Tag Archives: Libya

With Friends Like These…

Since the beginning of the War on Terror, the United States has taken on the task of forming hostile nations into allies in the Middle East. The best analogy I can think of to currently describe the way things have gone is likening our nation building efforts to the comic strip “Peanuts”. The nations that we go to war with are much like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, America in this scenario, to kick. We run to kick the football, Lucy moves the football, and we fall on our behind. The difference is that immediately afterward, Charlie Brown knows that he’s been had and vows to never fall for that again, before he inevitably does. Our politicians on the other hand, refuse to reflect on the results of past interventions and many times embrace a “full steam ahead” approach.

I don’t write this as apologetics for Ron Paul, the Cato Institute, the founding fathers, Reason Magazine or any other well known libertarian intellectual cause. Instead, I’m going to use an inherently conservative thought process, the cost-benefit analysis. Liberals hate the cost-benefit analysis because it shows that their government programs to be counter-productive; this is why they often resort to arguing based on emotions and intent. Unfortunately, despite President Bush’s noble intentions, the major engagements of the War on Terror may not pass the cost-benefit test.

We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to eliminate Al-Qaeda and to topple the country’s acting government, the Taliban. While fighting the enemy, we also helped set up an acting Afghan government. And in 2004 Hamid Karzai was elected president of the country and the US has supported him ever since. However, it has been revealed that Karzai and his family are corrupt and that he perhaps fraudulently won re-election in 2009. The US decided to express its disapproval by sending a troop surge of 30,000 to double down on our efforts of giving him a stable country to govern. Worse yet, its also been learned that Karzai, behind our back, has been in talks with the Taliban and has had diplomatic relations with Iran. But even before Karzai’s corruption became apparent, he still wasn’t exactly our BFF. Karzai frequently threw the US “under the bus” in press conferences and openly supports the farmers there growing Opium poppy despite our requests. Even taking Karzai out of the equation, a cost-benefit analysis must be done (not in this article) on whether or not we should still be fighting in Afghanistan. Former CIA director and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panneta estimated in 2010 that there were no more than 50-100 Al-Qaeda still in the country.

Next we turned to Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator who ended up getting what he deserved, not many Americans on either side of the political aisle would disagree with that. But, as the Iraq war winded down and the US turned into a police force to help stabilize their government, the people at home wondered what the new Iraqi government would look like. While still in its infant stages, details of the new Iraqi government have been disappointing at best. It appears as though Iraq has warmed up to its former hated enemy, Iran. This is particularly bad, because the Iraq-Iran conflict helped to keep Iran in check. This is why in the 1980s we helped supply Iraq with materials to produce chemical/biological weapons; with the idea of them to using the weapons against Iran. Further showing its gratitude towards the US, Iraq recently voted against Saudi Arabia’s proposal to increase oil production at OPEC’s 2011 conference. Seeing nations turn their back on the US after the US had invested large sums of money isn’t particularly unusual, but what makes this different is that the US still has 50,000 soldiers over there. This is a blatant slap in the face.

Worst of all is Libya. If there is something positive to be said of the War in Libya, one could say that its been the least costly of the wars. Despite its comparatively low price tag, Libya could quite possibly have the costliest long term consequences. To clarify, just like Saddam, Muammar Gaddafi is an evil dictator who deserves whatever grisly fate that awaits him. But, the United States went to war for the stated goal of stopping an alleged massacre that never took place, not for “regime change”. Then, in spite of goals which stated otherwise, we stayed until the regime change was complete. Now the question that remains is, “What now? Who are these rebels?”. That answer appears to be an interesting mix of regular citizens who grew tired of their oppressor, radical Islamic insurgents, and long term US ally Al-Qaeda. Wait… no, that’s not right, Al-Qaeda’s goal is to destroy the US and Israel. While the new Libyan constitution hasn’t been written, it was released that Sharia law is anticipated to be the main source of inspiration. If the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity in Egypt is any indication, the so called “Arab Spring” will not have positive long term effects on the US and it’s allies. Rarely do events have 100% negative consequences without a silver lining, and Libya very well could be one of those times. In life there are disappoints and ideas that backfire, but rarely do you spend money and resources to create a nation whose leadership’s stated goal is to destroy you. Before many marriages that end in divorce go bad, there is usually a blissful honeymoon. Likewise the Libyan rebels started off giving the US a deserved gift, by denying their request to extradite Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi.

The Middle East has plenty of hostile countries, some unfriendly indifferent nations, and very few allies. One of those nations considered friendly to the US is Kuwait, particularly after we saved them from Saddam Hussein’s invasion in Desert Storm. Now to Kuwait’s credit, they have repaid us with their support in the UN by voting against us a region-low 67% of the time. More and more on the right, people grow disenfranchised by our foreign involvements. Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said that behind closed doors, most republicans will admit that Iraq was a mistake. This sentiment briefly gave businessman Donald Trump the affection of some republicans when he considered a presidential run. One of Trump’s main platforms was taking trillions of dollars in oil from Iraq to offset our costs there. The fact that the idea garnered some support among republicans shows that at the very least, they’re willing to admit that the Iraq war didn’t yield desired results; so they feel the need to get something out of it. I agree that in retrospect, knowing what we know now, it was a mistake. But you can’t go around taking nation’s oilfields or anything else for that matter, might doesn’t make right. The equivalent I draw from the people who support the US taking oil from these nations we intervene in is this: Let’s say I cut your grass without me asking. You either try to stop me or passively let it happen. When its done I take some household appliances to compensate myself.

A best case scenario in these countries is that we pay billions yearly for their defense, having them become reliant on us, allowing them to become socialist in nature; all while complaining about our presence and influence. This allows them to become what I like to call “International democrats”. They do nothing to warrant the US taxpayer paying for their defense or fighting for them, yet we do it. What would be better is if we charged them at cost or more for us to protect them, but even then, that’s only a solution if you want to use our military men and women as mercenaries instead of only using them to “protect the US Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic”. Better would be forcing these nations to pay for their own defense, taking them off the government payroll.

In the world there are going to be problems that arise on an international level. Friendly dictators and elected officials alike will lose power or get overthrown from time to time. When a US-friendly regime loses power its one thing, when the US pays great costs in lives and money to create a hostile regime is infinitely worse. Woodrow Wilson’s progressive dream is alive and well today with the goal of “making the world safe for democracy”, championed by republicans (McCain, Graham) and democrats (Lieberman). Creating democracies in a region where the people who make up the electorate despise the US would seem to make the policy mutually exclusive with safety at home.

Hillary Clinton Secures $1.5 Billion for Libyan Rebels

The Secretary of State’s office released a statement on Libya Friday morning. In Clinton’s statement she announces that $1.5 Billion in funds previously frozen by the United States would be made available to the transitional government – the TNC or Transitional National Council.

Today, the Libya Contact Group held a meeting in Istanbul to demonstrate our continued commitment to Libya and to focus on the urgent financial needs of the TNC. The Contact Group called for an expedited process to lift sanctions on Libyan assets. The United States supports this call.

Today, we have secured the release of $1.5 billion in Libyan assets that had been frozen in the United States. This money will go toward meeting the needs of the people of Libya. We urge other nations to take similar measures. Many are already doing so.

 

 

Tripoli Falls!

Earlier today, Libyan rebels took over Col. Mohammar Qaddafi’s compound in the middle of the capital city of Tripoli.

Fighters poured into the area by the hundreds, carting off boxes of ammunition and firing weapons in the air in celebration. Several young men placed a head seized from a statue of Qaddafi under their feet and kicked it. One happily lifted it above his head while his comrades danced and yelled joyfully around him.

A rebel exited the Qaddafi house wearing the dictator’s hat and other artifacts while saying that he had been waiting for this moment for 42 years. Even as they’ve taken Triploi, Qaddafi loyalists continued the fighting on the city’s edges. The fight is likely to move towards Qaddafi’s home city of Sirte.

There has been no sign of Qaffafi so while the rebels control the capital, the leadership of the country is much in question.

The real concern is what will rise in place of the iron fist rule of Mohammar. There are elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Queda and Iranian militia mixed in the rebel groups each with their own agenda and future intent for Libya.

A draft constitution for Libya as it recovers from the way may be contentious. The new document stresses that all laws be based on Sharia Law.

Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

While making headlines around the world, Sharia or Islamic law is nothing new in Libya. In the early ’70s Qaddafi himself introduced sharia back into Libyan government. Immodest forms of entertainment were shut down and Qaddafi banned non-conforming styles of dress.

The Transitional National Council (TNC), Libya’s interim anti-Gaddafi government, has been the only somewhat legitimate political face of the rebels. On 5 March 2011, the TNC declared itself to be the “only legitimate body representing the people of Libya and the Libyan state”. More than 40 countries have recognized the body, led by Mahmoud Jibril, as the interim government during the transition to whatever Libya’s future may bring. A state department spokesperson stated that the TNC rejects all forms of extremism and the Obama administration seems to be taking them at their word.

It is impossible to know what will rise from the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime, if that is in fact what has happened.

Allen West Talks With CDNews on Debt, the Economy and Foreign Policy

Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend twenty minutes with Congressman Allen West (R FL-22) and ask him about the outcome of the debt-limit negotiations, the current state of the economy and U.S. foreign policy. Once the pleasantries were exchanged, we got right to the questions.

Rich: Moody’s cut the U.S. economic outlook for 2011 and people are still struggling to find jobs. What would you like to see done on to fix the economy?

Rep. West: I think One of the things that has to happen is the government has to set the conditions to incentivize long-term, sustainable economic growth in America. When we continue to talk about bigger government and tax hikes, that’s not how we do it. I think when you look at the corporate tax rate in America, which is the second highest in the world, very simply let’s take that tax rate and cut it down to 20-21% and remove all the loopholes, strategies and subsidies and give our corporations and businesses a competitive tax rate. For the individual tax rate, since many businesses operate as sub chapter S corporations, let’s flatten that out to somewhere between 13% and 16% and only have two deductions: the child tax credit and the mortgage interest deduction.

For clarification, I repeated what I’d heard and got even more insight into how the Congressman would kick start the economy. He mentioned that not only would he be in favor of the lower corporate tax rate, but would favor making it retroactive to January 1st of 2011. As Rep. West put it, it would allow companies to recalculate their liabilities and realize additional assets that could allow them to invest, expand and hire.

Rep. West also mentioned the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley, the set of financial regulations intended to prevent market losses like those experienced due to the Enron scandal. Unfortunately, Sarbanes-Oxley is expensive to implement and lacks any real or perceived benefits. It has done little more than to burden American companies with complex regulations that make it difficult to compete in the global economy.

Stressing that the “Keynesian model just doesn’t work” Congressman West mentioned that instead of more “pie-in-the-sky gimmicks” like stimulus spending, we should be looking at real plans like the new legislation he has in the House Ways and Means Committee – H.R. 1663 is titled  “The Small Business Encouragement Act” which, according to the Republican Study Committee, would:

The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow small businesses who hire an unemployed American, a work opportunity tax credit, saving employers up to $12,000 a year per hire in some areas of the country. To qualify, small businesses must have gross receipts in the preceding taxable year not exceeding $20 million, or they must employ less than 100 full time employees. The tax credit will double for employers hiring unemployed Americans in counties with an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average, which is currently just above 9 percent.

In the RSC blog post Rep. West was quoted as saying, “The Small Business Encouragement Act is a simple, effective solution to putting people back to work by encouraging the very backbone of our economy, the small businesses.”

Rich: In addition to the economy, what other issues would you like to see the House take up after the current recess?

Rep. West: I wish we had our tails back up there in Washington, D.C. right now. We have 12 appropriations bills that we have to pass through the House and get over to the Senate. We’ve only done 6 in the House so far and I think that the Senate has only taken up one of those.

We shouldn’t be waiting around for this joint committee of Congress to get going on finding spending cuts. We should get back up there and immediately implement the $300 Billion in cuts to duplicative and redundant government programs that the GAO (Government Accounting Office) report identified earlier this year.

I think we should be very concerned that China has rolled out it’s first aircraft carrier and the United Nations (U.N.) have a unilateral vote on Palestinian statehood in September.

The Congressman also expressed that while it was fantastic to get to speak with and meet his constituents, the prevailing feeling he was getting was that voters would rather Congress was in session getting these things done.

Rich: The news yesterday mentioned a “trial balloon”-style rumor that Obama may seek to solve our jobs dilemma by creating more government – The Department of Jobs. How do you feel about that approach?

Rep. West: That’s one of the most insidious things I’ve ever heard. Look, we have some government agencies that I don’t know why they exist. Why do we have a department of labor if we need a department of jobs? Why do we have a Department of Energy, that was originally created to make us energy independent and we still don’t have a diversified energy resource portfolio in the United States of America. When I hear the President speak, all I hear is a big government, liberal, progressive, socialist that does not understand that his policies that he has tried to implement over just less than three years has brought us incredible debt and increased our trillion dollar plus deficits over the last few years.

Even the liberal-leaning Huffington Post has an article that agrees with the Congressman on the silly nature of the President’s rumored idea. HuffPo’s Ken Blackwell points out not only the redundancy that Obama’s Dept. of Jobs would have with the Labor Department, but also the Commerce Department:

Then, of course, we have the U.S. Commerce Department. The Mission Statement of this department makes it sound like it, too, is a Jobs Department.

The U.S. Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation’s workers.

We then changed the subject to the recent debt limit negotiations and outcome.

Rich: You voted for the negotiated debt-limit deal, correct?

Rep .West: Yes I did.

Rich: Out of all the plans and frameworks presented – the Ryan plan, Connie Mack’s Penny plan and cut, cap and balance, which was your favorite?

Rep. West: The Cut, Cap and Balance plan was my favorite and that was the one that 70-some-odd percent of the American people were behind. I think it’s reprehensible that Harry Reid, playing politics, tabled it. But the important thing is that you just don’t quit. The worst case situation is that the Democrats, that had no plan, no vision whatsoever, enabled a perceived or manufactured  crisis to occur. Then they turned to the blame game and the next thing you know we have to succumb to their wild and crazy economic schemes.

The final debt agreement was not the 100%. It was probably a 70-75% solution for me. The cuts in spending are not great, but at least we don’t have tax hikes. It’s also the first time ever that we’ve had a debt limit increase along with cuts in spending.

Congressman West was also quick to point out that this sets a precedent. Debt limit increases are not going to come free and easy anymore. He also was not fond of the Joint Committee, but felt it would be something they could work through.

Rich: The negotiated deal also contains, as a trigger provision, significant cuts to defense spending if deficit reductions don’t happen. Considering all that our young men and women in uniform are asked to do, are you concerned about that provision?

Rep. West:  What I found is really horrible is that we have to have this nuclear option hung over our heads as if we can’t do the sensible and the right thing and find the $1.5 trillion in additional cuts over the next ten years. I don’t think anyone wants to be there and say that “I decimated the defense structure of the United States of America on my watch”. You can best be sure that I will do everything possible on my side to make sure that this Joint Commission of Congress performs their duties. I sit on the Armed Services Committee, I have many a friend and also a nephew that is still serving. I am not going to allow them to be sent into a combat zone without the proper levels of readiness.

With the debt-limit situation covered, foreign policy was up as the final topic.

Rich: Considering the three conflicts that the U.S. is currently engaged in – Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, which, if any do you believe we should be fighting?

Rep. West: Libya we should not be fighting at all. On this I have been very vocal. I believe the President is violating statutory law and going against the War Powers Act of 1973. I was one of the first to go into Iraq in 2003 with the Fourth Infantry Division. Now it’s going to be drawn down on the 31st of December of this year. I do have some concerns on the resurgance of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi army which is supported by Iran. I believe that when you look at Afghanistan we got off-focus in being more concerned with nation building and occupation-style warfare instead of focusing on the enemy and his sanctuaries. On the tenth anniversary of 9-11,those attacks emanated out of Afghanistan, I don’t want to just pull tents and run away without having defeated the enemy to some measure of success.

Rich: There was a video put up by The Shark Tank that showed you discounting Representative Ron Paul as a serious candidate based on his foreign policy views, specifically on Iran. How would you like to see the United States deal with Iran?

Rep. West: The last thing I want to see us do is to take the Neville Chamberlain type of perspective and believe that we can compromise, appease and negotiate with Iran. You know, we’ve been in contention with Iran ever since the fall of the Shah, the rise of the Ayatollah and the hostage crisis. I believe there is going to come a time when we will have to take action against the military capability of Iran. Iran is supporting actions against our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan. For anyone to sit and say that they want to be President of the United States of America, understanding that the most important title for the President is Commander-in-Chief, and say that they would not have problem with Iran having a nuclear device because everyone else has it – shows that person does not understand mutually assured destruction theory (M.A.D.). The religious fanatics that are truly in control in Iran – if they get that device, they’re going to use it for the purposes of having an apocalyptic event so that they can conceivably bring back the 12th Imam – the Mahdi.

Rich: Obama has stressed our relationship with one of our closest allies – Israel. There is mounting pressure for the U.N. to grant statehood to Palestine and this administration seems to be doing little to prevent it. What is your stance on the statehood of Palestine?

Rep West: I’m headed over to Israel this Saturday for a week. I think the most important thing is for the President, [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Clinton should do is to come out, have a press conference and unequivocally state that they will not support a unilateral creation of a Palestinian state by the United Nations. We need to vote against it in the General Assembly. We definitely need to veto it in the U.N. security council. There should not be any quibbling about where we stand.

Congressman West expounded upon his answer by explaining that he had real concerns about a Palestinian government, Fatah,  that has reconciled with Hamas – a known terrorist group that has in its charter the destruction of Israel. Hamas does  not recognize Israel as a nation and now the U.N. would consider recognizing Palestine as a state. He also mentioned that if Palestine somehow were granted statehood, that the United States would respond by providing, “absolutely no funding to an illegitimate Palestinian State”.

Representative West is running for re-election in 2012 and you can keep up with his work in the House at west.house.gov or at his website: www.allenwestforcongress.com/

Interview Note:
There was much more from the interview, but I’ll be releasing that in separate articles as those questions were from unrelated topics. I thank Representative Allen West and his dedicated team for making this interview possible.

Tim Pawlenty Releases Middle-East Foreign Policy Statement

Governor Pawlenty gave these remarks in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations:

Tim PawlentyI want to speak plainly this morning about the opportunities and the dangers we face today in the Middle East. The revolutions now roiling that region offer the promise of a more democratic, more open, and a more prosperous Arab world. From Morocco to the Arabian Gulf, the escape from the dead hand of oppression is now a real possibility.

Now is not the time to retreat from freedom’s rise.

Yet at the same time, we know these revolutions can bring to power forces that are neither democratic nor forward-looking. Just as the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and elsewhere see a chance for a better life of genuine freedom, the leaders of radical Islam see a chance to ride political turmoil into power.

The United States has a vital stake in the future of this region. We have been presented with a challenge as great as any we have faced in recent decades. And we must get it right. The question is, are we up to the challenge?

My answer is, of course we are. If we are clear about our interests and guided by our principles, we can help steer events in the right direction. Our nation has done this in the past — at the end of World War II, in the last decade of the Cold War, and in the more recent war on terror … and we can do it again.

But President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events. He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.

And parts of the Republican Party now seem to be trying to out-bid the Democrats in appealing to isolationist sentiments. This is no time for uncertain leadership in either party. The stakes are simply too high, and the opportunity is simply too great.

No one in this Administration predicted the events of the Arab spring – but the freedom deficit in the Arab world was no secret. For 60 years, Western nations excused and accommodated the lack of freedom in the Middle East. That could not last. The days of comfortable private deals with dictators were coming to an end in the age of Twitter, You Tube, and Facebook. And history teaches there is no such thing as stable oppression.

President Obama has ignored that lesson of history. Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called “engagement.”

“Engagement” meant that in 2009, when the Iranian ayatollahs stole an election, and the people of that country rose up in protest, President Obama held his tongue. His silence validated the mullahs, despite the blood on their hands and the nuclear centrifuges in their tunnels.

While protesters were killed and tortured, Secretary Clinton said the Administration was “waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes.” She and the president waited long enough to see the Green Movement crushed.

“Engagement” meant that in his first year in office, President Obama cut democracy funding for Egyptian civil society by 74 percent. As one American democracy organization noted, this was “perceived by Egyptian democracy activists as signaling a lack of support.” They perceived correctly. It was a lack of support.

“Engagement” meant that when crisis erupted in Cairo this year, as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, Secretary Clinton declared, “the Egyptian Government is stable.” Two weeks later, Mubarak was gone. When Secretary Clinton visited Cairo after Mubarak’s fall, democratic activist groups refused to meet with her. And who can blame them?

The forces we now need to succeed in Egypt — the pro-democracy, secular political parties — these are the very people President Obama cut off, and Secretary Clinton dismissed.

The Obama “engagement” policy in Syria led the Administration to call Bashar al Assad a “reformer.” Even as Assad’s regime was shooting hundreds of protesters dead in the street, President Obama announced his plan to give Assad “an alternative vision of himself.” Does anyone outside a therapist’s office have any idea what that means? This is what passes for moral clarity in the Obama Administration.

By contrast, I called for Assad’s departure on March 29; I call for it again today. We should recall our ambassador from Damascus; and I call for that again today. The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands. As President, I will not.

We need a president who fully understands that America never “leads from behind.”

We cannot underestimate how pivotal this moment is in Middle Eastern history. We need decisive, clear-eyed leadership that is responsive to this historical moment of change in ways that are consistent with our deepest principles and safeguards our vital interests.

Opportunity still exists amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring — and we should seize it.

As I see it, the governments of the Middle East fall into four broad categories, and each requires a different strategic approach.

The first category consists of three countries now at various stages of transition toward democracy – the formerly fake republics in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Iraq is also in this category, but is further along on its journey toward democracy.

For these countries, our goal should be to help promote freedom and democracy.

Elections that produce anti-democratic regimes undermine both freedom and stability. We must do more than monitor polling places. We must redirect foreign aid away from efforts to merely build good will, and toward efforts to build good allies — genuine democracies governed by free people according to the rule of law. And we must insist that our international partners get off the sidelines and do the same.

We should have no illusions about the difficulty of the transitions faced by Libya, Tunisia, and especially Egypt. Whereas Libya is rich in oil, and Tunisia is small, Egypt is large, populous, and poor. Among the region’s emerging democracies, it remains the biggest opportunity and the biggest danger for American interests.

Having ejected the Mubarak regime, too many Egyptians are now rejecting the beginnings of the economic opening engineered in the last decade. We act out of friendship when we tell Egyptians, and every new democracy, that economic growth and prosperity are the result of free markets and free trade—not subsidies and foreign aid. If we want these countries to succeed, we must afford them the respect of telling them the truth.

In Libya, the best help America can provide to these new friends is to stop leading from behind and commit America’s strength to removing Ghadafi, recognizing the TNC as the government of Libya, and unfreezing assets so the TNC can afford security and essential services as it marches toward Tripoli.

Beyond Libya, America should always promote the universal principles that undergird freedom. We should press new friends to end discrimination against women, to establish independent courts, and freedom of speech and the press. We must insist on religious freedoms for all, including the region’s minorities—whether Christian, Shia, Sunni, or Bahai.

The second category of states is the Arab monarchies. Some – like Jordan and Morocco – are engaging now in what looks like genuine reform. This should earn our praise and our assistance. These kings have understood they must forge a partnership with their own people, leading step by step toward more democratic societies. These monarchies can smooth the path to constitutional reform and freedom and thereby deepen their own legitimacy. If they choose this route, they, too, deserve our help.

But others are resisting reform. While President Obama spoke well about Bahrain in his recent speech, he neglected to utter two important words: Saudi Arabia.

US-Saudi relations are at an all-time low—and not primarily because of the Arab Spring. They were going downhill fast, long before the uprisings began. The Saudis saw an American Administration yearning to engage Iran—just at the time they saw Iran, correctly, as a mortal enemy.

We need to tell the Saudis what we think, which will only be effective if we have a position of trust with them. We will develop that trust by demonstrating that we share their great concern about Iran and that we are committed to doing all that is necessary to defend the region from Iranian aggression.

At the same time, we need to be frank about what the Saudis must do to insure stability in their own country. Above all, they need to reform and open their society. Their treatment of Christians and other minorities, and their treatment of women, is indefensible and must change.

We know that reform will come to Saudi Arabia—sooner and more smoothly if the royal family accepts and designs it. It will come later and with turbulence and even violence if they resist. The vast wealth of their country should be used to support reforms that fit Saudi history and culture—but not to buy off the people as a substitute for lasting reform.

The third category consists of states that are directly hostile to America. They include Iran and Syria. The Arab Spring has already vastly undermined the appeal of Al Qaeda and the killing of Osama Bin Laden has significantly weakened it.

The success of peaceful protests in several Arab countries has shown the world that terror is not only evil, but will eventually be overcome by good. Peaceful protests may soon bring down the Assad regime in Syria. The 2009 protests in Iran inspired Arabs to seek their freedom. Similarly, the Arab protests of this year, and the fall of regime after broken regime, can inspire Iranians to seek their freedom once again.

We have a clear interest in seeing an end to Assad’s murderous regime. By sticking to Bashar al Assad so long, the Obama Administration has not only frustrated Syrians who are fighting for freedom—it has demonstrated strategic blindness. The governments of Iran and Syria are enemies of the United States. They are not reformers and never will be. They support each other. To weaken or replace one, is to weaken or replace the other.

The fall of the Assad mafia in Damascus would weaken Hamas, which is headquartered there. It would weaken Hezbollah, which gets its arms from Iran, through Syria. And it would weaken the Iranian regime itself.

To take advantage of this moment, we should press every diplomatic and economic channel to bring the Assad reign of terror to an end. We need more forceful sanctions to persuade Syria’s Sunni business elite that Assad is too expensive to keep backing. We need to work with Turkey and the Arab nations and the Europeans, to further isolate the regime. And we need to encourage opponents of the regime by making our own position very clear, right now: Bashar al-Assad must go.

When he does, the mullahs of Iran will find themselves isolated and vulnerable. Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally. If we peel that away, I believe it will hasten the fall of the mullahs. And that is the ultimate goal we must pursue. It’s the singular opportunity offered to the world by the brave men and women of the Arab Spring.

The march of freedom in the Middle East cuts across the region’s diversity of religious, ethnic, and political groups. But it is born of a particular unity. It is a united front against stolen elections and stolen liberty, secret police, corruption, and the state-sanctioned violence that is the essence of the Iranian regime’s tyranny.

So this is a moment to ratchet up pressure and speak with clarity. More sanctions. More and better broadcasting into Iran. More assistance to Iranians to access the Internet and satellite TV and the knowledge and freedom that comes with it. More efforts to expose the vicious repression inside that country and expose Teheran’s regime for the pariah it is.

And, very critically, we must have more clarity when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told AIPAC that he would “always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.” This year, he told AIPAC “we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” So I have to ask: are all the options still on the table or not? If he’s not clear with us, it’s no wonder that even our closest allies are confused.

The Administration should enforce all sanctions for which legal authority already exits. We should enact and then enforce new pending legislation which strengthens sanctions particularly against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who control much of the Iranian economy.

And in the middle of all this, is Israel.

Israel is unique in the region because of what it stands for and what it has accomplished. And it is unique in the threat it faces—the threat of annihilation. It has long been a bastion of democracy in a region of tyranny and violence. And it is by far our closest ally in that part of the world.

Despite wars and terrorists attacks, Israel offers all its citizens, men and women, Jews, Christians, Muslims and, others including 1.5 million Arabs, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to vote, access to independent courts and all other democratic rights.

Nowhere has President Obama’s lack of judgment been more stunning than in his dealings with Israel.

It breaks my heart that President Obama treats Israel, our great friend, as a problem, rather than as an ally. The President seems to genuinely believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the heart of every problem in the Middle East. He said it Cairo in 2009 and again this year.

President Obama could not be more wrong.

The uprisings in Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli and elsewhere are not about Israelis and Palestinians. They’re about oppressed people yearning for freedom and prosperity. Whether those countries become prosperous and free is not about how many apartments Israel builds in Jerusalem.

Today the president doesn’t really have a policy toward the peace process. He has an attitude. And let’s be frank about what that attitude is: he thinks Israel is the problem. And he thinks the answer is always more pressure on Israel.

I reject that anti-Israel attitude. I reject it because Israel is a close and reliable democratic ally. And I reject it because I know the people of Israel want peace.

Israeli – Palestinian peace if further away not than the day Barack Obama came to office. But that does not have to be a permanent situation.

We must recognize that peace will only come if everyone in the region perceives clearly that America stands strongly with Israel.

I would take a new approach.

First, I would never undermine Israel’s negotiating position, nor pressure it to accept borders which jeopardize security and its ability to defend itself.

Second, I would not pressure Israel to negotiate with Hamas or a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless Hamas renounces terror, accepts Israel’s right to exist, and honors the previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. In short, Hamas needs to cease being a terrorist group in both word and deed as a first step towards global legitimacy.

Third, I would ensure our assistance to the Palestinians immediately ends if the teaching of hatred in Palestinian classrooms and airwaves continues. That incitement must end now.

Fourth, I would recommend cultivating and empowering moderate forces in Palestinian society.

When the Palestinians have leaders who are honest and capable, who appreciate the rule of law, who understand that war against Israel has doomed generations of Palestinians to lives of bitterness, violence, and poverty – then peace will come.

The Middle East is changing before our eyes—but our government has not kept up. It abandoned the promotion of democracy just as Arabs were about to seize it. It sought to cozy up to dictators just as their own people rose against them. It downplayed our principles and distanced us from key allies.

All this was wrong, and these policies have failed. The Administration has abandoned them, and at the price of American leadership. A region that since World War II has looked to us for security and progress now wonders where we are and what we’re up to.

The next president must do better. Today, in our own Republican Party, some look back and conclude our projection of strength and defense of freedom was a product of different times and different challenges. While times have changed, the nature of the challenge has not.

In the 1980s, we were up against a violent, totalitarian ideology bent on subjugating the people and principles of the West. While others sought to co-exist, President Reagan instead sought victory. So must we, today. For America is exceptional, and we have the moral clarity to lead the world.

It is not wrong for Republicans to question the conduct of President Obama’s military leadership in Libya. There is much to question. And it is not wrong for Republicans to debate the timing of our military drawdown in Afghanistan— though my belief is that General Petreaus’ voice ought to carry the most weight on that question.

What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world. History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item.

America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal. It does not need a second one.

Our enemies in the War on Terror, just like our opponents in the Cold War, respect and respond to strength. Sometimes strength means military intervention. Sometimes it means diplomatic pressure. It always means moral clarity in word and deed.

That is the legacy of Republican foreign policy at its best, and the banner our next Republican President must carry around the world.

Our ideals of economic and political freedom, of equality and opportunity for all citizens, remain the dream of people in the Middle East and throughout the world. As America stands for these principles, and stands with our friends and allies, we will help the Middle East transform this moment of turbulence into a firmer, more lasting opportunity for freedom, peace, and progress.

Speaker Boehner’s Libya Resolution Passes House

Speaker Boehner’s Libya House resolution H.R. 292 passed the House by a vote of 268 – 145 – 1 this past week. While many Republicans supported and voted for this bill on Friday, Congressman Allen West (R-FL) voted against it, and instead voted for Dennis Kucinich’s H. Con. Res. 51, The Kucinich War Powers Resolution. This resolution failed largely due to the intervention of Speaker Boehner, as noted in a FoxNews.com article:
Rep. Dennis  Kucinich (D-OH) authored a resolution a few weeks ago to require the  president to halt the involvement of the U.S. in the Libya conflict. Initially,  the House planned to consider the Kucinich resolution on Wednesday. But quickly,  the GOP leadership realized that if the House worked its will, it’s likely the  lawmakers would adopt Kucinich’s plan.
Even though many rank-and-file lawmakers agreed with Kucinich, the GOP  majority was reluctant to have a liberal, Democratic Congressman take the lead  on this issue. Secondly, some feared Kucinich’s resolution went too far,  mandating a withdrawal when Congress had failed to consult top commanders in the  field. Plus, House Republicans certainly didn’t want to debate the Libya issue  on the same day the entire GOP Conference huddled with Mr. Obama at the White  House on the debt ceiling. Third, there was worry that a U.S. withdrawal could  harm the viability of NATO. (emphasis mine)
Instead of adopting the Kucinich resolution and withdrawing the U.S. troops from Libya, ( that we are told are not really there) we see Speaker Boehner intervene with a resolution to “talk” about the issue instead of taking action. Seems like the time for talking was before we attacked a country who has not attacked anyone in NATO, as their charter states is the prerequisite for waging war on Libya. Using the White House meeting on the debt ceiling debate as an excuse to not address this situation immediately is bowing down to the bully pulpit of Barack Hussein Obama, and a disservice to America and the rule of law. Throw in here the fact that there was a worry that the withdrawl of troops in Libya would harm the viability of NATO, and we see just how incompetent our Congress has become today. The viability of NATO is already down to nothing when we consider the fact that NATO peacekeeping troops have been non-existent in the Middle East and North Africa, as these regions implode in a fireball of revolution and chaos. I find it to be hypocritical on how NATO refuses to intervene on the behalf of oppressed citizens whom are being murdered in many other countries, and yet they can wage an illegal war on Libya at the direction of Barack Hussein Obama. America is being used here once again, as the truth is that without the United States doing the bombing and killing in Libya, and thus footing the bill for the Libyan war action, NATO would not be there. Period. This is Obama’s war, and Congress and the War Powers Act of 1973 are irrelvelant.
In Former Military Commander and new Florida Congressman Allen West’s weekly eNewsletter we see exactly what a soldier who has been in two wars thinks of the recent House Libya war action resolutions:
Libya is falling apart, and I shall not support our President’s violation of our law, the War Powers Act of 1973. Speaker Boehner Resolution on Libya – On Friday, June 3, the House approved H. Res. 292 by a vote of 268-145-1, I was one of 10 Republicans who voted “No.”
The resolution would establish that the President has not asked for congressional authorization, and the Congress has not granted it.  H. Res. 292 would reassert Congress’ constitutional role on funding, would require the President to provide within 14 days information on the mission that should have been provided from the start, and would reaffirm the vote Congress took last week that says there should be no troops on the ground.  I voted “No” because we are all aware of these facts as we have seen the Libya operation reach Day 74, as of this vote. By law the President was to come to Congress at or near Day 60, which he did not do. The time for requesting more reports is long past. I shall not see us commit our most precious resources, the American fighting men and women, into another undefined combat theater of operations. Libya is becoming a classic “mission creep” operation.
– Kucinich War Powers Resolution – On
Friday, June 3, H. Con. Res. 51 failed to pass the House by a vote of 148-265, I voted “Yes.”  The bill would direct the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya within 15 days of adoption. This bill was in keeping with the letter of the law, the War Powers Act of 1973. ( emphasis mine)
Allen West Congressman West has not only taken a stand against the Obama administration’s illegal war action in Libya but has also also taken a stand against the cowardice of the establishment GOP in failing to denounce our involvement in the Libyan civil war today, their failure to demand it be stopped immediately.
**As a footnote here, just where is the anti-war faction of The Democratic Attack Machine and their masters in the media today? You know, the Liberal anti-war zealots who called G.W.Bush a war criminal for freeing millions of oppressed Iraqi citizens from the murderous Sadaam Hussein? When was the last time you heard anyone in the mainstream media denounce Barack Hussein Obama’s illegal war in Libya? The fact is that the D.A.M., led by the media have been largely silent about Obama’s newest war action. This type of hypocricy should be called out be all Americans, including our supposed GOP Leadership in Congress.

H Res. 292 Speaker Boehners Libya Resolution

Passed House on June 3rd, 2011   Executive Summary [Full Text Here]

H. Res. 292 would make the following statements of policy:

  • “The United States Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States;
  • “The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya;
  • “The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.”

The bill would direct the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General to transmit—within 14 days after adoption of the resolution—copies of any official document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication in their possession that was created on or after February 15, 2011, that refers or relates to consultation or communication with Congress regarding the employment or deployment of the U.S. Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey Dawn or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operation Unified Protector; or the War Powers Resolution and Operation Odyssey Dawn or Operation Unified Protector.

H. Res. 292 would require the President to submit a report to Congress within 14 days of enactment describing U.S. security interests and objectives, and the activities of the U.S. Armed Forces in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:

  • “The President’s justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya;
  • “United States political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them;
  • “Changes in the United States political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the NATO;
  • “Differences between United States political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities;
  • “The specific commitments by the United States to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya;
  • “The anticipated scope and duration of continued United States military involvement in support of NATO activities regarding Libya;
  • “The costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011;
  • “The total projected costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya;
  • “The impact on United States activities in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • “The role of the United States in the establishment of a political structure to succeed the current Libyan regime;
  • “An assessment of the current military capacity of opposition forces in Libya;
  • “An assessment of the ability of opposition forces in Libya to establish effective military and political control of Libya and
    a practicable timetable for accomplishing these objectives;
  • “An assessment of the consequences of a cessation of United States military activities on the viability of continued NATO operations regarding Libya and on the continued viability of groups opposing the Libyan regime;
  • “The composition and political agenda of the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) and its representation of the views of the Libyan people as a whole;
  • “The criteria to be used to determine United States recognition of the ITNC as the representative of the Libyan people, including the role of current and former members of the existing regime;
  • “Financial resources currently available to opposition groups and United States plans to facilitate their access to seized assets of the Libyan regime and proceeds from the sale of Libyan petroleum;
  • “The relationship between the ITNC and the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests;
  • “Weapons acquired for use, and operations initiated, in Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests;
  • “The status of the 20,000 MANPADS cited by the Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, as well as Libya’s SCUD–Bs and chemical munitions, including mustard gas;
  • “Material, communication, coordination, financing and other forms of support between and among al-Qaeda operatives, its affiliates, and supporters in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa; and
  • “Contributions by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other regional states in support of NATO activities in Libya.

The bill would declare that the President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya.  H. Res. 292 would also declare that Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.

According to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as of Thursday, June 02, 2011, the U.S. has been engaged in Operation Odyssey Dawn for 73 days.

Requirements of the President under the War Powers Resolution:

Section 4(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution requires the President to report to Congress within 48 hours of commencing operations by U.S. forces when there has been no declaration of war.  On March 21, 2011, 48-hours after U.S. Armed forces engaged in military operations, the President submitted a letter/report to Congress to justify the use of force in Libya.

Section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution states that the President shall terminate operations within 60 days following the report to Congress, unless the use of force is authorized by Congress.  On May 20th, concurrent with the 60-day limitation in the War Powers Resolution, the President submitted a letter to Congress providing an update on the status and nature of U.S. military involvement in Libya and urging adoption of a Senate resolution expressing support for military operations in Libya.

The President can extend the involvement by 30 days if he certifies to Congress that it is necessary to safely remove U.S. forces.

There is a range of differing legal opinion about whether the President needs Congressional authorization to continue U.S. military involvement beyond the 60-day deadline for termination under the War Powers Resolution, which occurred on May 20th.  Congress has the authority to cut-off funding for any military action.  The House approved an amendment offered by Rep. Conyers (D-MI) to the National Defense Authorization Act which prevented funds authorized in the Act from being used to fund ground troops in Libya by a vote of 416-5.

There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate associated with this legislation

NATO on Brink of Turning Libya into Ground War

United Nations FlagSpeaking at a security conference in Asia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced his displeasure that the United Nations resolution Russia supported may lead to a land operation.

Apache HelicopterWhile the U.N. resolution had provided protection from air attacks on Libyan rebels, the rebel groups have been ineffective in assaulting Gadhafi’s core troops. Early on Saturday, British and French attack helicopters had joined the battle to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power. A clear stretching of the resolution’s purpose of protecting Libyan citizens, it may be re-interpreted to allow the use of ground forces to finish what the U.N. started.

The Obama administration has apparently not committed attack helicopters  as it faces bi-partisan opposition to continued participation in the Libyan conflict. Ohio Democrat, Dennis Kucinich presented a resolution to force the withdrawal of American forces from Libya. Amendments to the measure have been added that would prevent the introduction of uniformed ground forces from the United States.

House GOP leadership has gone so far as to present an watered-down alternative. The GOP resolution demands that the administration submit a report to the House to explain why the United States is involved in Libya. It does not force any other action.

The GOP resolution has passed, Kucinich’s has not. The door is still open for President Obama to continue his campaign in Libya and perhaps interpret the U.N. statute to allow ground troops.

 

H.R. 292 [Full Text]

H. Res. 292

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

June 3, 2011.

Resolved,

SECTION 1. STATEMENTS OF POLICY.

The House of Representatives makes the following statements of policy:

(1) The United States Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States.

(2) The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya.

(3) The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.

SEC. 2. TRANSMITTAL OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH INFORMATION RELATING TO OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN AND OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR.

The House of Representatives directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General, respectively, to transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, copies of any official document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication in the possession of each officer that was created on or after February 15, 2011, and refers or relates to–

(1) consultation or communication with Congress regarding the employment or deployment of the United States Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey Dawn or NATO Operation Unified Protector; or

(2) the War Powers Resolution and Operation Odyssey Dawn or Operation Unified Protector.

SEC. 3. REPORT TO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

(a) Contents- Not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, the President shall transmit to the House of Representatives a report describing in detail United States security interests and objectives, and the activities of United States Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:

(1) The President’s justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.

(2) United States political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.

(3) Changes in United States political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

(4) Differences between United States political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.

(5) The specific commitments by the United States to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.

(6) The anticipated scope and duration of continued United States military involvement in support of NATO activities regarding Libya.

(7) The costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.

(8) The total projected costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya.

(9) The impact on United States activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(10) The role of the United States in the establishment of a political structure to succeed the current Libyan regime.

(11) An assessment of the current military capacity of opposition forces in Libya.

(12) An assessment of the ability of opposition forces in Libya to establish effective military and political control of Libya and a practicable timetable for accomplishing these objectives.

(13) An assessment of the consequences of a cessation of United States military activities on the viability of continued NATO operations regarding Libya and on the continued viability of groups opposing the Libyan regime.

(14) The composition and political agenda of the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) and its representation of the views of the Libyan people as a whole.

(15) The criteria to be used to determine United States recognition of the ITNC as the representative of the Libyan people, including the role of current and former members of the existing regime.

(16) Financial resources currently available to opposition groups and United States plans to facilitate their access to seized assets of the Libyan regime and proceeds from the sale of Libyan petroleum.

(17) The relationship between the ITNC and the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.

(18) Weapons acquired for use, and operations initiated, in Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.

(19) The status of the 20,000 MANPADS cited by the Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, as well as Libya’s SCUD-Bs and chemical munitions, including mustard gas.

(20) Material, communication, coordination, financing and other forms of support between and among al-Qaeda operatives, its affiliates, and supporters in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa.

(21) Contributions by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other regional states in support of NATO activities in Libya.

(b) Transmittal- The report required by this section shall be submitted in unclassified form, with a classified annex, as deemed necessary.

SEC. 4. FINDINGS.

(a) The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya.

(b) Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.

Attest:

Clerk.

 

House Concurrent Resolution 51 – War Powers

112th CONGRESS

 

1st Session

H. CON. RES. 51

Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

May 23, 2011

Mr. KUCINICH (for himself, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, and Mr. CAPUANO) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.

 

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

 

SECTION 1. REMOVAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM LIBYA.

 

    Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.

 

House to Vote on Libyan War Action This Week

The Republican-led House of Representatives will be voting on a bill sponsored by Dennis Kucinich ( D- Ohio ) this week, according to TheHill.com:

The office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday the House would take up a resolution introduced by anti-war Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that directs the president to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya. The liberal Democrat is acting under authority of the  1973 War Powers Resolution, which enables legislators to force a vote on troop withdrawal measures under certain conditions.

For those of you who have forgotten about the controversial U.S. war action taken against the government of Libya, here is a reminder of just how this illegal action was started, and then obscured by the cloud of the NATO umbrella. The powers that be may  call it a “kinetic military action”, a world peace action, a move to install “Democracy”, or any other cutesy names that are based on the denial of the reality that the Libyan war action is simply an illegal war action against another country. A war action taken against a country that has not attacked any NATO country, as the NATO charter states that it was originally formed to protect against.  Just because the U.S. is now hiding behind the moniker “NATO” does not make this war action legal, or right.

 

The measure is not expected to pass, but a significant number of votes in favor could send a sobering message to the White House, which has struggled to win congressional support for the military intervention in Libya. Both Republican and Democratic leaders criticized Obama for a lack of consultation with Congress in the run-up to the military deployment, and the House has ignored his request for a resolution supporting the mission.

This bill appears to be nothing more than campaign rhetoric designed to waste time, when we consider the fact that there is almost zero chance of it passing. America still has no budget for over 2 years running now, with no resolution in sight, we will hit the debt ceiling again soon, our national debt has now surpassed the $14.5 trillion dollar mark, unemployment is still stubbornly high, as is the price of gasoline, and inflation that most officials in our government refuse to acknowledge,  is crushing the poor and Seniors on a fixed income , yet the wizards in D.C. want to attempt to make a statement by wasting time on this bill? Seems like common sense would tell them to start impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama if they truly  feel he is in violation of the 1973 War Power Act, instead of holding meaningless votes to send him a message. It is time to take a serious stand against the abuse of executive powers and the ignoring of Congressional authority in America today, yet it appears that our representatives in Congress lack the backbone and fortitude to take the necessary stand against Barack Obama’s bully pulpit. House leadership tried to make another statement concerning the illegal U.S. participation in the Libyan war, again from the Hill.com article:

The House last week overwhelmingly voted to add amendments to a Defense authorization bill to bar the president from deploying ground troops to Libya and stating explicitly that Congress was not, as part of the legislation, authorizing the military mission.

One example is the second F-35 engine program, which two administrations have wanted to terminate for several years, only to see Congress keep it alive.

Once again we see just why these types of votes are deemed meaningless. The military does not need or want the expensive second engine for the F-35 fighter jet, yet Congress keeps on demanding it be put into the spending bill again. Can you say the words Lobbyists and wasteful eamarks?  How about attempted vote-buying? No matter how many times the military says they do not want the super-expensive F-35 second engine program, some tyrants in Congress keep on pushing for it. How will we ever cut spending with this type of corruption going on? The answer to that is we will never be able to cut spending until we are bankrupt, period.

This takes us back to the illegal war in Libya and how much it is costing America to install an undefined fake Democracy there. The initial bombing cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. Who gave Obama permission to spend that money? Who tried to stop it? What is it costing us today? What is the mission in Libya? All of these questions go unanswered, while the American public is told to simply sit down, shut up and foot the bill for an illegal Libyan war. Is this what Democracy looks like?

 

 

The United States Enters 4th War? Against Pakistan?

We see some more startling news about supposedly NATO gunships now attacking a Pakistani Army post and injuring two soldiers today. From CNSNEWS.COM:

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A NATO helicopter attacked a Pakistani army post near the Afghan border Tuesday, injuring two Pakistani soldiers in an incident that could further increase tension following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

A Pakistani Army post on the border with Afghanistan gets attacked by a gunship chopper and a NATO puppet says that yes there has been an “incident” and we will have to access the situation. Why isn’t the U.S. Military Commander in charge there answering questions and explaining why we have now attacked Pakistan on their own soil ?  I do believe this is turning out to be just like in Libya, where a bomb strike murdered 3 innocent children and Ghaddafi’s son, and the only explanation we have to date is that it was a “NATO” plane. Why are the people not being told if it was a U.S. plane ( most likely), or a plane from another country that bombed those innocent children? Maybe if we made G.W. Bush Preisdent for one more day the supposed mainstream media would have the courage to investigate and report the facts behind the bombing? I am pretty certain that Bush would be called a murderer and war criminal if he had attacked Libya under these same conditions. Thus the media spin and lies continue today, in keeping Americans in the dark about the truth. So who attacked Pakistan today ?

There were helicopters operating in the border region, and we are aware there has been an incident, said NATO coalition spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian. “But we are going to have to assess the situation.”He declined to give further details or say which NATO country was involved. (emphasis mine)

Just as the U.S. is now hiding behind the NATO coalition disguise to wage an illegal war action against Libya, it now appears it is being used here to deny accountability for today’s attack on Pakistan. The fact is, that most Helicopter gunships flying in this region are in fact, AMERICAN.

Pakistani troops responded with machine gun fire and deployed two helicopter gunships over the post, but the American NATO helicopter had already left, they said. ( strikeout is mine)

Is the U.S. now at war with Pakistan, making us involved in a record four wars at one time ?  It will be interesting to see the spin and misinformation to come out of the media propagandists when the White House gives its mandated talking points in order to cover this debacle up. One thing is for sure, Obama has already played most of his “blame Bush” cards, but now he can just blame a mysterious, unidentified NATO gunship as the culprit here. People can not call anyone a war criminal for the murder of innocents in Libya, and now nobody can be held accountable for today’s attack on a Pakistani Army post. Isn’t this convenient for the previously anti-war Senator Obama? It sure is, seeing as he is in perpetual campaign mode 24/7, some year and a half before the 2012 elections.

 

 

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