the Bush “surge” is a failing strategy and Iraq is lost. BTW, overnight polling already shows 53% of Americans support de-authorization. By October, that number will exceed the “magic” 60% point where most in Congress dare not cross the people’s will. We can then only hope that the country will finally learn the lesson of Vietnam and Iraq: one does not go to war on false pretenses, aka, non-existant boogeymen.

Posted by: Allen at May 4, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #219316

BTW, pardon the typos in the above post.

One last thought, John: using the phrase “chest-thumping” is not accurate. What Congress is doing is rediscovering its Constitutional role in our system of government. This is not a Democratic vs GOP idea: Sen Chuck Hagel, a Republican, has previously suggested the need for a de-authorization resolution as have a number of conservative writers.

Posted by: Allen at May 4, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #219319

Allen said: “Also, keep in mind that there is already a majority in each house that would vote for such de-authorization.”

Sorry, Allen, but you are forgetting that it takes a 3/4 majority to override a presidential veto. That kind of consensus Democrats don’t have, and won’t have, at least until after the ‘08 elections. Which is what is scaring the bejeezus out of some Democrats, now. If they continue to push and fail to budge Bush, it could seriously weaken some Democrat’s reelection bids in their home districts, especially amongst Independent voters. Appearing weak, ineffective, or do-nothing to the far left voter base, could result in low turnout, as well.

You must remember that part of the reason why Republicans lost so big last November was because the many far right voters didn’t turn out like they had before. Some Democrats have to be concerned about this happening in ‘08 as well to them, if they try, try, try, and fail to meet the expectations of the far left.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #219321

Allen, what you say about the Constitution is mostly true. I say mostly, because you don’t acknowledge in your comments the Constitutional power of the President to protect and defend the Constitution (i.e. the nation) with emergency powers which over the centuries have become extremely substantial and wide reaching as decided by the Supreme Court, making them arguably Constitutional.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 10:30 AM
Comment #219326

John, all this “chest thumping” by the dems will result in them coughing and choking after a few thumps. And, thank you for conceding that they gave the President the Authority. All these two dems have shown is that they are for it when it’s popular; yet, they retreat and blame others when the going gets tough. That’s not the kind of leader this country needs. However, the dems and their followers will continue to attack the President no matter who stands in their way; whether it’s the American people or our troops fighting for a war they gave Authorization to fight.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 4, 2007 10:39 AM
Comment #219328

David R. Remer: a war authorization or de-authorization does not go to the President for his signature as it is the unilateral power of the Congress. Please read what I wrote previously. The Constitution does not give the Executive any power to use military force.

The Constitution does not grant the power to protect the “nation” to the President. In fact, the oath of office is very clear on that point as is Article II of the Constitution. Note: SCOTUS has never recognized the Executive to have any unilateral power except for the power of the pardon. You really need to read the post-Civil SCOTUS opinions for they ripped Lincoln a new butthole. The so-called “emergency powers” of which you speak are powers, probably unconstitutionally, granted to the Executive by the the Congress a la the War Powers Act. In no case, has SCOTUS recognized such emergency powers.

Posted by: Allen at May 4, 2007 10:49 AM
Comment #219329

rahdigly: The 2002 authorization did not and does not authorize the current involvement in Iraq. Simply stated, GWB was given an inch and he has taken a mile, aka, abuse of power. I recognize you want to believe that GWB has Executive powers not granted to him by the Constitution. Your beliefs are not worth a bucket of warm spit or a cold cow patty, your choice.

I, also, recognize the GOP has spent a century-and-a-half attempting to re-write the Constitution to give the Executive power it does not legitimately have under the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the President can do NOTHING (excepting bodily functions) without the permission of the Congress except the granting of pardons.

For your information, Amazon has the Constitution available for purchase for a little as $1.95 and Tribe’s constituion case law text for as little as $4.62. Please spend the money, order the books, AND read them.

Posted by: Allen at May 4, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #219332

Makes sense to me. Let’s do this! Who do I write to?

Posted by: Max at May 4, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #219336


I have to play the devil’s advocate here. This is what the resolution said:

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to— (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

It seems to me that if Dubya determines that the security of the US depends on staying in Iraq, then the resolution gives him that authority.

I remember it the time there was some discussion about whether to make Bush come back to Congress before he went to war, but the Democrats were so worried about the midterms they went ahead and give him the authorization to go to war.

Of course, Congress can still end the war simply by denying funding.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 4, 2007 12:38 PM
Comment #219339

Allen, Bush was given the Authority (Constitutionally) and he used that authority and made decisions with the intelligence at the time. This has been argued and investigated and the President didn’t lie; some of you are living in a MSM “bubble”. You’re going to have to get over that fact. Hillary wants to be President and she’s not proving that she’s a good leader by agreeing with the war, then retracting it b/c the “going gets tough”. That’s not leadership at all.

If you want to talk “constitutionally”, then ask yourself why the dems (who are in power) don’t cut off the funding and end the war if they and the american people are for withdrawl?!

Posted by: rahdigly at May 4, 2007 12:46 PM
Comment #219340

The rest of the document describes what the threat was (nuclear, bio/chem, etc..). The 2002 authorization and War Powers in general was never meant to be a blank check. Bush or any President shouldn’t have a blank check to wage war.

Posted by: john trevisani at May 4, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #219343

You’re exactly right rah.
Either help towards a positive American outcome and let the military do it’s job or defund. If all the reasons I’ve heard from the left are truly belived by the left it is their obligation to defund. Anything short is pure bs.
The dems have enough in both houses to have the troops home within three months, if they defunded when they took office they would have been home as we speak, no need for this post. So in summary defund or shut up and be of some help.

Posted by: andy at May 4, 2007 1:15 PM
Comment #219345

Allen, the arrogant ignorance of your last comment to me made me think I was talking to Bush, for a moment. From the Constitution for your education:

“Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Now, go and do your homework on how the Supreme Court has ruled on that Article II, Section 2 passage, because you have a lengthy amount to learn from it. The rulings of the Supreme Court are, unless overturned by the Congress through amendment and ratification of the States, or a subsequent Supreme Court, part and parcel of the Constitution, just as amendments subsequent to the original Bill of Rights part and parcel of the Constitution.

Congress did approve of the invasion into Iraq. But, nothing prevents the President from launching an attack on Iran without Congressional approval if he deems an imminent threat emanating from Iran. Such are the constitutional powers granted the office of President through the Supreme Court and Congress over the centuries. Such power was granted in increments beginning with the wars against Native Americans.

Roe v. Wade stands as legally protected despite all efforts to the contrary to date precisely because the Supreme Court ruled choice Constitutionally protected, but, as of late, with certain limitations, just to give an example.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #219346

andy, it was the President who turned down funding for the war last week, not the Congress. Not a minor point at all in this debate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 1:20 PM
Comment #219347

Yeah David sure. They funded it with a set future date of retreat and earmarks, and Bush vetoed because the military doesn’t want timetables.
So again, if the left feels so strongly they have only one option, that is to defund. How else can they sleep at night?

Posted by: andy at May 4, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #219349

Allen, also take a look at the War Powers Act:

(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

Iran is already attacking our troops in Iraq through agency. Ergo, Bush can justify invasion of Iran anytime he chooses, even in accordance with this so called, ‘limit of war powers on the President’.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 1:30 PM
Comment #219352

andy, we don’t allow dictators to have total power to decide in this country. The President wanted something from Congress that he needed, the Congress offered him what he wanted in exchange for what the Congress wanted, non-binding benchmarks of the President’s own design. Earmarks? Yes, including emergency funding for a number of items like our wounded veterans medical care, Katrina and Rita victims still struggling, etc. The President rejected those as well.

Our Constitution set it up this way so that negotiation and consensus between the White House and the Congress were required to wield power. Do you have a problem with our Constitution?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #219354


The Democrats essentially voted to de-fund the war. That is the effect of a timetable.


I guess whether the resolution was a “blank check” is a matter of semantics. It says that Bush can fight in Iraq as long as HE THINKS it is a threat to US security (and of course, as long Congress keeps paying). It doesn’t require him to prove that there is WMD or anything, just some threat that need only exist in his mind.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 4, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #219358
“The Democrats essentially voted to de-fund the war. That is the effect of a timetable. “

And it was VETOED!!!!

If the dems truly had the backing of the American people to pull troops out, then they could easily defund the war straight up. Instead, they cowardly loaded a war funding bill with $24 billion worth of bribes. It’s pathetic and they got caught. As I’ve said before, their chest thumping results in them coughing and choking. ***Nice going tough guys.***

Posted by: rahdigly at May 4, 2007 2:06 PM
Comment #219361

Yes, it was vetoed (or as you put, VETOED). Your point is?

The so-called pork is a side issue. Bush has never vetoed anything before to save money, why is he pretending to start now?

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 4, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #219362
“War, at first, is the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn’t any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone being worse off.”

Karl Kraus 1874-1936

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 4, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #219366

This proposed bill definitely is a step in the right direction. The timing (October) seems rather late? I have no sense of how long things in this process take. Would someone please explain the timing issue to me?

David, I’m with Allen on this one. It is time for Democrats to get tough and stop cowering. It’s their own political acquiescence that made it far simpler for Bush to create this mess that is Iraq.

They need to step up their rhetoric too, by using this bill as an example of how they do indeed support our troops and want to bring home alive those who remain. I am as optimistic about it’s success as I have ever been about anything since Bush began his reckless abuse of our troops. If, however, the bill falters, timid (weary) democrats can easily say they were trying to do the will of the American people in response to the 2006 elections and presidential veto of legislation to fund the troops. Point the finger of failure at the Fascists (ok, I’ll say “NEO-CONS”, so everyone will know who I mean) who found yet another way to subjugate the will of the American people and hijack the federal government. What is wrong with that strategy? Overly simplistic?

Posted by: Kim-Sue at May 4, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #219373

If the US’s foreign policy is designed off of what Bush thinks, we’re in worse shape than anyone could imagine.


it was the President who turned down funding for the war last week, not the Congress. Not a minor point at all in this debate.

Absolutely perfect! It was the President that vetoed legislation by the representative government of the U.S. It was the President that went against the will of the people of the U.S., not the other way around.
Great point.

Posted by: john trevisani at May 4, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #219378


The Democrats essentially voted to de-fund the war. That is the effect of a timetable.”

Essentially? What?…These troops could have been out of this Bush lie in April, if they defunded this week it would be by about August. Why risk these lives for a year and a half longer?

Posted by: andy at May 4, 2007 3:41 PM
Comment #219405


“Yes, it was vetoed (or as you put, VETOED). Your point is? The so-called pork is a side issue. Bush has never vetoed anything before to save money, why is he pretending to start now?”

The “so-called” pork was a “Bribe”; and nothing more elegant than that! Pelosi had to bribe the anti-war caucus in her party in order to get it passed. And, Bush isn’t pretending on this bill; he has always been adamant (rightly so) on time tables and withdrawls.

The point is that the dems keep bragging that they won the election b/c the American peoople are fed up with this war; yet, now that they have both houses, they wimp out on defunding the war so the troops would have to pull out. It’s pathetic. They are chest pumping and then coughing and choking after a few thumps.

Posted by: rahdigly at May 4, 2007 7:13 PM
Comment #219417

By your own logic, you should have criticized the president and his people many times.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 4, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #219426


The Democrats who voted for that bill gave permission to basically do what he thinks is right in Iraq. If that is crazy basis for foreign policy, then what does that tell you?


Please look up the word “bribe” in the dictionary. Politicians don’t give bribes, they take them.

Your $24 billion figure is bogus. If you can convince me that the bill contains that much frivolous spending (what you call a bribe) then I will vote for Republican representatives in the next election.

andy and rahdigly,

You give the Democrats a false choice: end the war immediately or give Bush a blank check. Why are those the only two options? You can’t just dictate two choices for your opponents. It’s like if I said the Republicans are hypocrites for just cutting the income tax instead of abolishing it.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 4, 2007 9:39 PM
Comment #219427

Maybe I should elaborate. First, The Bush Administration told us we would be out by August. Then he said things would turn around when we got Saddam. He set dates for different goals to start us getting out, a date for sovereignty, a date for elections- point is, he’s put forward his share of timetables.

Only now, when we’re trying to pry America out of Bush’s car-wreck of a policy does Bush start finding fault with setting dates.

The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with setting dates, setting goals, if you’ve got what it takes to win the war. Naturally setting goals, having obvious goals will attract the enemy’s efforts to defeat you. It’s not as if our goals were that big of a secret. If we had fought this war with America’s full strength, though, that wouldn’t have mattered, because we could have kept what need to be guarded guarded, given Iraqi society the time it needed to heal, and strongly discouraged the incursion of al-Qaeda, and the uprising of the Baathists, the Sadrists, and the Sunni extremists.

To echo somebody whose vitriolic speech at the national convention you must have cheered, Bush sent this country into Iraq to prevent such chaos with spitballs and little else.

Why shouldn’t you be afraid of timetables you can’t make work? But if you can’t win this war sufficiently to make them work, how do you think you can win the war at all?

Our manpower situation, our equipment situation, and the political tolerance for the continuation of this war will not get better with time, and neither will the situation in Iraq, given Bush’s wishy-washy militarism.

If Bush really wanted to win this war, he’d say “Screw the surge, let’s try the draft!” but no, that just would be bad politics. Never mind that no other war in American history has ever been fought so long with an all-volunteer force. Right now, the Army’s manpower situation is so poor that this war can be stopped with just a measure that calls for the Army to observe standard readiness requirements.

How in God’s name can you as a hawk justify positions that inflict this kind of harm to our ability to fight wars? Do Republicans just enjoy the reflect glory of these wars, or do actually any realy sense or understanding of what it takes to fight them?

Why should I take your criticism about timetables seriously when your people can’t be bothered to afford us the manpower to run these wars as long as you’re desiring to run them? An insufficient response continued is not the way to win a war. It is the way to lose it much more badly than if you had the honesty to admit your failure and leave gracefully, while you still could.

As for mandates, the fact remains, we passed these bills not once, but twice. If it weren’t for one man, they would be the law of the land. As for the will of the people, read the polls. The only thing keeping this alive are Republicans whose hold on office becomes more tenuous by the day, as they maintain their support for an unpopular war. 2008 will not be a kind year for your party, nor should it be. You’ve replaced wisdom with stubbornness, quiet strength with boastful weakness.

America is much stronger than the Republicans would like to believe. They have unfortunately placed themselves in the path of that strength and decided to resist it. You’ve been given the chances you’re going to get. The more you try to prolong the war, the more your party’s going to get punished for it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 4, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #219429

Kim-Sue said: “David, I’m with Allen on this one. It is time for Democrats to get tough and stop cowering.”

And I am with you both. I just don’t have your optimism about all Democrats assuming political risk just to represent the will of the people and welfare of our soldiers. In general, politicians put reelection concerns well before the people or the good of the nation. Their tired and worn justification for this is: “If I am not in power, I can’t make things better.” To which the reciprocal also applies: ‘Trying to make things better in politics is inherently risky to reelection; for success is usually something that comes over 10’s of years in matters of government and nation management. But, reelections come every 2 to 6 years.’

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 9:49 PM
Comment #219438


After reading your comments I’m left with one thought: THEN DEFUND THE WAR!

Bush doesn’t set dates the military does, I will side with General Petraeus over washington on these.

As far as polls, if someone asked me if “I was happy with the situation in Iraq” my answer would be a resounding no. The reason because washington is making us look like fools over there not because I feel guilt and blame for being an American. So we’ll see if your strategy for power in ‘08 works I’d be willing to bet, like so many previous laughable strategies you are once agian out of touch with mainstream.
But don’t fret you all are much more brilliant than the rest….so you got that going for you, which is nice.

Posted by: andy at May 4, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #219442

“The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with setting dates, setting goals, if you’ve got what it takes to win the war.”

We do have what it takes to win the war; we have the US military (all voluntary) and a Commander in Chief that won’t give in to the terrorists (oh) and the democrats. Believe that! The dems gave this President, and the country for that matter, a bill that secures defeat. The American people aren’t for defeat; they certainly want to win. We are fed up with this war (as with any war that’s gone this long), we’re impatient and we want victory. Americans don’t want defeat, no matter how many mistakes or errors were made. The dems tried to sneak this bill by the President and Bush smacked them down. Chest thumping, my a$$; it’s nothing more than playing chicken in a pinto with a Mack truck. And, Bush is the mack truck!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at May 4, 2007 10:25 PM
Comment #219503

I’m for anything that will end this totally senseless and insanely expensive war in Iraq. Anything. Defunding it. De-authorizing it. Sending the exact same war funding bill back time and time again — making George W. Douche veto it umpteen times until that thirty percent who still believe he’s great and that we can somehow miraculously “win” Iraq’s civil war and create peace and democracy in that country manage to rub together a few synapses in their brains, or miraculously grow frontal lobes where none existed before.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 5, 2007 1:36 PM
Comment #219523

Good point David! Thank you for your comments! I guess that is why I am a little skeptical about Hillary Clinton winning the democratic nomination for president.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at May 5, 2007 4:52 PM
Comment #219551

Kim-Sue, my crystal ball has never been of top shelf quality, but, if I were a betting person, I would bet on Obama beating Hillary for the nomination. But, then, I have only occasionally been with the majority on any of opinions. In this case, the majority of voters will decide, so, I am probably wrong. :—)

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2007 1:02 AM
Comment #219729

Win the war!, win the war! I am so tired of hearing that someone please define for me what that is? Does any one posting truly believe that we can financially sustain this war for much longer? let alone continue to send men and women there over and over and think that mentally and physically they can keep it up. Truly I do not think any of this debate matters. If Bush really wanted to make head way to winning (whatever that is) he would institute the draft but of course he politically can not do that because most Americans do not want to send their sons and daughters there and most young people don’t want to go there or there would be lines outside of recruiting stations. Its easy to argue in favor of burning down the house if it isn’t your house and doesn’t impact you. People that are ok with this war are ok with it as long as they or their children don’t have to go. At this rate economically we will implode and our armed services will explode due to mental and physical exhaustion-we can’t sustain this without clearly delineating what is winning and how to measure it and setting up a time frame to re-evaluate success (time line and bench marks). I personally thought this was a bad idea to start with. It makes me sick everyday and I am not happy with the democrats for voting for this in the first place. I am a democrat and I thought it was a sad day when we voted for this but of course the country was all in favor of it so the democrats went along with the crowd but all that is water under the bridge. We are there now and it is useless to point fingers. Does anyone truly believe there is a solution for this mess. I have not read one here. We stay its a mess, we leave its a mess. It is sad and sickening. I think I have gotten off on a tangent and far away from the initial posting but by all appearances that doesn’t matter.

Posted by: carolina at May 7, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #219839

The de-authorization issue is one of law and morality, not party.

The express reasons for authorizing action in Iraq were based on information that was false and stilted rather intentionally, by this administration. Further, those reasons were NEVER valid - then or now. We violated article 1441 by going in unilaterally. The information Congress was given was a lie as it was to the UN as well. De-authorized or not, the war is still illegal based on thoe lies and on the treaty violation with respect to UN article 1441.

David Remer, it takes 2/3 majority to override a presidential veto, NOT 3/4 (did you take civics in highschool?). However, that is a moot point since de-authroizing the power granted to the President by Congress is not something the President can veto.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2007 6:10 PM
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