Thursday, June 16, 2011

Libya and The War Powers Act

Libyan Blood and US Political Realities

With memories as durable as a marble in a mayonaise jar, the initial validity of the country's entry into the Libyan affair has now slipped through the reality horizon into the black hole of domestic politics.  Those high borne ideals manifest in the UN Resolution, the NATO response and the American involvement have been predictably transformed into the equivalent of the missing child appearing on the side of a corn flakes box.

Libya -- Just More Politics?  (image source)

Returning to the poisoned well of an over developed national cynicism where absolutely nothing the US government might undertake actually amounts to anything similar to what it appears to be, the facts will suffer first, followed by our Constitutionally protected right to act like ninnies in a Pollyanna world suspiciously devoid of both responsibility and consequences.

As a result, while the Libyans are fighting and dying for their chance at freedom, their destinies are reframed into political hay here in this gaseously secure bastion of security and democracy.  It's as if not a single Representative or Senator -- hypnotically infatuated exclusively with the prospects of their own personal  re-election -- had ever so much as seen anything remotely suggestive of the material price of war.

MeanMesa is watching the drawing of the "long knives" from both the right and the left, each case soiled by yet more self-serving, unrealistic maneuvering for a bump in the public opinion polls.  Let's take a look at the prevailing strategies with the hope of seeing through the mist.

From the Left

Democrat Kucinich, an otherwise quite respectable sort of progressive Libertarian, has moved for impeachment of the President based on non-compliance with the War Powers Act which requires Congressional approval of military actions lasting longer than 90 days.  MeanMesa, a personal observer of what happened both with the 20 years war in Viet Nam ($1 Mn per minute)  and the 10 years war in Afghanistan and the 8 years war in Iraq ($6.8 Mn per minute -- each), has no problem with the War Powers Act.

(image source)

(image source)

At least, that is, no problem with the War Powers Act if it actually worked.
However, as we consider the idealistic Kucinich in the harsh light of day, we see a sickening similarity to the alcoholic reaching for the next bottle of whiskey amid the crushing remnants of a life already destroyed by his drinking.  The only lubricant which makes that whiskey seem to make sense is a profound, mortally dangerous state of alcoholic denial.

Democrat Progressive Dennis Kucinich in denial?

Yes.  The horrible denial exposed in Congressman Kucinich's action is straightforward enough.  

Kucinich continues to insist that the democratic process still, somehow, functions in a government which has essentially ceased to function.

His laments and complaints on the House floor would have been rational enough had the fundamental motivations of that House adhered even a little more closely to their traditional values.  However, in this case, the Democrat from Ohio may as well have been reciting Demonsthene's Phillippics in the midst of a riot in the psychiatric wing of a maximum security prison.

This is 2011 AD, not 340 BC.  

Gaddafi's howitzers are firing today.  The shells of his snipers are blowing through the bodies of Libyans as we speak.  The situation is, in reality, what it was presented to be in the UN Resolution.

From the Right

The usual suspects from the 19th Century wing of the neo-cons may have trotted out their traditional love of war for the occasion, but their slightly more modernistic additions in the House have out done even their own thinly disguised obedience to their Obama hating base.  It's as if they have agreed to sacrifice however many Libyan freedom fighters it takes to bump the polls.

Naturally, the oligarch owned, corporate media has rushed to the front, re-introducing the authorized "talking points" in a flurry of semi-convincing arguments of their own.  A quick summary of the latest offerings may be in order.
1.) The "confused mission" concept has been resurrected, and relentlessly piped through the mouths of a few retired generals.

2.) The implied hypocrisy vector remains on the table.  "If Libya, why not Syria?"  This might have made sense if Syria had been the focus of a UN Resolution, a NATO response and the rest of what precluded intervention in Libya.

3.) The humbling prospect of the US not being "in the lead" in the military action.  The war loving Republicans in the Congress feel, well, cheated, denied the breast beating glory of being the main bully in the conflict.

4.) Finally, the War Powers Act, except this time, from the right instead of from the left.

It is this fourth element which we can, perhaps, explore a little further.

The central feature of this faux "Constitution Protecting" gambit is the Congressional "concern" over the extensions of the powers of the Executive Branch during the catastrophic autocracy of the Bush years.  Enjoying all the incendiary intoxication of the FOX radio pundits during those "halcyon days," the  war loving GOPCons predictably reminisce about the days when "They hate our Freedom" was still, sort of, working.

Now, however, the House tea bags have donned a new mask.  The latest fraud is to be centered on "fulfilling the Constitutional mandate" of separated powers.

Actually, of course, what we see is the GOPCon "motiva maxima" which proclaims that any possible success of the Obama Administration must be  undercut and crushed instantly.  Since Osama bin Laden cannot be rehabilitated yet again as a mark of Obama's "failure in leadership," Gaddafi's massacre of a few thousand Libyan civilians will have to serve as the latest evidence of the President's "failure in leadership."

The GOPCons would relish an opportunity for a protracted debate, replete with a few more Sharia Law Prohibitions and a couple of additional anti-abortion laws, while Gaddafi slaughtered Misarata.  Once the pogrom was completed, blame could be rendered.  Oh yeah.

For the GOPCon congregation in the Church of Death, blood means nothing, politics means everything.

For the reactionaries in the Republican Party, foreign blood amounts to the equivalent of WalMart motor oil, cheap, convincing and, at least temporarily, effective.  If it will win a few votes among the hill billies and bigots in the next election, let the Libyans  bleed.

Republican complaints based on the War Powers Act amount to nothing -- especially when the advent of such "idealistic concern" amounts to something so new after what they gleefully accepted at the outset of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Are we supposed to believe that these reactionaries have had some sort of sincere "change of heart?"

Say, for argument's sake, a "change of heart" similar to the one where big spending, big borrowing GOPCons suddenly become obsessed with cutting the budget?

History suggests that the spots on a leopard tend to be more durable than that -- especially when such a case of cosmic hypocrisy is based on nothing more than the fleeting hope that American voters have forgotten what happened only a few  years ago.

MeanMesa stands with the President.  The nation still has what it takes to demonstrate an abiding decency in both words and actions.  

This latest "trailer park" play will get its momentary knee jerk reaction from the uninformed and the uninterested among the stumbling GOPCon base, but it will also be added to the ammunition locker being set aside for the 2012 election.

The GOPCons must pay the full price for their avarice -- both economic and political.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

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