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More LRA

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My views on this are basically the same as Rob.    I don’t mean to sound like Nino Scalia, but I actually do believe that the president is bound by the statutes Congress actually enacted, not by the legal principle of What Would Russ Feingold Do?  Second, I think that unilateral presidential power is a serious constitutional issue, but I don’t believe that this means that every deployment of forces requires a declaration of war.    The explicit authorization by Congress in this case clearly satisfies long-established constitutional norms.

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  • On some level, if there’s a criticism to really be had (beyond simply disagreeing with the deployment outright, anyway) it might be that the action is to minimal. I don’t know what the Ugandan government’s position is exactly, but it kind of seems like a U.S. led campaign against the LRA would have a pretty high likelihood of relatively easy success.

    • Tom Allen

      “…it kind of seems like a U.S. led campaign against the LRA would have a pretty high likelihood of relatively easy success.”

      *red flags start popping up*

      • Well…why? The LRA isn’t the Viet Cong by any means, what would lead you to think that the United States military couldn’t neutralize an unpopular militia group pretty easily?

  • Thank you for pointing out what the doctrine of the unitary executive actually is, and is not.

    I will take seriously an argument that Congress’s war powers can only be legally invoked in a declaration of war, and not in a force authorization that leaves the President some latitude, when it comes accompanied by a statement that Congress is similarly limited in its power to regulate interstate commerce – that is, that Congress can only explicit legislative regulations, specifying what is to be regulated and how, rather than authorizing the EPA or OSHA to create regulations and procedures.

    If a President taking military action under an AUMF is unconstitutional, so is the EPA’s regulation of CO2.

  • Lurker

    On sentimental level, I can understand that some people might feel that Obama’s Ugandan campaign is not properly authorised. Formally, there is clearly no problem. However, the US war-starting procedure usually does not look like this.

    When the US goes to war, it starts with the president making very public speeches about the necessity of the war, a phased ramp-up of the war psychosis involving a lengthy PSYOPS campaign both domestically and abroad, with all this pomp culminating in a congressional authorisation to start a war.

    In this case, the decision to go to war was made after the authorisation, without the prolonged media campaign. The authorisation itself looked, at the time of its implementation, like a typical feel-good piece of legislation that would never be implemented in practice, and caught very little public attention.

    So, while the legal forms of the war initiation have been observed, the social customs have been ignored.

    • I would say that the problem with this line of thinking is that its a real stretch to call this action a war.

      • Hogan

        Or that the US is starting it. Is it not a party until the Green Berets are in the house?

        • Nothing counts until the U.S. is up in your business stealing your oil.

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