Democrats & Liberals Archives

The New Face of Warfare

With the death of Khaddafi, we have seen the results of a new form of warfare for the United States, a form we are successfully incorporating into practice. Welcome to the Fifth Generation of Warfare.

Through the first half of the 20th century, we engaged in Third Generation Warfare, that is, conventional warfare. Due to the overwhelming conventional advantage of the US after WWII, the way war waged changed. Enemies adapted.

In Fourth Generation Warfare, that is, asymmetrical warfare, opponents countered the overwhelming conventional advantage of the US with guerrilla warfare and terrorism. (For further reading, see "The Sling and the Stone: On Warfare in the 21st Century" by Thomas X Hammes). After Vietnam, the US adapted to this Fourth Generation Warfare by developing the Powell Doctrine:

1.Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2.Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3.Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4.Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5.Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6.Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7.Is the action supported by the American people?
8.Do we have genuine broad international support?
(From Wikipedia)

To some extent, we saw it in the successful missions against Yugoslavia/Serbia during the end of the Clinton administration, but now come to realize we saw the first signs of the latest iteration, Fifth Generation Warfare.

During the early years of the Bush administration, a reliance upon Third Generation (conventional) warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq encountered effective Fourth Generation Warfare (asymmetrical) by enemies, with disastrous results for the United States. However, near the end of the Bush administration, in Yemen and Afghanistan, the US stumbled upon a new method of fighting that worked.

The newest generation of warfare relies upon a combination of American strengths: 1) technological superiority in the field, in the forms of remote controlled vehicles such as drones, and 2) technological superiority in Intelligence, synthesizing computer information with HUMINT, integrating satellite observation and communication devices to find and identify enemies. It can prosecuted at a fraction of the cost of conventional warfare- around a total of $2 billion for the success in Libya, compared with $2 billion per week in Afghanistan- and it can be prosecuted with less risk for the lives of soldiers- in the case of Libya, US objectives were achieved without a single American casualty.

The Obama administration took advantage of this in Libya. Instead of relying upon Third Generation warfare and invading with American troops, we participated in a truly multinational force, relied upon proxies, local forces, and provided those local forces with intelligence, drones, tomahawks, and so forth. Large amounts of firepower were directed with great accuracy at specific targets. Local forces received direction, resulting in the death of terrible dictator, and the opportunity for locals to create a strong, self-determined, free government. The results for the interests of the United States were nothing less than excellent.

The repercussions are far-reaching. This new form of achieving American goals means the traditional and very expensive means of defense may no longer needed on such a large scale. The savings can be tremendous, not only in money, but in lives. And that is just the beginning...

Posted by phx8 at October 20, 2011 9:57 PM
Comments
Comment #330830

phx8, I’m just wondering how you are going to feel about those repercussions the next time a Republican gets in the White House. Our Nobel Peace Prize winning President has made dramatic use of drone attacks within the borders of several sovereign countries without much resistance from the press, the UN, our enemies or our less interventionist friends abroad. Also the left leaning anti-war groups seem to be busy occupying Wall Street and don’t seem to care that we just used drones to help assassinate a recognized leader of State and possibly plunging another country in to a potential civil war. A quick check of Code Pink’s website and they don’t even have an article on the death of Kaddafi.

The U.S. has shown the unique capability to plan and execute the killing of individuals pretty much anywhere in the world without much risk to itself. That is an awesome power to give solely to a Commander in Chief. I just hope people realize that before the Peace Prize winner leaves office and the next “war mongerer” steps in.

As for my own feelings, I “took my chance with change” along with Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek way back before the Iraq war. The only difference is that I didn’t reverse course 3 months later. As he wrote back in 2003:

Of course, not everyone would be helped by a successful war. The ruling elites in the Middle East—particularly those that remain stubbornly set in their old ways—will be challenged, threatened and eventually overturned. For these potentates and their courtiers it would mean the end of one of the richest gravy trains in history. That is why they will fight change as fiercely as they can. But for the people of the Middle East, after the shock of the war fades, it could mean a chance to break out of the terrible stagnancy in which they now sit. There are always risks involved when things change. But for the past 40 years the fear of these risks has paralyzed Western policy toward the Middle East. And what has come of this caution? Repression, radical Islam and terror. I’ll take my chances with change.

Posted by: George at October 21, 2011 10:35 AM
Comment #330831

George,

“…and don’t seem to care that we just used drones to help assassinate a recognized leader of State and possibly plunging another country in to a potential civil war.”

The civil war was already well in progress when we stepped in, and while we were possibly instrumental in the capture of Gadhafi, I am pretty sure the intention was to keep him alive.

“I’m just wondering how you are going to feel about those repercussions the next time a Republican gets in the White House.”

While you are wondering about this, picture the “Moron-in-Chief” standing on the deck of that carrier, in that silly flight suit, with that big ass sign behind him.

“Our Nobel Peace Prize winning President has made dramatic use of drone attacks within the borders of several sovereign countries without much resistance from the press, the UN, our enemies or our less interventionist friends abroad.”

Well, let me think… Does the saying in for a penny, in for a pound ring a bell?

Are we actually fighting a “War on Terror”, or are we just fiddle-farting around?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 21, 2011 11:19 AM
Comment #330832

“phx8, I’m just wondering how you are going to feel about those repercussions the next time a Republican gets in the White House.”

The same. I support good foreign policies regardless of the party in charge, and I condemn bad policies. I supported Bush #41 in Iraq, and history justifies the way he handled it.

Obama handled the Libyan situation about as well as it could be done. If I had to choose one area for criticism, it would involve the issue where a drone was used to kill an American citizen, Anwar Awlaki, as well as his son. Although there were legal justifications, and Awlaki certainly deserved it, the idea of killing Americans abroad without trial bothers me.

Posted by: phx8 at October 21, 2011 11:20 AM
Comment #330833

Rocky,
I am really struck the extreme partisanship exhibited by Republicans. Whether it is McCain, Graham, Bolton, comments in the previous thread, or FOX News, conservatives seem absolutely unwilling to give Obama any credit whatsoever. It is extreme, knee-jerk partisanship. In this case, praising Obama would not affect elections,. Really, it wouldn’t hurt the Republicans. Yet the GOP is so locked into condemning Obama and automatically taking the opposite side, that the positions become… bizarre. It is not an opposition party with an alternate idea, it’s a party with no idea in its head, other than Obama is a socialist marxist communist terrorist anti-colonial Kenyan Indonesian Muslim Reverend Wright following Christian killing Mau-Mau who apologizes for America.

Posted by: phx8 at October 21, 2011 11:30 AM
Comment #330834

I’m not a Republican but I thought the last part of my post made it perfectly clear that I do support the President, this military action, and our policy that he is implementing. In fact I believe that the role of Commander in Chief is such a difficult task, and that my knowledge of pretty much any military decision is so ignorant of the actual facts, that I have to date supported all of our military endeavors. This includes Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Our President Obama. Unlike Fareed, who turned on the Iraq war two months in to it after righting such the poignant piece I linked above, I’ve never wavered on my support of what an informed President thinks is the right thing to do.

That was a tough call. Congratulations President Obama.

But, although the “Moron in Chief” won’t be in the Whitehouse ever again, at some point in our future another Republican President will be. And when this GOP President kills a U.S. Citizen, innocent children who happen to have a terrorist for a father, or a recognized head of State, will groups like Code Pink, who just got back from protesting drone strikes in NV, conveniently turn a blind eye? Will you?

Silence can be just as effective as vocal opposition. I think the evidence of “extreme partisanship” is more on the left this time than with the Republicans.

Posted by: George at October 21, 2011 12:27 PM
Comment #330835

George,

“But, although the “Moron in Chief” won’t be in the Whitehouse ever again, at some point in our future another Republican President will be.”

Yeah, but have you seen what is now passing for a candidate lately?

This country has produced statesmen, and yet we haven’t seen a true statesman run for president in decades.

And this seems to be a bipartisan thing. This country is in pretty deep doo doo, and we need people that can work together toward solutions. Frankly I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Look, we have dolts on both sides of the aisle, and the rancor from both sides isn’t getting us anywhere.

The left is pissed off at Obama for his wanting to compromise, and the right is pissed off at Obama because they feel he isn’t compromising enough.

Most of America is stuck in the middle, patiently waiting for these guys to get off their dead asses and do something good for the whole country, and not just whine about their partisan agenda.

Whether or not Obama did the right thing is for history to judge.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at October 21, 2011 2:05 PM
Comment #330837

American Imperialism at the push of a button with no concern of loss of life wielded by a single person with no checks in place…

Sounds like an AWESOME plan. Praise be to our illustrious potentate for having the courage to forge a bright new path of death and destruction of our enemies.

Our forefathers would have not put their lives on the line (literally) had they known this is what we would come to.

As to the Philadelphia Convention and the intent of the American founders, there was only one delegate who suggested giving the Executive the power to take offensive military action: Pierce Butler of South Carolina. He suggested the President should be able to, but in practice would have the character not to do so without mass support. Elbridge Gerry, a delegate from Massachusetts, summed up the majority viewpoint saying he “never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.” George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and others voiced similar sentiments
Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2011 5:59 PM
Comment #330838

Obama was lucky. He “led from behind” i.e. followed the British and the French, who led the effort bankrolled mostly by us. There will still be times when the U.S. has to lead.

Khadaffi was old and crazy. He had already given up his WMD after seeing what happened in Iraq. He was a bully and a coward.

The result was good so far. A bad guy is dead.

I do wonder exactly how our liberal friends would have reacted to a summary executive if Bush were still president. But I am glad he is dead.

I don’t have much confidence in the idea of 5th generation war.

“.Do we have genuine broad international support?” is a sticker. We did NOT have it in Yugoslavia. The Russians were strongly against us. The Chinese were so mad after we bombed their embassy that they launched a cyber attack. On the plus side, Clinton stayed the course and we prevailed.

In any case, we will not always have broad international support, especially if things start getting hard.

Beyond that, I repeat again, war is a very human endeavor. Our enemies are also sometimes brave, intelligent and committed. They adapt. We teach war to each other.

I also think there is a significant difference that is an advantage for Democrats. When a Republican is president, Democrats attack. Imagine the drone attacks by Bush. We don’t have to imagine what would happen if Bush kept open Guantanamo, as Obama has.

Republicans will grumble about the leader, but they will support their country in a foreign adventure to a much greater extent than will Democrats. In other words, when Obama did Libya, Republicans grumbled that he wasn’t doing it right, but there were no anti-war marches or constant talk about potential war crimes. Again, do you think Democrats would behave similarly if a Republican did the same?

That is the one reason why I am sometimes glad to have a Democrat in the White House. A Democrat can kick ass almost with impunity and some asses need kicking.

Posted by: C&J at October 21, 2011 6:10 PM
Comment #330840

Posted by Rocky Marks:

“While you are wondering about this, picture the “Moron-in-Chief” standing on the deck of that carrier, in that silly flight suit, with that big ass sign behind him.”

Speaking of “big asses”, have any of you seen the video of Hillary Clinton being asked about the death of Gaddafi? He was captured and by the time he was delivered, he had a bullet hole in the temple. Hillary’s reaction was very strange. In fact it has shaken my concept of the anti-death penalty, pro-love, anti-war liberal left. The writer says:

“I’m not one of those boo-hooing today over Qaddafi getting rough justice from people he terrorized for 40 years, but here’s a pro tip: Laughing your way through a “veni vidi vici” joke while the rest of the planet is wincing at this isn’t a classic demonstration of “smart power.” In fact, pretty much any joke about death while the deceased is bleeding from his head into the ground is probably a bad bet if you happen to be chief diplomat for the world’s greatest military power. If you want to send a “let that be a lesson to you” message, send it earnestly and tactfully. As it is, if this had been Dubya instead of the Democrats’ heir apparent, the outrageous outrage would shake the very ground we trod upon.”

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/10/20/hillary-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-saw-he-died/

I just find her laugh very evil sounding and strange. JMHO

Pertaining to the reaction from the right: I heard several, on Fox News, comment their support for the president’s efforts to take out Gaddafi.

Posted by: Mike at October 21, 2011 6:58 PM
Comment #330841

Rhinehold,
If another country launched a nuclear attack upon the United States, do you think the president should use the few minutes available go before Congress before doing anything?

Posted by: phx8 at October 21, 2011 7:08 PM
Comment #330842

phx8,

Apparently you have a problem understanding the difference between defense and offense?

You’re right, screw limits on what the president can do… we could send home all of those congressmen and just give him total control!

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2011 7:15 PM
Comment #330847

Rhinehold,
In a nuclear exchange, the first targets will probably be the other side’s nuclear weapons. It’s a matter of ‘use it or lose it.’ There’s simply not enough time before communications will be difficult if not impossible. The initial attack would probably involve detonating five or so airburst nuclear weapons at a high altitude in a star pattern over the United States. The resulting EMP would instantly destroy most command and communications, computers. Virtually anything with a computer chip would fail, including most car engines. That’s why the president has that ‘football’ with the nuclear enabling codes nearby at all times, and that is why Congressional approval as envisioned by the Constitution would be impossible.

The Powell Doctrine, the US military response to Fourth Generation Warfare, recognizes just how critically important it is to gain the support of the people for a war. Curiously, it strengthened the Constitutional provision to seek Congressional approval. The newest form of warfare might make that approval easier to bypass, since warfare can be conducted from a distance, with local proxies receiving their direction from intelligence agencies, free from much oversight.

A lot has changed since the Constitution was written, and portions have been rendered irrelevant or perverted by a Supreme Court that awarded itself too much power through Marbury v Madision. As a result, our democracy of today is being destroyed once and for all by the notion that corporations are people, and that money is a form of free speech. Money has taken control of the Legislatures, and the difficulty of amending the Constitution cripples our ability to stop the slide into a corporatist plutocracy.

And there’s your rant of the evening…

Posted by: phx8 at October 21, 2011 8:04 PM
Comment #330848
In a nuclear exchange, the first targets will probably be the other side’s nuclear weapons. It’s a matter of ‘use it or lose it.’ There’s simply not enough time before communications will be difficult if not impossible.

Again, you are trying to suggest that there is no difference between offensive actions and defensive actions.

No one has ever suggested that the president doesn’t have the power to use the military in a defensive manner during an attack. However, it is very clear from the writing of the constitution AND the stated views of the writers of the constitution that the people (through congress) had the say as to whether or not the military was to be sent offensively against foreign countries.

The newest form of warfare might make that approval easier to bypass, since warfare can be conducted from a distance, with local proxies receiving their direction from intelligence agencies, free from much oversight.

Which is the exact reason we need to put up very clear, defined roadblocks to that action.

our democracy of today is being destroyed once and for all by the notion that corporations are people, and that money is a form of free speech. Money has taken control of the Legislatures, and the difficulty of amending the Constitution cripples our ability to stop the slide into a corporatist plutocracy.

First, it’s not a democarcy, in case you weren’t aware.

Second, Corporations are not people. They *ARE* collections of people. They are *NOT* unfeeling robots. FYI, Citizens United (which is sounds like you are upset about) had nothing to do with corporate personhood.

Third, speech is speech. Since you don’t seem to be aware of what Citizens Unite was actually about, the federal government claimed the power to pick and choose who could speak and who couldn’t, ban books, ban documentaries, silence unions, NAACP, UCLA, etc…

If you want to end a potential corporatist plutocracy (which we currently do not have btw), work with those of us who understand the real issue, that the government has been given so much power over the individual citizens that the corporations seek to control it. You can’t have it both ways. Madison was right, but you plainly choose to not see it. End the Totalitarian path that we are currently on.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2011 8:29 PM
Comment #330849

Rhinehold,
So… let me see… all the president has to do is say “that was a defensive action” and presto! All the bases are covered. Come to think of it, the Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense. Well. That takes care of that. Clever wordplay makes the problem worse, not better.

Democratic Republic. Republican democracy. I’m good with either.

A corporation is not a collection of people. It is a legal fiction. Big difference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

For me, that discussion will have to be another time. I’m working some long hours tomorrow.

But I can’t resist… the size and power of government is NOT the problem. Install publicly financed elections and the size/power becomes irrelevant. Do that, and the power will reside with the people, in accordance with the Constitution and the dictates of a republican democracy/democratic republic, not corporations and the richest of the rich.

Posted by: phx8 at October 21, 2011 8:47 PM
Comment #330850

phx8

The size of government IS a problem because at some size any organization becomes unmanageable.

Problems with our government don’t come mostly because crooks are in charge. Most of the problems are simple problems of information and agency. Government services must be delivered through institutions and bureaucracies that create their own frictions and incentive systems. Beyond that, no organization or system can properly aggregate information in such a way that decision makers in a rule based bureaucracy can understand.

Beyond that, in a democracy you can get a tyranny of the majority, even if - especially if - you have real equality in politics. Many thing just don’t belong in a elective political process. A democracy can threaten liberty too.

Posted by: C&J at October 21, 2011 8:56 PM
Comment #330851

You are telling me that if you publiclly finance elections (meaning we forcibly take money from the citizens to hear poltiicans prattle on) then no one with any money will try to influence the election? They won’t make documentaries, write books, etc?

Only then, of course, only the rich will be able to influence the elections, groups of people (like Citizens United, NAACP, ACLU, AFL-CIO, etc) will be shut out of the process…

I’m almost inclined to give it to you so you can see just how much worse it would be.

Oh and I’m sure the corporations wouldn’t dare try to get special favors from the government then either… it would stop them in their tracks!

I’m sorry, but your suggestion is one of the worse I’ve ever heard AND goes against the basic rights a citizen of the United States has, freedom of speech… Putting people in jail for speaking their mind, the hallmark of the totalitarian/populist agenda.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2011 9:02 PM
Comment #330855


So, all we have to do is cut the military by half and we reduce that corporate influence on government by half.

We can scrap those high priced fighter jets and massive aircraft carriers and replace them with smaller, faster, much more economical dronecraft carriers.

Dronecraft carriers, remember where you heard it first.

We cut out the loans and incentives for corporations and further reduce their influence.

We clean up the regulatory agencies so they actually do their jobs and clean up the procurement process to get rid of the waste, fraud and cronyism.

We end the game of musical chairs of employees moving from corporate, to government, to lobbies, round and round.

Life sentences for corporate lawyers caught writing legislation and the politicians that allow it to happen.

Are there any other reasons for corporations to give huge amounts of money to politicians for favors?

The tax code? Trade treaties? Limit U.S. Senators to one term, two at the most. Limit all elected positions combined to two millionaires at any one time, representative government.

Posted by: jlw at October 22, 2011 12:33 AM
Comment #330857
Oh and I’m sure the corporations wouldn’t dare try to get special favors from the government then either… it would stop them in their tracks!

Free speech zones for lobbyist, Rhinehold, much like protestors get would solve the problem. Police enforcement of lobbyist, just like protestors get, when they get out of the free speech zone set up miles from Congress and the White House.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 22, 2011 12:56 AM
Comment #330859

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Posted by: baimizhou at October 22, 2011 3:42 AM
Comment #330912
Free speech zones for lobbyist, Rhinehold, much like protestors get would solve the problem. Police enforcement of lobbyist, just like protestors get, when they get out of the free speech zone set up miles from Congress and the White House.

That you don’t see the inherit evil in this disturbs me…

Yes, a totalitarian regieme would prevent a lot of people you don’t like from being able to speak or they would be taken to jail… That you think this is somehow an idea representative of freedom and liberty baffles me.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2011 9:33 AM
Comment #330913

jlw,

All fine things, yes. A start perhaps. Needs to go further. I don’t see a need for spending 700 billion dollars on defense when the next highest spend amount is 114 billion for China. We are taking money from the pockets of hard working Americans to pay for the defense of other countries, freeing up those individuals to keep more of their hard earned money, which they can then use to plot to take the US down. It’s not only madness, its 180% opposite of the ideas that this country was founded upon.

There is a big difference between realizing sooner we need to get involved in a world war in Europe and thinking you have a right to put your nose in everyone else’s affairs, transferring our wealth to other countries that stand up and speak out against us time and time again… Enough is enough.

Corporate welfare should end, tax breaks for businesses should end. If a company can compete and thrive, great! But we should not be picking winners and losers, that goes for BOTH sides.

Are there any other reasons for corporations to give huge amounts of money to politicians for favors?

Other than the fact that they are not allowed to, no. Giving money to a candidate is not speech, buying political ads, writing political books, producing political documentaries, that is speech.

BTW, Citizens United did not make it legal for corporations to donate to campaigns, FYI. It just recognized the right of individuals to pool their money together in the form of a corporation to have their voice heard. You know, like the NAACP, ACLU, Citizens United, etc.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2011 9:41 AM
Comment #330914

Rhinehold it is no more evil than the free speech zones for protestors that seem to pass constitutional muster.

The problem with the lobbyist is the inherent evil of the corporations they serve. We must choose between evils.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 22, 2011 9:45 AM
Comment #330915

Wow, so the NAACP and ACLU are evil? I hadn’t realized, I kind of thought they did pretty good things…

As for free speech ‘zones’, you seem to think that I agree with those as well. Just because our constitution has been altered to be a haven for totalitarian beliefs doesn’t make it right.

But yes, there is a difference between telling someone that their free speech rights don’t allow them to speak on private property but they can speak all they want on their own private property or public property and telling someone that they can’t speak AT ALL.

You are ok with the latter, which *IS* evil and totalitarian.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2011 10:49 AM
Comment #330919


The Constitution was written by the elitists for the elitists. Their only argument was who would be the most powerful, the country squires or the bankers, merchants and industrialists. The common people were deliberately cut out of the equation and anyone who has read our early history knows the the common people weren’t happy about it. The common people had to take it upon themselves to write themselves into the Constitution.

Don’t be deceived by wealth’s mouthpiece constantly yammering about the left wants to take our money and make everybody equal. That is pure propaganda.

The facts are that the common people have allowed wealth to play it’s game, allowed it to influence government for it’s own purposes, until a consensus concludes that the greed has become two excessive and needs to be check.

The left is merely a tool, for the most part, ignored by the people until the consensus is reached, then they listen.

The people are fast approaching a consensus. They are tired of the growing disparity in wealth distribution, wealth’s disproportionate influence on government, and the way in which the government is pursuing wealth’s globalization program with little or no regard for the American workers, turning them into Luddites or low wage servants.

The left speaks up for the common man, the right speaks down to him, as in we know what is best for you.

IMO, what the common people want is not the extremes of the left or the right, but a balance and stability.

As it was in the beginning so it is today, the engagement will continue.

Posted by: jlw at October 22, 2011 2:57 PM
Comment #330920
The Constitution was written by the elitists for the elitists.

Sorry, when you make such a blatently absurd statement like that you are going to have to back that up with SOME kind of quote, link or something.

What ‘the common man’ wants more than anything is to be LEFT THE HELL ALONE BY PEPOLE WITH GUNS telling them what to do. You know, the government.

Have you really played out in your head what would happen if the rich were eaten? If everyone making over 1% just simply decided the hassle wasn’t worth it anymore and just stopped working, stopped running businesses, stopped innovating?

Have a couple of things for you to read (which of course I know you won’t, but hey, I’ll try).

The Forgotten Man

Common Sense

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2011 4:10 PM
Comment #330923

“The Forgotten Man” was an excellent read and I thank you for the link Rhinehold. I believe that everyone would benefit from giving it a read and some serious thought. Although, I know, that for some…it would hit too hard on the head and might inflict a headache. It is often the case when one sees their own reflection in the mirror…undisguised and honestly presented.

Of course, reading Thomas Paine is always enjoyable.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 22, 2011 7:48 PM
Comment #330925

Rhinehold,

The assumption of “Citizens United” is that corporations have an independent status as persons deserving Constitutional protection under the 1st Amendment. That is the issue for those opposed to “Citizens United.”

At the time that the Constitution was written, corporations were creations of the state, chartered for specific economic and business purposes and limited in time. They were never thought of as part of the political body comprising “We the people.” Rather, they were entities in service to “We the people.”

Now, they have been elevated to status equivalent to natural persons deserving all the protections afforded to natural persons under the Constitution. Its an absurd interpretation of the Constitution. If their very existence and rights have always been subject to state discretion, how could it be that they have any inherent rights? How could it be that the state could not limit certain political expressions on their part?

Posted by: Rich at October 22, 2011 8:40 PM
Comment #330930
The assumption of “Citizens United” is that corporations have an independent status as persons deserving Constitutional protection under the 1st Amendment. That is the issue for those opposed to “Citizens United.”

That is like saying the assumption of the freedom of religion is to put a man on the moon. You can assume all you want, but the decision of Citizen United had *zero* to do with ‘corporate personhood’.

Now, they have been elevated to status equivalent to natural persons deserving all the protections afforded to natural persons under the Constitution.

Except they haven’t. Had they been given that status, they would be able to donate to candidates (they can’t), vote in elections (they can’t), run for office (they can’t), own weapons (they can’t), etc.

Citizens United simply put the final nail in the coffin of a very badly written law that tried to tell people that if they pooled their money together and chose to protect it under the legal definition of a ‘corporation’ that they lost their rights to free speech.

If you actually read the majority decision, no where in there will you find them suggesting or defending the notion that ‘corporations have the same rights as individuals’. What you will find is that they determined two things. First, that political speech must be protected no matter what its source is, period. Second, that individuals don’t lose their right to free speech simply because they use that speech while within an association of other individuals.

This ruling, as I said, was just the final nail in the coffin for McCain - Feingold, earlier rulings had taken most of the teeth out of it. This law was so badly written that it allowed the government to be able to ban books and prevent newspapers from endorsing candidates. Do you find this somehow a good idea?

It also allows now that corporations like the NAACP, ACLU, NOW, NRA, etc can still have the ability to make their views heard in the political atmosphere. It also allows the same for unions (which were also considered ‘illegal’ 30 days before an election under this law). That the opponents of the decision only focus on the corporations (and further only on nebulous EVIL corporations) tell where the real motives lie.

They want to shut up people they disagree with.

Please go back and find anywhere where the founding fathers wanted anyone to go to jail for speaking their mind. We allow the KKK, Nazi Youth, Communist Party, etc to all have free speech, why does the fact that the grouping of people forming under a legal construct to provide rules on how it is run (a corporation) mean suddenly that those people should not be allowed their right to free speech?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 23, 2011 10:56 AM
Comment #330943

“That is like saying the assumption of the freedom of religion is to put a man on the moon. You can assume all you want, but the decision of Citizen United had *zero* to do with ‘corporate personhood’.”

I respectively disagree. So, did the dissent. As Justice Stevens pointed out, corporations are creatures of the state. As such, why would should they not be subject to regulation, including political speech?

“Unlike our colleagues, they [framers] had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings,and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.55 While individuals might join together to exercise their speech rights, business corporations, at least, were plainly not seen as facilitating such associational or expressive ends. Even “the notion that business corporations could invoke the First Amendment would probably have been quite a novelty,”given that “at the time, the legitimacy of every corporate activity was thought to rest entirely in a concession of the sovereign.” Shelledy, Autonomy, Debate, and Corporate Speech, 18 Hastings Const. L. Q. 541, 578 (1991); cf. Trus-tees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 (1819) (Marshall, C. J.) Justice Stevens, dissenting opinion, Citizens United.


Posted by: Rich at October 23, 2011 8:15 PM
Comment #330948

And the dissent is irrelevant. Find me in the decision one mention of ‘corporate personhood’ or even close to the concept. The decision was made as I said it was.

As for ‘corporations being a product of the state, therefore they can be regulated’, you know that is BS. Are you saying that members of a corporation can have their right to self incrimination squashed? Or search and seizure laws? Why do we have to bother with ‘warrants’ and the like when seizing documents of a corporation? Why do we not just seize their assets, where is their protection against that?

It is very simple, speech cannot be silenced no matter what the source. And the dissent ignores the clear precident of corporation’s free speech being protected in several cases.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for engaging in political speech, but Austin ’s antidistortion rationale would permit the Government to ban political speech because the speaker is an association with a corporate form. Political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation.”

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html

Show me where in this decision the idea that a corporation has rights other than as an association of individuals who don’t lose theirs when they participate in that association.

The Court returns to the principle established in Buckley and Bellotti that the Government may not suppress political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.

Now, tell me why you think it is ok to silence groups like the NAACP, ACLU, NRA and others? Would it be ok if they didn’t incorporate, then could they have their free speech rights, please?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 23, 2011 10:38 PM
Comment #330958

A corporation is a legal entity separate and distinct from its shareholders.

Posted by: Rich at October 24, 2011 1:48 AM
Comment #330960

phx8

“Democratic Republic. Republican democracy. I’m good with either.”

actually the correct term for our form of gov’t would be a representative republic.

Posted by: dbs at October 24, 2011 5:33 AM
Comment #330966
A corporation is a legal entity separate and distinct from its shareholders.

And the distinction you think you are making is entirely irrelevant. Again, read the decision instead of letting others tell you what it says.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 24, 2011 9:58 AM
Comment #330975

What the President did in Libya was let the momentum of what Libyans themselves wanted propel the efforts against Qaddafi.

I guess the most succinct way to put it is that there is a difference between taking a side in another country’s civil war, and taking over a side, between rendering help to a faction, and becoming THE help for a faction.

We helped them to do something they were already motivated to do, then we get more mileage out of it. You can’t force a population to do something it doesn’t want to do without some rather severe complications and backlash.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 24, 2011 2:07 PM
Comment #330977


The genre of science fiction has explored many possible future political, economic, and religious scenarios. Several decades ago, one writer, Fredric Pohl, envisioned a future scenario in which corporations, through the use of bribery and propaganda, would gain complete control of the election process and the government. Some forty years later we are at a crossroads where we must decide to check the power of the corporations or capitulate.

Choice has become a corporate illusion, because choice does not reside with the customer but the corporations. If a corporation decides that a million loyal customers is not profitable enough, the customers lose out on the choice of purchasing that product. How many people have experienced seeing a product they loved and bought often just disappear from the shelves.

Posted by: jlw at October 24, 2011 2:18 PM
Comment #330978
What the President did in Libya was let the momentum of what Libyans themselves wanted propel the efforts against Qaddafi.

Unconstitutionally.

Now, had the President just gone to the US public, stated the case and asked for permission to get involved in another country’s Civil War, he would most likely have gotten it through the authorization of the congress and been able to complete this mission with the stated approval of the American people, keeping the limits of the constitution in check so that when the next administration came into office they would not have the precident to ignore the stated limits of the office…

Unfortunately now, if the next administration decides to get involved in some civil war in another country, it can just do it without concern since the precident is in place now…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 24, 2011 2:40 PM
Comment #331002
In the case of Libya, US objectives were achieved without a single American casualty.

Really? And those objectives are what?

The real problems in Iraq occurred after toppling Saddam Hussein. But here are we with Gadaffi toppled and we’re already flying the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner. Ridiculous.
Rinse, wash and repeat.

The Bush people failed to have any coherent plan for what would come after Hussein. And the Obama people don’t either with Libya.

I don’t concede that we should have gotten involved in either place, but it’s interesting to hear the left-wingers talking exactly like the right-wingers of a few years ago. Put a D behind the name and listen to the tune change! Why should we have bombed Libya? To promote Democracy in the Middle East and advance human rights there? To secure the oil supplies? There’s no answer to the question that doesn’t sound like Dick Cheney said it.

Oh yeah, we should only attack countries that directly threaten us. Oh, but there’s a D behind the name now, so I guess we don’t have to worry about being invaded by Gadaffi’s Libya now. We’ll see what the Islamic radicals we’ve put in charge think about that. Good news! The new Libyan leaders have announced that Sharia Law will be the new basis of Libyan law. Libyan women better dig into the back of their closets for their burqas.

Here’s the thing. Is this just about Democrats showing they can be as macho as Republicans when it comes to waging unnecessary war or is there actually some objective here we should be thinking about? At least with the Republicans our presence in the country actually gave us the chance to shape those objectives, whatever they were. In Libya we’ve simply created an Islamic Fundamentalist state that we now have no influence over.

Posted by: Jason at October 25, 2011 1:02 AM
Comment #331004

“In Libya we’ve simply created an Islamic Fundamentalist state that we now have no influence over.”

Nonsense. Sharia law is the basis for virtually all Middle East states including the new Iraqi state. We had “presence” in Iraq when they established Sharia law as the foundation of the new Iraqi state.

The fact that a Middle East state adopts Sharia law doesn’t mean that it will be a fundamentalist state in practice.

Posted by: Rich at October 25, 2011 1:42 AM
Comment #331014

Rhinehold-
Obama may have bent a few rules here and there, but he didn’t break them. More importantly, he acted quickly, decisively, and smartly. You praised a much sloppier, much more deceptively justified, much more problematic war, which you had to jump through quite a few hoops to apologize for.

Obama maintained minimal involvement, employed action on the part of treaty organizations that Congress already budgeted and provided for, got real international support, and let that support take the frontline. This was a laparascopic intervention, cheap, minimally invasive on our part, and pretty much cleared by all parties involved, even the Arabs themselves.

What’s important is that Obama’s plan was timely. You say, oh, we should have discussed this in Congress before committing. There wasn’t really time, though, if you weren’t interesting in coming up behind and mopping up the bloodstains.

The Position of Commander in Chief allows the president to command our forces immediately, now. Declaring war on a country, or mounting a huge war effort requires the aid of Congress, but he doesn’t necessarily have to consult Congress on how and where he runs our military. There are checks and balances in place, as they should be, but The President’s check and balance to Congress is that he doesn’t have to wait on Congressional approval to act if the need is compelling. Congress’s check and balance is that he can’t unilaterally declare a state of war between America and another country, and he has to come to Congress to get the money for what he does.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2011 12:13 PM
Comment #331017

SD

“More importantly, he acted quickly, decisively, and smartly.”

Yep, 6 months later. Many deaths later. The rest of the sentence follows likewise. Ho Hum, Liberals, Leftists, Socialists, etc. the more they change the more they stay the same.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at October 25, 2011 12:29 PM
Comment #331019

Jason-
Well, it is mission accomplished. As we’re not an occupying force, we don’t really need to continue military efforts for much longer. More to the point, when Bush flew his banner, he still had something like several months to go before he actually caught Saddam Hussein. (May 2003 to December 2003)

It’s on the Libyan’s really. We probably have some plans as to what we could do, should the need arise, but for the time being, it will probably be mainly a European and Libyan concern. As far as the reasons go? Humanitarian for one thing. To send a message to other Arab States about where America will side, for another. To curry favor with the Arab population by supporting the Arab Spring in more than just words.

As for Sharia? Right-wingers have flattened western perspective on what Sharia is and can be, so we identify every example of Sharia with the drain-cleaner concentrate version that comes from the Taliban. There are degrees of strictness possible, the way a Christian Government can be anything from a full theocracy to, well, half the Countries in Europe, where the nations have established churches.

Paranoia is bad for foreign policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2011 12:47 PM
Comment #331020

tom humes-
The folks on the right seem to have taken every position they can on the matter, depending on what was happening in Libya, or what we were doing.

This is opportunistic trash talk, not a consistent, much less a consistent policy alternative.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2011 1:01 PM
Comment #331040

There is a note of hipocrisy here. It is ok when Obama does this in whatever forum he wants to claim (mainly to get votes), yet Syria should be treated the same way and Obama gives them a pass. The main reason is that Libya now will implement Shria law under their new constitution. Syria has Shria law now. Shows Obama’s support for Shria law. That is a easy progression to follow. Now you can spin, deny or whatever way you want to handle the truth, except accept it, and you will look and act foolish.

Posted by: tom humes at October 25, 2011 8:02 PM
Comment #331042
Obama may have bent a few rules here and there, but he didn’t break them.

Not according to his own legal advisors.

http://www.salon.com/2011/06/18/libya_10/

More importantly, he acted quickly, decisively, and smartly.

He lied in saying that we were only there to protect civilians when that turned out to not be his goal at all. He defied the constitution in engaging us in offensive warfare without congressional approval. That is not ‘smart’. That was not ‘decisive’. I will give you the quick, though…

You praised a much sloppier, much more deceptively justified, much more problematic war, which you had to jump through quite a few hoops to apologize for.

Please feel free to go through the archives and show me where I praised George Bush on anything? In fact, you will find things like this:

When President Bush made his case for the invasion of Iraq, he unfortunately did so with little regard on making the full case. This is one problem I have with his administration, not that he couldn’t have, but that he didn’t. His advisors, his intelligence, the intelligence of our friends and years of knowledge about what was going on in Iraq led him to believe that the case was a ‘Slam Dunk’ as has been often repeated.

Or this just one year later:

The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life. For that, I commend them. However, the post invasion actions in Iraq have been, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Not only that, any attempt to win the hearts of the Iraqi people have failed at a high cost to the United States. If the Iraqi people supported our occupation, understanding their security would be improved by the additional security that we could provide, then perhaps it would be worth it. Helping a fledgling new democracy get their constitution and government in order. But we know the sad truth now that our approval there by the very people we are trying to help is at an all time low.

It is unfortunate that in the years that we have argued and discussed the topic of Iraq you have failed to grasp anything that I have said about it. Please feel free to find my ‘praise’ of George Bush and post it here.

Obama maintained minimal involvement

Irrelevant.

employed action on the part of treaty organizations that Congress already budgeted and provided for

Unconstitutionally

got real international support

There were about a quarter of the countries involved in Libya as there were participaing in Iraq. If by ‘real international support’ you mean France, well there you have me.

and let that support take the frontline. This was a laparascopic intervention, cheap, minimally invasive on our part, and pretty much cleared by all parties involved, even the Arabs themselves.

Except the American people by way of our elected officials as the Constitution dictates.

What’s important is that Obama’s plan was timely. You say, oh, we should have discussed this in Congress before committing. There wasn’t really time, though, if you weren’t interesting in coming up behind and mopping up the bloodstains.

No time? What BS. There were weeks leading up to the deployment of military assets to Libya, a simple resolution could have passed the house and senate in half of that time, if there was support for it. Obama was concerned there wasn’t, especially had he told the truth about our involvement.

The Position of Commander in Chief allows the president to command our forces immediately, now.

Defensively. Againt foreign threats. If the country is in immenent danger. I’ve quoted you the founding fathers on the issue already.

Declaring war on a country, or mounting a huge war effort requires the aid of Congress, but he doesn’t necessarily have to consult Congress on how and where he runs our military.

Before the President puts military assets of any kind in a foreign country offensively, he has to seek congressional approval. It is not a hard thing to grasp… You can make shit up all you want but it doesn’t make it match up with the constitution or our founding father’s wishes to keep us from doing things exactly like this without congressional support, the support of the people (house) and the states (senate).

There are checks and balances in place, as they should be, but The President’s check and balance to Congress is that he doesn’t have to wait on Congressional approval to act if the need is compelling.

Compelling? No, the phrase you are looking for is ‘immediate danger to the US’. Which wasn’t the case at all.

Congress’s check and balance is that he can’t unilaterally declare a state of war between America and another country, and he has to come to Congress to get the money for what he does.

Congratulations on spelling out the exact defense that the next administration will now use when deploying forces across the globe when you disagree with them. Some of us will remain consistent, others flip their views based on who is in office. At least George Bush sought congressional approval for both Afghanistan and Iraq, according to you he did not have to do that…

I find it interesting how toppling another country’s government isn’t ‘declaring a state of war on that country’ but whatever works for you I guess…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 25, 2011 8:59 PM
Comment #331046

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation” — candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007

“No more ignoring the law when it’s inconvenient. That is not who we are… . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers” — candidate Barack Obama, August 1, 2007

Too bad candidate Barack Obama was not elected, we woudn’t have had this issue…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 25, 2011 9:08 PM
Comment #331047

http://www.salon.com/2011/05/19/libya_7/

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Comment #337237

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