Monday, February 23, 2009

Our President, the Hypocrite

Looks like we are now at war with Pakistan. From the NYT:

The missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the American campaign inside Pakistan, which has been largely carried out by drone aircraft. Under President Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mr. Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops.

The strikes are another sign that President Obama is continuing, and in some cases extending, Bush administration policy in using American spy agencies against terrorism suspects in Pakistan, as he had promised to do during his presidential campaign. At the same time, Mr. Obama has begun to scale back some of the Bush policies on the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, which he has criticized as counterproductive.

Mr. Mehsud was identified early last year by both American and Pakistani officials as the man who had orchestrated the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and the wife of Pakistan’s current president, Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Bush included Mr. Mehsud’s name in a classified list of militant leaders whom the C.I.A. and American commandos were authorized to capture or kill.

Law Professor, Eric Posner's take:

There is a nice legal question whether President Obama has initiated or accelerated a “new” war against the Taliban-in-Pakistan or is merely carrying on an “old” war against Al Qaida and the original Taliban albeit in a neighboring country. This nice legal question poses some challenges to Obama’s new legal team:

1. Is this new war in Pakistan undertaken pursuant to statutory authority or on the basis of the president’s commander-in-chief power (or both)? The only relevant statute on the horizon is the much-criticized-as-excessively-broad AUMF of 2001, which authorized hostilities against al Qaeda and related organizations in Afghanistan (“those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001”). Does the Obama administration read this statute as authorizing intervention in a civil war in Pakistan?

2. If not, is the new war in Pakistan undertaken pursuant to the president’s commander-in-chief power? And, then, what of the War Powers Resolution, which applies to the “introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations”? Under this law, the president must inform Congress and seek its consent. When can we expect this to happen?

For those of you that supported the "Bush Doctrine," properly understood (as opposed to the Sarah Palin interpretation), you have no right to complain now. Suck it up. And for those on the left that criticized the Bush administration's policy of unilateral intervention..., what sayeth you now?? That's what I thought.