Obama Defies Constitution

Rep. Barletta: Obama “Just Absolutely Ignoring The Constitution,” Impeachment Probably Could Pass in House

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, (R-Pa.), interviewed on the “Gary Sutton Show” on News Radio WSBA in York County, Pa., on Monday, said of Obama: “He’s just absolutely ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the laws, and ignoring the checks and balances.”

Barletta said:”The problem is, you know, what do you do? For those that say ‘Impeach him for breaking the laws or bypassing the laws,’ you know, could that pass in the House? It probably … it probably could…Is the majority of the American people in favor of impeaching the president? I’m not sure about that.”
DNC Defends Obama

After the DNC issued a statement attacking Barletta, his communications director Tim Murtaugh spun Barletta’s comments by saying he was not “advocating or proposing” that the House impeach Obama; he was just relating one way that Congress to stop Obama’s “consistent disregard for the law.” Barletta’s remarks are reported in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, and the London Daily Mail.

Contemptuous Obama Tells Congress: “I’ll Keep You Posted”

President Obama told top members of Congress on Wednesday that he won’t need to ask for Congressional permission for the next steps he will take on the crisis in Iraq, according to various accounts of the meeting at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

“The President just basically briefed us on the situation in Iraq, indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for steps he might take, and indicated he would keep us posted,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after a White House meeting about Iraq, according to the National Journal.
‘Keep us Informed’

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told reporters that it was a “good meeting” and that “everybody seemed satisfied,” according to The Hill. “The President is going to keep us as informed as he can as the process moved forward,” Reid said.At yesterday’s White House press briefing, spokesman Jay Carney would not say if Obama needs, or wants, Congressional authorization to take military action in Iraq.

Carney said: “When it comes to the options that the President is considering…the President has not ruled out anything except for sending U.S. combat troops into Iraq… And he has always maintained the position that the United States retains the right to act in defense of our national security interests when the commander-in-chief views that as necessary.”

US Military Opposes US Air Strikes in Iraq

There is heavy pressure on President Obama to launch air strikes against militants in Iraq. Obama might indeed be inclined to order air strikes, but there’s one problem: the kind of intelligence required to make air strikes effective doesn’t exist, and the military side of the Pentagon has not been hesitant in making that fact known.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made that point in testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday. “What I would recommend is, anytime we use U.S. military force, we use it for those things that are in our national interests and that once I’m assured we can use it responsibly and effectively.” That’s a problem in northern Iraq right now, he indicated, because the different forces contending for control are too intermingled, and control of contested ground shifts too frequently. “And until we can actually clarify this intelligence picture, the options will continue to be built and developed and refined, and the intelligence picture made more accurate, and then the president can make a decision,” Dempsey said.
The CIA and Pentagon are ‘not certain’

The Wall Street Journal reported, yesterday, that Obama has decided against air strikes, “opting instead to pursue strategies such as providing intelligence to the Iraqi military, addressing the country’s political divisions and seeking support from regional allies.” The Journal makes clear, however, that behind Obama’s decision is exactly what Dempsey told the Senate, yesterday morning. “The president wants to avoid air strikes for now in part because U.S. military officials lack sufficient information to hit targets that would shift momentum on the battlefield,” the Journal reports.Part of the problem, as The Daily Beast’s Kimberly Dozier reported on June 16, is that the US doesn’t have the visibility into Iraq that it did when US military and CIA personnel were on the ground there during the US occupation. All that ended in 2011, when US forces withdrew from the country. “Current and retired American defense and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the CIA and the Pentagon are not certain who exactly makes up the forces that have taken so much of Iraq. Moreover, these intelligence and defense officials say that they believe that some of the people fighting with Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are former U.S. allies who could be turned against the hard-core fanatics if they can be identified,” Dozier wrote.

“We don’t have boots on ground providing intelligence and we don’t have confidence in information that the Iraqi government provides, because they’ve [been] so heavy-handed in the use of force against Sunni villages,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, told her.

Some Dems Claim Obama Doesn’t Need Congressional Authorization

While many, perhaps most, Congressional Democrats oppose further U.S. military action in Iraq, a number of the top Democratic leaders in Congress are calling for military action.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Obama should consider military strikes against advancing ISIS forces, and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called for direct action against Sunni jihadists marching on Baghdad. “Most important is that we take direct action now against ISIS, marching down to Baghdad, and prevent them from getting into Baghdad,” Feinstein told reporters in the Capitol yesterday. She said airstrikes could “absolutely” be a facet of that direct action, according to The Hill.
Another Generation of Young People

The third-ranking House Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), called for drone strikes on Wednesday. Clyburn said: “I’m a great believer in drones…and I think that this situation cries out for it.” Nancy Pelosi, who had previously opposed any further involvement, indicated on Monday that she is open to action. “When they say military, as long as they don’t mean boots on the ground, then we can talk about something if it means providing equipment or some other assist,” Pelosi said, according to Associated Press.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, while not calling directly for military action, said Tuesday that Congress did not need to grant any additional approval for the Obama Administration to take action, saying: “In my opinion, I don’t think they need any more authority than they already have to do whatever they need to do.” Hoyer said that, “Under the existing authorization for the use of force, I think they have that [power],” referring to the 2002 Iraq AUMF.

Other Democrats disagreed.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing military force in Iraq, said Obama should consult with Congress. “I certainly believe that the President always has to get Congressional approval,” said Kaine, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), another Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, agreed. “If he’s asking for any sustained authorization, he’s got to go Congress. I think the Iraq AUMF is functionally obsolete,” said Murphy.

Murphy is right. The AUMF passed by Congress in October 2002 was explicity aimed at the then-“current Iraq reqime” (i.e., Saddam Hussein) and the alleged WMD threat, with a secondary emphasis on Saddam’s alleged support for international terrorist organizations and harboring of al-Qaeda. By no stretch of the imagination could it be interpreted to authorize military action today.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a veteran of the Iraq War and member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, warned that air strikes “would put us in a more dangerous situation, because it will force us to take sides in what is a very dangerous, religious civil war.”

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Obama should “Stop listening to the people who sent us there with no plan… I would hate to see another generation of young people have to fight in Iraq in a civil war.”

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