The Syrian “Crisis”

Friends, the only thing that is a crisis about Syria is that innocent people are being caught in the middle of a civil war and and being killed.  That, in of itself, is tragic.

Situations like this are also one of the reasons why the United Nations (heretofore now the Useless Nations) was created – to provide an international forum for resolving disputes and monitor (and sometimes intervene in) inhuman warfare and conflicts.

Much has been said about the United State’s responsibility to intervene on the behalf of the Syrian citizenry being killed by both sides of the conflict for “humanitarian” reasons.  Somehow, I’m having a hard time with this explanation as there are multiple instances of conflicts throughout the world of where humanitarian intervention is needed.  Think of the multiple out of control conflicts in Africa, and you should understand.

No, the only reason that President Obama wants to get involved in Syria is to save face.  Period.  And to this end, the American public is told that the only military involvement that the United States will have in Syria is to punish the Syrian President by dropping missiles and bombs on military assets.

So let me get this straight – We, the United States, is going to bomb another country to punish the leader of another country for supposedly using chemical weapons (as yet unconfirmed by the Useless Nation’s inspectors), and to do so without the support of said Useless Nations or any other credible international community.  And by the way – said bombing will most likely kill more people, and probably not the ones responsible.

I’m not the only one smelling the BS – many Congresscritters are feeling the heat from their constituents to not get involved in what is really a civil war between two factions that are not friendly to the United States.  In other words, there is no good guy here for the United States to back.  There is no imminent threat to the United States from either faction, and should we get involved, we could find ourselves the target of both of the factions (remember the saying – The enemy of my enemy is my friend?)

Regardless, President Obama is hitting the airwaves over the next couple of days with his minions to sell to the American People and their non-representational Representatives & Senators to give him permission to unilaterally proceed with military action against Syria.  And if he doesn’t get it, he just might proceed without Congressional approval.

But can he do this legally?  Well, it depends on what side of the fence you want to be on.  Let’s take the following excerpts from an article from Judge Andrew P. Napolitano on the legality of such an action:

Even if all this took place as Obama claims, can he lawfully bomb Syria to punish its government for violating international norms or to deter it from doing so again? In a word: No.

International law recognizes only three lawful routes to the use of military force. It recognizes the right of every country to launch military force in order to prevent its own borders from being invaded or to subdue those who commenced an invasion. It also recognizes the ability of any U.N. member state to come to the aid of any other U.N. member state when one of them has been invaded. And treaties to which the U.S. and Syria are parties permit limited purpose invasions when approved by the U.N. None of these lawful scenarios applies to Syria.

Can Obama just launch an invasion of Syria even if it would be unlawful and even if Congress says no?

Because of the vicissitudes of history, the personalities of presidents and the myopic compromises of past Congresses, the area of presidential war-making has different legal and constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, only Congress can authorize the offensive use of military force. James Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention in 1787 make it obvious that the Framers were nearly unanimous in their resolve to keep the war-making power away from the president and repose it exclusively with Congress. They did this clearly and unambiguously in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Notwithstanding the precise language of the Constitution and the history of the nation’s birth, the War Powers Resolution (WPR), a federal statute enacted in 1973 over President Nixon’s veto, does permit the president on his own to use the military for offensive wars for a maximum of 90 days. Thus, under current federal law, Obama may lawfully bomb Syria even if Congress declines to authorize him to do so and even though such an act would violate international law.

But the WPR is profoundly unconstitutional because it cedes Congress’ constitutional war-making power to the president. The WPR was an ill-conceived political compromise effectuated by a Watergate-weakened president, congressional hawks who approved of Nixon’s unilateral invasion of Cambodia and sober congressional heads more faithful to the separation of powers.

Yet, the Supreme Court has ruled consistently that the transfer of constitutional powers among the branches of the federal government is unconstitutional, even if popular and consensual, unless brought about by an amendment to the Constitution. Thus, Congress can no more let the president start wars than the president can let Congress appoint federal judges, lest the Constitution have no meaning or force of law.

No matter how this shakes out, President Obama has literally painted himself into a corner with his red line, and the international community with the American citizens are not amused, and I doubt very much that the Syrians caught in the crossfire of bullets, grenades, and gas are pleased to be pawns in a game of political football & brinksmanship. 

My thoughts are that the United States cannot be the world’s policeman, and unilaterally take action against perceived violations of international law.  As much as it pains me to state this, the Useless Nations must take charge of the situation and evaluate, recommend, and take actions in their inefficient, non-time critical fashion. 

From the point of international law and our own laws from our Constitution, the President of the United States cannot take action by and for himself to order an attack upon another country without provocation or a direct attack upon the United States.  From the point of Congressional approval to give the President permission to order an attack, they can, but I believe that they would have a hard time selling such an attack to the American people is in the interests of the United States and would have no repercussions from either Syria, its allies, or from the Useless Nations.

For the record, I oppose any military actions of the United States upon Syria or the Syrian rebels.  I do, however, support humanitarian aid to those Syrians not involved in the conflict.

Peace in the Middle East?

I read with some amusement that the Palestinians are trying to appeal to the Useless Nations to get what 90-plus years of terrorism has not produced to date – their own homeland.  Whether or not you believe that the Palestinians deserve their own territory is not the real thrust of this post, but some of the assumptions that go along with it.

The assumption is that if the Palestinians get their own place in the sun is that all hostilities in the Middle East will cease, and everyone lives happily ever after.  I don’t think anyone in their right mind really believes that, but there is that hope and spin.  Of course, Israel is the target to give up the land, although even if Israel concedes land, peace will not break out.  And that is if the Palestinians agree to anything, which is doubtful as the following video reveals (h/t to Woman Honor Thyself):

No, there are too many countries and organizations in that region that hate Israel for just existing.  Take Hamas, for instance.  Their published mission statement is to facilitate the destruction of Israel.  They will continue to bomb, terrorize, and attack until that country and its people are pushed into the Red Sea.  And they are not a country, but just one organization among many…  And then there is Iran with its fledgling nuclear program with a maniac at the helm.  Isn’t anyone else just a tad concerned?

I also noted that the critics panned President Obummer’s speech to the UN.  Gone are the days that he could make a speech and garner praise & acclaim.  The rest of the world now sees him for what he really is – an empty suit that makes pretty speeches.  Whatever happened to the promise of peace indicated by that Nobel Peace Prize?  Obviously, we’re not the only ones let down.

The UN is overwhelmingly represented by countries run by warlords, despots, & dictators.  I’m not surprised that the Palestinians are trying to strong-arm Israel through the international community to give them what they want, and I fully understand Israel’s reluctance.  There is no guarantee, definitely not through the UN, that any country or organization would honor treaties or agreements with Israel.  After all, such agreements have been broken in the past, and will continue to be broken as long as Israel exists.

Post #501

Well, almost, but not quite…

If you have noticed, this is Post #501, and comes several days after the “official” date of the original blog post on Tom’s Common Sense back on October 16, 2005.  I also celebrated my 49th birthday on October 23rd.  No, the fire department was not called in response to the multiple celebrations…..the extinguisher worked just fine.

It’s been almost four weeks since the last post (notification of the death of Z’s husband doesn’t count), and I must state that I have missed blogging as it provides a welcome safety valve.  But then again, things haven’t changed all that much either.

The Democrats in the House and Senate are still trying to hammer out some form of health care reform, all the while alternately pleading and flaming their opponents to this legislation.  I hope that they continue to debate and argue for a long time – the longer they go on, the more information becomes available to the public about their deals, and that is despite the multiple closed-door sessions in contrast to the incessant promises of transparency.  Of course, a speedy passing of this abominable is what Congress and the President were hoping for, and thankfully, it hasn’t happened (yet?).  But do we really need government to be all things?  Here’s a blast from the very first post:

So how about the government taking care of your retirement? Are you nuts? How many of you bought into the fairy tale that the government would take care of us? The government can’t take care of itself, so how is it going to take care of you? Medicaid and Medicare are going broke, and every fix usually involves a tax increase that would kill the economy. The government would like you to pay taxes for all of your working life then die immediately on retirement so they can tax your estate too.

If government were run like a traditional company, they would have been out of business a long, long time ago. It’s almost enough to invest in a couple gross (that’s 144 times 2 for the math impaired) of the old Mason jars & bury your savings in the back yard with the biggest, meanest dog you can find taking up residence in the doghouse on top of the Mason jars. That & barter for everything you need…

And now we are being lectured by our Representatives that they will take care of our health care problems in addition to all the other stuff too.  Of course, mentioning how much it is going to cost us and our future generations is not allowed…

But lurking in the background is the “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” aka the Waxman/Markey Bill, aka Cap & Trade.  It’s currently in the Senate, having passed the House by 7 votes, and could have a bigger negative impact on the American economy than the health care legislation.  But what is scary is the premise behind this legislation – the false science of Global Warming Climate Change.

Now I can put on my foil hat with the best of them, and speculate people’s motives until the sun burns out (or goes super-nova), but let’s have some common sense about Global Warming Climate Change.  I’m not advocating running around polluting the Earth, I also do not advocate screwing up an already unsteady economy.  I do distrust many of the people who are running around stating that we have to do something tomorrow in order to prevent the Earth from melting and/or drowning.  The science is far from clear, and it doesn’t help when the high-priest of Global Warming Climate Change, Al Gore, refuses to debate his detractors and critics of his movie (also, when he makes millions from the Global Warming Climate Change movement also makes me skeptical of his motives).  Then I find this little United Nations jewel called the Copenhagen Treaty.

The Copenhagen Treaty is a proposal for an amended Kyoto Protocol and a new Copenhagen Protocol by members of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) community.  Part of this treaty would be establishing Boards which would reallocate resources from one country to another.  The following excerpt is from Page 40 of the Draft Agreement found at Greenpeace:

5. Other means may also be used to raise financial resources to support developing country Parties in their efforts, including, but not limited to, a levy on aviation and maritime transport, pursuant to Article X ( Aviation and maritime transport ).

A levy on aviation and maritime transport is envisioned as part of the Copenhagen Protocol ( see Article X later in the text ).

6. Each Party included in Annex B shall be responsible for a portion, its assessed amount, of the financial resources required for the 2013-2017 commitment period, as outlined in paragraph 2. Responsibility shall be determined on the basis of the scale of assessments as outline in Annex C to this Protocol, taking into account a Party’s
historical responsibility and capacity to pay
. (emphasis mine)

Each industrialized country should be responsible for part of the 160 billion USD per year required to support action in developing countries as part of its binding obligations for the 2013-2017 commitment period. Fulfillment of each industrialized country’s financial commitment would be measured, reported and verified in accordance with
the provisions of Article 10.

To further illustrate the impact of the above, here is an excerpt from Lord Christopher Monckton’s presentation in St. Paul, MN on the subject of Global Warming Climate Change on October 14, 2009:

His full 95-minute speech (with Powerpoint slides) can be found <here>.

As I’ve stated above, nothing much has changed in the past month concerning the subjects of Health Care and Global Warming Climate Change except that more information about these pieces of insanity have become available.  What our elected officials are proposing to save us (and the world) will most likely drive this country down to the level of a 3rd-world banana republic.

But I do have to leave you with something that should leave a smile on your face amongst the doom and gloom…

An Engineer in Hell

An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you’re an engineer – you’re in the wrong place."

So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how’s it going down there in hell?"

Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

God replies, "What??? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake – he should never have gotten down there; send him up here."

Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

Obama Forever?

If this is a ringing endorsement to lift the two-term restriction for the Presidency of the United States, I don’t know what else could be.  From World Net Daily:

Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhafi told a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly today he’s pleased with the direction President Obama is taking the United States, calling him "my son" or "our son" several times.

Gadhafi’s visit to New York has been a series of controversies piled on top of disputes, and his message this morning at the U.N. continued the precedent. He took a "victory lap" through the surprised audience, blasted the U.N. as unfair and suggested he be given a permanent seat on the Security Council.

But he praised Obama.

According to interpreters for the speech, he challenged, "Can you guarantee after Obama how America will be governed? We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of America."

Gadhafi also reportedly referred to the U.S. president as a "black African Kenyan."

How lovely…  A dictator that supports terrorism supporting a weak United States President.  From the Daily Telegraph:

Obama’s popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power. He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism.

It is natural that much of the UN will embrace an American president who declines to offer strong American leadership. A president who engages dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez will naturally gain respect from the leaders of the more than 100 members of the United Nations who are currently designated as “partly free” or “not free” by respected watchdog Freedom House.

The UN is not a club of democracies – who still remain a minority within its membership – it is a vast melting pot of free societies, socialist regimes and outright tyrannies. Obama’s clear lack of interest in human rights issues is a big seller at the UN, where at least half its members have poor human rights records.

The president scores highly at the UN for refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage, with rare exceptions like the war against the Taliban. His appeasement of Iran, his bullying of Israel, his surrender to Moscow, his call for a nuclear free world, his siding with Marxists in Honduras, his talk of a climate change deal, have all won him plaudits in the large number of UN member states where US foreign policy has traditionally been viewed with contempt.

Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack.

As we saw last week with his shameful surrender to Moscow over missile defense, the president is perfectly happy to undermine America’s allies and gut its strategic defenses while currying favour with enemies and strategic competitors. The missile defense debacle is rightly viewed as a betrayal by the Poles and the Czechs, and Washington has clearly give the impression that it cares little about those who have bravely stood shoulder to shoulder with their US allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the wider war on terror.

The Obama administration is now overseeing and implementing the biggest decline in American global power since Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately it may well take another generation for the United States to recover.

So our elected President maligns the country that he leads, pisses off our allies, and cozies up to the scum of the world.  No wonder the UN loves Obama, and would like to see him in the Presidency as long as possible.

I feel much safer, don’t you?

Review of 2008

This is the time of year that I like to look back and think about the some of the events that happened this year.  Without further ado…

2008 saw the first African-American elected to the position of President of the United States.  While historic in its own right, the hype concerning this event is a bit over the top.  As a previous post outlined, the presumption that this one person would right the wrongs that the previous administrations committed, never mind that some of the screw-ups originated with his own party…

And the interesting part is that his own party members are taking issue with at least one of the decisions concerning the inauguration festivities.  The President-Elect decided that he wanted have Pastor Rick Warren give the invocation prayer at his inauguration.  This selection offended the gay community, including Rep. Barney Frank, who proceeded to flame the President-Elect.  Which makes me wonder about something…

If the (Liberal) Democrats are the party of diversity, equality, and tolerance, shouldn’t they also tolerate different views upon issues instead taking the stand that only their viewpoint counts?  I guess not…

And in the midst of all this, the economy tanks after years of mismanagement by financial institutions and fiscal irresponsibility by the government.  Thousands of jobs are evaporating as companies downsize to stay in business or just go out of business.  the government gives or lends billions of dollars almost without a second thought to the financial sector, and then almost refuses to lend a pittance to the manufacturing sector.

Next on the list is the attack in India by Islamic extremists.  If anyone doubts that “tolerance” is not part of the radical lexicon, this deadly incident should clear things up.

As to add credence to the above, the firing of rockets by Hamas finally lead to the Israeles attacking Hamas positions in the Gaza strip.  Of course, the UN won’t or can’t do anything except add to their carbon footprint by spouting off.

I also noticed that the words “Climate Change” replaced “Global Warming” this year.  If the snow and cold weather with a mild summer doesn’t convince you that the rhetoric isn’t part of a huge scam, then the debate between scientists should.  Quite frankly, the mere fact that there are debates about Global Warming should be a warning sign that this is all opinion, and not scientific fact – it shows that the existence of Global warming cannot be proved by the scientific method.

That’s my short list.  I certainly hope that 2009 is a better year than 2008 for all of us.