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2020-01-10 10:22 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 145 references Ignore this thread
House Resolutions and Matt Gaetz
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You might be forgiven in reading this resolution, H.Con.Res.83, as some sort of binding requirement by Congress.  After all, it says right in the title:

Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.

Except..... it isn't binding.

It's not a bill.  Congress passes bills which become laws when either (1) the President signs them or (2) the President takes no action, in which case the bill becomes law without his signature, or (3) the President vetos them and the House and Senate override the veto.

Laws are binding.  Suggestions and senses of Congress are not.

The War Powers Resolution is law, ensconced in 50 USC 1541.  Said law contains a provision for Congress, by joint Concurrent Resolution, to terminate hostilities, and requires that unless there is some other justification for continuing same (e.g. the existing AUMFs from 2001 and 2002, which still stand as Congress has refused to remove them) that the President cease such action sixty days after same commences.

The House, standing alone, cannot force the President to terminate hostilities.  The House and Senate together can, and in addition after 60 days the authority expires anyway.

So why are we involved in said hostilities over in the Middle East in the first place?

Because the President is operating under other authorities granted by that very same Congress, and until and unless they revoke same, or until the Senate also passes an identical resolution, what the House did is non-binding.

Matt Gaetz has taken a lot of crap for voting in the affirmative on this resolution.  

Here's the thing: He's right, no matter whether or not you happen to agree with Trump hitting Iran.

The simple fact of the matter is that Congress has repeatedly refused to put on the table a strong war resolution when we have engaged in actual hostilities.  They refused to do it in Iraq the second time, they've refused with Afghanistan, they've refused in our involvement in multiple other "skirmishes" and they've refused to do so in the context of our current operations both in the Middle East and elsewhere.  While you can argue that we're not at "war" in those places and weren't in many cases you're kidding yourself -- there have been hundreds of Americans that have come home in bags and thousands who have rotated back home missing an arm, leg or otherwise seriously injured.  The last time I checked if you're in the military and get shot at or blown up you probably would consider that "war."  I know I would.

So putting Congress on the seat and telling them to do their ****ing job under the Constitution is a good thing, not a bad one.  Further, AP is reporting that Iraq has formally requested the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, even though their PM is a "caretaker" in that he has "resigned."  Nonetheless the formal request to Pompeo to send delegates to Iraq to execute on Parliament's passed resolution is formal notice and if we honor sovereignty we have a duty to act in accordance with same, irrespective of the fact that the vote was held with a bare minimum quorum and parties boycotting the session.  That doesn't matter; under the Iraq Constitution the session was validly constituted, had a quorum and took a valid vote.

We MUST honor it or we are an invading force and that does implicate 50 USC 1541 -- and as a result is a binding requirement on President Trump and our military.

I have no illusions about what our departure will mean.  It has a high probability of leading to Iran invading Iraq.  But the Iraqi government has the right to stand down from a joint defensive posture with the United States even if by doing so they are taking a severe risk of losing their national identity.  It is not our place to insist otherwise; we have no right to do so and any claim that we honor the sovereignty of nations requires that we honor a validly-passed resolution telling us to get out.

like what has happened here thus far -- a lot.  Let's recap:

1. We killed a notorious international terrorist who intentionally violated UN sanction by traveling outside of Iran and further, had just attempted to sack our Embassy compound in Baghdad.  That ******* had a hand in the death of more than 600 American soldiers, and as far as I'm concerned we should have whacked him a long time ago.  He was a legitimate military target -- period.

2. In response Iran did what Iran usually does, but at the same time they knew damn well that in fact they had to both save face and stand down, which they did.  America could, in an hour, destroy their missile targeting and launching capacity, all their oil refineries and half their electrical grid.  The result would be the literal death of their nation.  This would be a legitimate response to any sort of meaningful attack by Iran on US soil or property, including but not limited to any of our embassy installations, any of our military assets in the region or any civilian ship or aircraft operating under a US flag.  Under International Law it is perfectly legitimate to meet an Act of War with a responding Act of War and crippling or destroying the infrastructure required to wage war is legitimate.  Iran knows this and that Trump will do it, unlike Obama who himself was a documented Muslim sympathizer and willing to give the Iranian mullahs blowjobs and over a hundred billion dollars, with which they could buy even more missiles and other weaponry instead.

3. There are members of the State Department who seem to think they have a right to override this declaration by Iraq's Parliament.  Not only are they wrong they're criminally wrong.  We have the right to try to convince Iraq that what they're demanding is to their own detriment but sovereignty means respecting their right to choose whether we agree or not.  Of course public commentary is a different thing than someone's actual position a good part of the time, as negotiation necessarily includes speech and debate, some of which is put forward for public opinion purposes.

4. ISIS is a serious problem, still, even though they no longer hold territory.  The precept that many have -- that radical Islamic political groups do not actually seek to capture and hold territory, imposing their political system on that land and the people upon it, and that they only do these things because we are there and "force" them to, is flat-out bull****.  It has been bull**** for a thousand years and may well be bull**** for another thousand.  Very significant parts of the Muslim faith are in fact a political system carrying a religious system on its back and always have been back to the beginning of Islam.  Nonetheless until and unless said groups attempt to attack and hold US territory, or commit terrorism on our soil, including but not limited to embassies, flagged conveyances under a US flag (e.g. ships and aircraft), it's not our problem.  I'm aware this puts me at odds with all the warmongers and chickenhawks but facts are facts, especially when we refuse to apply the same sanctions (including troops, bombs, missiles and similar) to nations like China who are engaging in the same sort of repressive tactics as ISIS is!

5. The long-ago asserted claim that we had to get involved in this crap because of the energy situation has changed.  Credit whoever you'd like but the facts are that we no longer have any need for Middle Eastern oil.  That Europe does is their problem, not ours.  The United States spends nearly $700 billion a year and at least half of it is being spent protecting other people's **** instead of our own.  If we're going to be responsible for the security of another nation's political system and people then they must voluntarily cede not only sovereignty but indeed the entirety of political power to us and become a US territory.  Until and unless they do all those who claim we should be doing that can shut the **** up as we not only have no obligation to give without receiving to do so is to effectively claim a vassal state status of such nations by force, which we have no right to do and never did.  Voluntarily alliances are fine but everyone must pull their full weight.  Period.

These are all facts folks and departing from Iraq, which would be a very nice set of actions over the next few months, would not only reduce our military spend materially it will reduce our lives spent as well.

I'm for it.

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Peterm99
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Can't disagree with what you write, but, IMO, the exact same logic also applies to Syria - a sovereign nation whose leadership holds power as a result of a fair election (as certified by international observers) has repeatedly declared (to us and to the UN) that they never invited us in and that they do not want us or our "allies" there.

Why in Hades are we still there with apparently no intention to leave, especially from their major oil-producing regions?

ETA: That's a rhetorical question. The obvious answer, IMO, starts with "I" and ends in "L".

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". . . the Constitution has died, the economy welters in irreversible decline, we have perpetual war, all power lies in the hands of the executive, the police are supreme, and a surveillance beyond Orwells imaginings falls into place." - Fred Reed

Tickerguy
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@Peterm99 - No argument. But one right is still one right, irrespective of other wrongs.

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Winding it down.
Ktrosper
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Indeed. I agree. Great ticker.
Thanks for posted the link to the resolution. I couldn't find it last night.

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Hot-dog-guy
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"a political system carrying a religious system on its back"

There's a lick that repeats often enough in history to be the chorus. Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism all morphed into state religions. In the process acquiring all of the powers of state (and becoming pretty totally authoritarian).

Judaism kinda came out of the gate with such powers. The 10 commandments came ready made courtesy of God who at that moment was incarnated as fire. By the time of king David they developed this into a complete system of governance. An expansionist empire in fact!

But this version of God wasn't just interested in everybody. He was there to essentially re-invigorate an old promise with a specific bloodline. That of Abraham.

Jesus comes, goes, goes viral. Peter and the apostles head North into Europe. Judaism to various degrees accepts or rejects aspects of his teaching (which sounds remarkably like mystic transcendentalism carrying some form of proto-communism on it's back) and then...prophet Mohamed shows up and establishes leadership based on claims to the very same Abrahamic tradition and lineage.

By this time Mohamed and his family seem to have the religion->empire thing down. They waste no time becoming mega authoritarian, they assume all powers of state and become an expansionist empire AGAIN. Caliphate 1.0. And totally loving it.

Meanwhile Christianity becomes the state religion of Greece. Then Rome. Then Europe. Same evolutionary curve. The Caliphate invades Europe. Christianity beats them back to the Mideast (now sporting blue eyes and freckles). Carrying all the crap they could pack on a camel's back.

From this perspective, WW1, WW2 and subsequent colonization of the mideast might seem to take a secular twist but I posit this is a one sided view. We were calling our more recent invasions a new crusade until somebody noticed how HORRIBLY that played among "the coalition of the willing".

It played worse with the unwilling. Caliphate 2.0 sounded way better.

Now does anybody really believe the crusades were about finding a phreaking GRAIL? The Holy Snifter? The Divine Dixie Cup? Actually possible on an individual level I guess but geoeconomics is a more rational explanation. Used to be that in order to really control a nation you had to go there and beat the **** out of them.

The geoeconomics now dictate that control of energy is analogous to controlling economics and thence nations. This applies globally. To the present day, control of energy is the proxy for war. Not the sole one but the big one. Control oil and you control the world. Starvation and disease kills people just as dead as kinetic war.

Finally, as the USA casts off it's historic religion in favor of social marxism, churches everywhere closing doors and shutting down, has this reduced our ambitions or curbed our actions? It's hard to have a religious war when one side could give a rat's ass about God or eternal paradise. And we sure as HELL have given up on saving anyone's soul. Can't save our own no mo.

Twainfan2
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The problem I have with Gaetz (and the Dems) is he didnt do anything about this under Obama and this resolution is a big nothing burger. If he really believes what hes saying on teevee then hed introduce an actual bill to repeal the AUMF and reign in Presidential war powers. But he hasnt and wont because hes a blowhard just getting some teevee face time.

He deserves the same treatment as Piglosi and the rest
Mannfm11
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I would like to see them repeal all the war powers, at which we could get rid of 80% of the bureaucrats in DC.

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Tickerguy
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Well @Mannfm11 -- Not really. It is long recognized that as CiC (an explicitly delegated power) that the President has the power to commit forces in any exigent situation. The War Powers resolution was a constraint on that. Note that Congress had, and always has the ability to cut off any EXISTING military activity by voting to de-fund it, which it can do at any point in time since it has the power of the purse. Assuming they can override a veto there's not jack and **** the President can do about that.

But congress couldn't revoke the President's ability to act ENTIRELY without a Constitutional Amendment as it's an inseparable part of being CiC but it can and did draw a box around it and say "here's where the line is"; that passes Constitutional muster provided the line is in a reasonable place. The 60 day location is certainly reasonable in that one can convene Congress (if out of session) and get a vote in that amount of time. As you move inward there's a point where it's not reasonable, but I don't know precisely where that is. Today is 30 days likely within constraints? Yes. Is a week? Maybe not. Is a day or an hour? Definitely not; that would be ruled unconstitutional for certain.

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Vernonb
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Something's up. Navy personnel just got sudden orders to deploy a few hours ago Hmmm....



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Mannfm11
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Is Congress ever out of session 60 days? or are they ever in session, when they aren't plotting more theft?

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The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.---John Kenneth Galbraith
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