By Matthew Rothschild on June 29, 2011

At his press conference today, President Obama tried to brush off the problem he’s been having with Congress over the War Powers Act.

He initially tried to dismiss the gravity of the problem by saying, “A lot of this fuss is politics.”

And then he simply made an assertion that he was following the law, without defending that with any legitimate argument.

“Do I think our actions in any way violate the war powers resolution? The answer is no," he said. "We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world...and we should be sending out a unified message to this guy that he should step down.”

The former law professor seems to be having some serious eye problems because he’s failing to abide by the clear letter of the law.

First, the War Powers Act allows the President to send our military into hostilities only when there is “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

There was no such national emergency here. Libya did not attack the U.S.

Second, the War Powers Act requires the President to get authorization of Congress within 60 days. He did not get such authorization.

And third, the War Powers Act requires the President to withdraw our armed forces 30 days later if he doesn’t get authorization. And he has not withdrawn our armed forces from the Libyan operation.

Calling it a “limited operation” doesn’t render the War Powers Act null and void.

Nor does saying the action is against one of the “worst tyrants in the world.”

And Obama’s insistence that we send “a unified message” is the same undemocratic claptrap that we hear from every war President who wants the Congress and the citizenry to shut up and keep silent and not dare question his royal judgment.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Prosser Should Resign from Wisconsin Supreme Court."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

The Gogebic Taconite company got what it wanted by throwing money around, with Walker's help.

Ruth Conniff discusses the funding controversy surrounding WI Gov. Scott Walker on The Ed Show.

The United States has been bombing Iraq on and off for nearly a quarter century and things have only gotten worse,...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter

Get Breaking News and Alerts!