In 2007, Obama said:

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”



82 Responses to Operation Odyssey Dawn

  1. David says:

    It would seem I still don’t get what is currently happening. I know we attacked Libya, even if I don’t know why, that we bombed some of Gaddafi’s buildings, flew over the no-fly zone, and that’s it. Are there any new information as to what’s going on? Or what can US gain from participating in this charade?


  2. JMPrince says:

    This said, it might also be noted that we’re now at war or warring in more parts of the wider N.Africa/Arab world than at any time since WWII. And nobody seems to like it. But it’s also over some of the same storied territory too. Once upon a time you might have mistaken those tanks on the ground for their earlier Brit versions. Some of which were visible until very recently. JMP

  3. JMPrince says:

    I say it a closer call than many care to believe, hence the proper ‘dithering’ for a week or so. But it all comes down to ‘what about the Rwanda standard’? As the worthy Canadian Gen. Roméo Dallaire reminds us here,,1
    it took a full decade for the UN to finally come up with the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine in 2005 to try and address genocide and acts leading to same. So for those who recall that debacle in 1995, in less than 100 days we saw likely 1Mill (or more) people massacred. Most of them by machete & farm implements, BTW. Gen. Dallaire was there. He tried his best & just did not have the resources in his small UN troop to do much. He did what he could, and in direct contravention of his superiors orders at the time. He’s decorated for that too.

    So the whole damn ‘Zenga, Zenga’ deal? Sorry, that’s significant & telling. Qaddafi was, is & still remains a terrorist madman who was responsible for killing over 200 Americans (270 total) in one of the most memorable aircraft bombings of the age, Lockerbie, 1988, Pam Am Flight 103. He then did it again in 1989 with the French Airline UTA Flight 772, killing our Chad Ambassador’s wife, Bonnie Pugh & 155 more. Then we can get down to the numerous massacres of errant prisoners and opponents of his regime down though the years, which do number in the 1000’s. After-awhile when you’ve got such a madman outside of your city telling one & all he’ll demand nothing less than blood in the streets, you’ll take that seriously.

    Juan Cole also helpfully reminds us that Lybia is no Iraq:

    This said, it’s always messy, and no, we never have an ‘exit’ strategy short of the decapitation of the regime’s leadership. How likely that is, no one knows, and that took quite sometime in Iraq too.

    On the whole Barry question, I’ve always said he was my 3rd choice in the primary. I also told folks that he is what he is. The same damn candidate we’re been most likely to nominate since Truman, a less than colorful, smart, resourceful, reasonably competent technocrat who has a passion for government and trying to work change from within the existing system. Nothing more or less than the Sen. Adlai Stevenson (D, Ill.) of our age. Indeed in some respects, strangely on the whole ‘passionate side’, we’ll now suffer by the comparison. They’re both fine politicians. Both were sometimes ill matched by the age too. This was perfectly obvious to anyone really paying attention.

    But here we are & likely remain. I still prefer him over the alternatives, who are always now more relentlessly crazier. I think he might step up his game some if he was primaried though. And Eds/IRE, you’ll need quite a bit more to be the ‘new JMP’. JMP

  4. Jules says:

    In these situations I used to assume that the President, SOS and National Defense team had more information than I did and my opinion didn’t much matter.. That was until the whole Colin Powell farce at the UN with WMD.

    I’m not at all excited about our involvement. 81 million dollars for tomahawks and a 40 million dollar plane, in addition to god knows what else, meanwhile it’s still not clear what the mission scope is.. that appears to be changing every day. MoMo has gold reserves to last a good long while, unless Ice T is headed that way with George Clooney to steal them.

    This war/police action/humanitarian mission is questionable, and we’re right to question it.

    But then again, we do have a history of conducting missile attacks on Libya, so maybe once you do that in the 80’s they are forever on our target list.

    Frankly MoMo’s son is the only one I want to see lit up.. he’s been the root of an international serial sexual abuse ring… he can go.

    • Ed says:

      The gold won’t help him that much as a non-liquid asset it’ll be easy to stop him trying to use it when a large influx hits the market dudes’ll know what’s up. he does however have large reserves of cash. As in buildings full of notes. THat’ll be harder to stop.

  5. Ed says:

    And now I am the new JMP.

  6. Ed says:

    Congrats Jen, I think this is now a record for activity on BfD.

    • Jen B. says:

      Thank you.

      Although, we once had a comment thread that resulted in over 100 comments, but I think it occurred in ’06 during Cox v. Taylor.

      In any event, while I’m disappointed in some of Obama’s inactions (Iraq, Gitmo), I still maintain that he is substantially better than McCain. Unless something miraculous comes out of the Republican Party or Obama seriously fucks up, I will vote for Obama again. But given that I vote in Georgia, it won’t make a difference (which I know is your point).

      • Ed says:

        Have you noticed dudes have been agreeing with me more lately or I’m changing their minds?

        Something ain’t right.

    • Jules says:

      Actually we’ve have several over 140.. type Abortion and it’ ON.

      Also had one last spring about Ken Hodges that folks went cray cray over.

  7. Ed says:

    If you think Obama isn’t being hypocritical here just luck at the ever-changing statements the WH has put out on this.

    Also w/r/t the messiah complex with Obama, its no secret I was never sold on him for much of the campaign. I never thought he was WHATEVER dudes made him out to be BUT… a) he had a chance to be truly transformational b) he willingly and gladly assumed the “messiah role” if you will, for lack of a better word c) he made that his goal. So that folk are disappointed by him and he’s failed to live up to expectations is a failure of his promises on the campaign trail.

    I’m guessing you’re telling us that we shouldn’t expect that from our pols, that’s fine, cool. But that also means we won’t be voting for the same candidate we thought we were getting in the 08 election.

    • Steve Golden says:

      Then, as I said before, enjoy his likely uber-conservative, Tea Party embracing opponent-to-be.

      I’m the first to admit Obama hasn’t yet changed the world immeasurably. I didn’t think he would, and I’d prefer him do more, but (and I’ll find them for y’all) I’ve read multiple articles discussing the “pragmatic” and the “progressive” Obama, and how he’s realized that progressive Obama can’t always win, especially with a divided Congress and a diverse Democratic congressional delegation. All of that being said, I’d take Obama any single day over any one of the flawed teabaggers running for President now. If you would do the opposite, perhaps you should reassess your partisan affiliation.

      • Ed says:

        Dude, that’s a canard and you know it.

        In case you don’t…. National popular votes for POTUS do. not. matter.

        All that matters is Georgia as a Georgia voter and guess what, we were never going to be in play.

        Aside from the strategy of it… The main issues I wanted him to be different from the Republicans on he hasn’t been. You know, stuff that he promised on the campaign trail. Why would I vote for him again?

        • Ed says:

          Also, one other thing… please spare me the tripe that “every voter matters” in a big election. It doesn’t. With millions of voters the odds of one person’s vote actually impacting the outcome is infinitesimally small to the point where it isn’t going to ever happen.

          That’s pretty much the short and long of any voting strategy that matters and is honest. If you disagree with that,then there is no point having a discussion about strategy.

          Actually there’s no point anyway because there’s nothing else to say.

  8. Jen B. says:

    Did President Clinton get this much criticism from the left when he authorized the bombing campaign against Serbia prior to consulting Congress?

    That question is irrelevant, but I suspect the answer is yes based on the congressional vote.

    Roll Call 103, 4/28/99. BILL TITLE: Authorizing the President of the United States to Conduct Military Air Operations and Missile Strikes Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)

    It resulted in a tie – 213 to 213, with 26 Democrats voting no, including Dennis Kucinich.

    • Jason Dozier says:

      That question was purely curiosity; I was too young at the time to have known the answer to that qusetion, or have even cared to know. Superficially, it just seems that the Obama Administration is taking an extraordinary amount of flak for actions that have been relatively common in the presidential toolbox, so to speak. This isn’t new territory; in fact, I think Kosovo makes a strong parallel, both because of the casus belli and the fact the campaign began weeks before the President sought approval from Congress.

      • Jen B. says:

        To be fair, I think the blogosphere has dramatically changed the way people think about and react to politics. If BfD was around during the Clinton years, you’d would have been seen a lot of criticism, I suspect.

        Also, I’m not a great person to respond about this. The Serbian airstrikes occurred when I was freshman in college. While I remember them happening, I mostly thought – at the time – that he did it to distract the media’s attention from Lewinsky, as the strikes occurred six months after he admitted having “sexual relations with that woman.”

  9. Jason Dozier says:

    Did President Clinton get this much criticism from the left when he authorized the bombing campaign against Serbia prior to consulting Congress?

    Also, just because this country has an unfortunate history of picking and choosing military missions in support of humanitarian intervention based on political expediency doesn’t mean we should avoid those missions altogether. In fact, we should champion these campaigns, if only to encourage the prospect that another Rwanda or Sudan or Myanmar won’t go un-ignored by the governments that are best positioned to actually do something about them.

  10. Tim Cairl says:

    I don’t think Libya and Iraq are the same thing. I would be shocked if our involvement in Libya went beyond the 100 days standard. Maybe i’;m weird b/c I think Libya is a humanitarian effort, when Qaddafi starting murdering the rebels i’d say it’s time to act. Since we don’t get oil (worth mentioning) from Libya, i’m suspect that that’s the reason, so i’m going with the simple answer.

    France’s position i’m guessing in much like the UK, they have much heavier trading relationships with North Africa and would like to see democratic rule restored for the N/Af countries. Qaddafi being a mass murderer and with a history of hijacking and blowing up european airplanes just aggravated their entrance.

    More shocking is that the Italians aren’t in on this one. Qaddafi’s right off their southern border and refugees would be flooding into Italy unless something was done quickly.

    • Steve Golden says:

      Italy is in it. Apparently committed from their AF and Navy.

      • Trevor Southerland says:

        Italy has also allowed their air bases to be used for air strikes from coalition countries so that they can save fuel not flying back to their own bases or home countries.

        • Tim Cairl says:

          yeah but that’s a misnomer, NATO already has a base in Naples, where the piracy stuff is run from, so Italy didn’t donate that. The news here is showing how Italy is balking at the effort, but then I’m watching totally different news.

          • Steve Golden says:

            I mean what I heard was that they committed AF & Navy forces, but I’m looking for a source not in Italian to confirm that.

          • Jen B. says:

            Tell us about the French news perspective. I’m genuinely interested and not making a snarky comment about the French.

          • Ed says:

            This is true. The Italians want more say (I forget in what) and today threatened to withdraw use of their air bases (not all of what’s used is NATO) for the mission.

            • Tim Cairl says:

              The french news perspective seems to be that Sarkozy’s been pushing for action in Libya about 2 weeks before it started, when clinton was saying on cnn, no we’re not going to get involved at this time, then suddenly bam it happens and everyone’s like yeah they obviously followed sarkozy’s lead.

              The french are keeping round the clock news running on both Japan and Libya pretty heavily. The two big english-speaking channels are France 24 and Russia Times

              • Ed says:

                < 3 Alyona Minkovski. Not very bright but great on TV--if you catch my drift. Substantively this is true.

  11. Gunner says:

    Oh yea by the way an F-15E was lost over Libyan soil last night. One pilot rescued (Thanks PJs) by American forces the other by Rebel forces. A larger question here is what do we know about the Libyan rebels? At one point in time we thought it was a good idea to arm Afgan freedom fighters.

    • Steve Golden says:

      I can see what you’re saying, but of yet I haven’t seen the report saying we’re arming anyone. My understanding is that we’re working in concert with a number of allied nations to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, not arm the rebels.

      • Jen B. says:

        We may not be directly arming the rebels, but we have chosen a side. In any event, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand, Gaddafi and his dictatorship needs to get the hell on. On the other hand, why do we stand by while other countries abuse their citizens? When do pick and choose.

  12. Gunner says:

    I was just asking a question. Like I said I am scratching my head at this.
    @EGaluszka no matter what the President decided to do in this situation the GOP would say he is wrong and that they would have done it better. That’s how partisan politics works.

    I dont think anyone has said this isn’t a humanitarian crisis. There are plenty of those going on around the world right now. Perhaps we should bomb the hell out of those countries as well. I just dont like committing combat assets to it. The President said that there will be no troops on the ground but as soon as one of our pilots get shot down then we have no choice but to go in.

    • EGaluszka says:

      You’re either missing or intentionally ignoring the UN mandate for force. That’s the key here which makes what he’s doing ideologically consistent.

      • Confused About Our leader says:

        why do you keep posting comments here if you think the “comments section there [Blog for Democracy] is the worst far-left echo chamber on the internet.”? Do you have some kind of Messiah complex where you think you can everyone’s opinions to your opinion?

        • Steve Golden says:

          And why are you trolling around under the guise of anonymity preaching to everyone else?

          • Confused About Our leader says:

            Nobody’s preaching but you Steve. The constant rant about you’re the only one who has done research on this topic. Watching the tv news isn’t doing research.

            • Steve Golden says:

              Haven’t just watched the TV news. I guess I get a little testy when you call me “naive” and ask attackingly rhetorical questions of my friends, generally questioning my intelligence or ability to make rational decisions based off of facts presented to me.

              I’m not actually attacking anyone on HERE for not having done research, but other people who have “told” me that there haven’t been any mass killings or humanitarian crises. I do, however, believe that people should more fully consider context.

        • EGaluszka says:

          Because it ceases being an echo chamber when dissenting opinions are being presented. Thanks for being my Facebook friend though, I guess?

      • Confused About Our leader says:

        why do you keep posting here if you think the “comments section there [Blog for Democracy] is the worst far-left echo chamber on the internet.”? Do you some kind of Messiah complex where you want to change everyone’s opinion to yours?

        • Steve Golden says:

          Why do you keep posting the same holier-than-thou question to Eddy?

          • Confused About Our leader says:

            Because you won’t fess up that your only research has been from watching Fox News and AC360.

            • Steve Golden says:

              Thanks for being so presumptious. Never watch Fox News. Don’t really watch cable news at all. Good to know that you think so little of me that I can’t do a lick of research on my own.

              • Confused About Our leader says:

                Don’t take it so personal. I’m not saying I think little of you…I’m just saying that your research is whack ass poor.

                • Steve Golden says:

                  Please, tell me why. What research have I done? What sources have I looked at? If you say any sort of TV program, I swear….

                  Look at me. Arguing with a damn troll.

                  • Confused About Our leader says:

                    oh I’m sorry you did state “I’ve personally talked to liberal Democrats who deny this is a humanitarian crisis.” Why am I a troll because I disagree with your stance that this is all the UN’s fault? Hmmmm I guess the US wasn’t politicking all the countries for this no-fly zone. Check your facts.

                    • Steve Golden says:

                      I did state that. And I’ve heard them say that. And then we hear reports that Gadhafi’s forces have been killing children and innocent civilans. I think that could be called a “humanitarian crisis.” And where the hell did I say this was the UN’s fault?

                      Feb 28: PM David Cameron floats the idea of a NFZ (

                      March 12: Arab League proposes NFZ (

                      I mean, never said it was a UN idea. Never said ti blame it on the UN. What I agreed with is that the UN/NATO/AL etc context is different than, say, Sudan.

                    • Steve Golden says:

                      And, for the record, here’s a definition of troll:

                      someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion

    • Steve Golden says:

      No, I’ve personally talked to liberal Democrats who deny this is a humanitarian crisis.

      • Ed says:

        Not exactly a good source for much…

        • Steve Golden says:

          My point was that I’ve heard so many ill-educated, misinformed, demagoguish arguments it sickens me. I’m anti-war. I in fact got involved in politics protesting Iraq in 2001-2002. But I’m also not one to take my general stance and allow it to misinform basically everything else, and ignore obvious facts.

  13. Confused About Our leader says:

    So why hasn’t the US helped end the crisis in Bahrain:
    “Saudi Arabia’s massive oil wealth and Sunni solidarity against Shiite Iran is the main reason Arab states remained muted over repression in Bahrain, while loudly protesting over the crushing of a popular revolt in Libya, analysts say.”

    • Steve Golden says:

      Read what we said earlier. This is a situation in which the UN/NATO/Arab League/France/Italy/Britain/Canada/etc all came together at once to condemn a nation. Get one against Bahrain and I presume something similar would happen.

      That being said, I understand the whole oil boondoggle, but I think people are looking at this issue far too simplistically without having done anywhere near adequate research.

  14. EGaluszka says:

    If you’re really equivocating what he said in 2007 with what’s happening now, especially the exact context of that quote, you’re hunting bigfoot.

    He was specifically responding to a question asking about then-President Bush possibly sending in air strikes to destroy Iranian uraniam processing facilities, an action which would have had no authorization from the UN or anyone, except ourselves and Israel.

    This action was taken by UN mandate in concert with our allies to prevent a humanitarian crisis. I know everyone wants to get mad at Obama for not being the biggest liberal in the Universe, but this is exactly ideologically consistent with what he has always said. The American military can be used for humanitarian purposes, but it must be a measured response that is consistent with the opinion of the international community.

    Obama isn’t being inconsistent, the Republicans are. And you’re all falling into their trap. Good work.

    • Steve Golden says:

      Amen Eddie. We have to play the “Context Game” here. For those of you who think that this isn’t a humanitarian crisis, I suggest you read the report today that Qadaffi’s forces killed 4 young children in a raid on a town.

      • Ed says:

        And there were no humanitarian crises (note the number) in Iraq? Darfur?

        If we’re justifying actions based on humanitarian efforts we’re opening ourselves to more problems than if we don’t.

        • EGaluszka says:

          And there was no mandate for force in either of those cases from the UN. You an say that’s a case of the UN’s policy being inconsistent, but not the President’s.

        • Steve Golden says:

          If the UN/NATO/Arab League all came together in concert to institute a no-fly zone, I’d hope that the US would join allies like Britain, France, Italy, et al to put it into place. If the US tries to get into a full-scale ground war, we can have a different discussion, but that’s not what’s going on here.

          • Confused About Our leader says:

            and you know this how? by reading the same newspapers that told you we were fighting a war against WMDs.

            • Steve Golden says:

              I know this from government documents (if you wish, you can see the ships and aircraft committed by each country) and by reading resolutions. Perhaps you should do some research?

              • Confused About Our leader says:

                and you think any government lists the number of special forces they have on the ground?? I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you too. You are mighty naive.

                • Steve Golden says:

                  And you are mighty misinformed. I mean where is your information coming from? You have an in at the Pentagon you’d like to reveal to us? Call me naive all you want, but evidently I’m the only person here who has done any bit of research.

  15. Gunner says:

    So he was against it as a candidate but for it after the election?

    • Steve Golden says:

      Is a person disallowed from having opinions or statements change? If that’s the case, I hope everyone enjoys a President Obama who is against gay marriage. We should disregard his more recent statement saying that his view is “evolving” or his order for the DoJ not to enforce DOMA.

  16. Steve Golden says:

    I love you all dearly, but let’s all not just pick the exact same quote from one speech. Perhaps we should look at some other quotes of his, say from the speech whence he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize:

    “I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That’s why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.”

  17. GAPolitico says:

    There are really two issues here.

    1. Should we be involved in Libya
    2. Should the President get Congressional approval before committing US troops

    Obama should have gotten Congressional approval for action in Libya.

    There is a standard belief that the President can send troops for 30-60 days without Congressional approval. This has been the understanding under the War Powers Act, this has never been tested in court.

    The way I read the law (Which I’m no lawyer, but Obama was), it basically says, as Obama stated in that quote, the President can only commit troops without Congressional approval to repel attacks or protect against imminent threats. Afterward, he must report the actions to Congress (which is where the 30-60 day period comes in).

    Libya, clearly, was not an imminent threat to the United States.

    I was not a fan when Bush abused executive authority and I will not hold back criticism when I feel Obama has also done it.

    As far as being involved in Libya, I have mixed feelings. I understand that bad things are happening in Libya. Force is being used to get suppress resistance. However, this happens across the globe and we do nothing.

    Second, I see this as a Civil War issues – the Rebel vs. Quaddafi. I am not all for the US getting involved in Civil Wars.

    However, I also see the need for action against an oppressed people. However, I just wonder how we can choose certain countries over other countries. How do we choose Libya over Saudi Arabia?

    • Steve Golden says:

      Lucky us the U.S. is already phasing out its role in Libya.

      • Tim Cairl says:

        yeah, i think this might be france and uk’s operation after this week. The US and others just gave them a running shot (the rebels)

  18. Ed says:

    At this point, it is increasingly unlikely I will vote for Obama again.

    I certainly will not work for his re-election.

    • BEZERKO says:

      I will, I have no problem with it. I think this is the right action to take, but I would like to see him try and get congressional approval.

    • Matt says:

      Ditto. At this point, he doesn’t have my vote. And not for the reason of Libya, but for the increasing numbers of sell outs, broken promises, etc.

    • Tim Cairl says:

      I think you’re crazy dude. People had a messiah complex about obama. He’s gotten a lot accomplished, not all perfectly, but plenty done.
      And I happen to agree with him on the libya thing just think the policy was handled wrong.

      • Steve Golden says:

        I encourage all you above Democrats to throw your hands up to our new Newt/Pawlenty/Palin/Paul/new conservative Romney overlords. If you don’t vote for Obama because you think he’s somehow not liberal enough, or hasn’t done what he’s said (which, I’d note, he has done much of it), then you deserve whatever President you get. Enjoy living in a theocratic uber-conservative nation. I’ll take my imperfect but at least progressive President.

  19. Tim Cairl says:

    regarding current foreign policy debacle – Sec Clinton says Obama is against it, but that was before he was actually for it. The Europeans are puzzled, apparently they were under a different pretense than the americans re: Obama’s intentions towards libya and joining france and UK in military action.

  20. Gunner says:

    Still scratching my head.