With Weiner-gate and the Sarah Palin email hog root both winding-down, perhaps it's time for the legacy media to turn it's focus on what's been happening with respect to our overseas adventure in Libya. Some interesting things transpired over the weekend.
From the NY Times:
President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.(italics, ours)
Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.
But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.
Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.
Here's Glenn Greenwald on ol' you know who:
Bush decided to reject the legal conclusions of his top lawyers and ordered the NSA eavesdropping program to continue anyway, even though he had been told it was illegal (like Obama now, Bush pointed to the fact that his own White House counsel (Gonzales), along with Dick Cheney's top lawyer, David Addington, agreed the NSA program was legal). In response, Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign en masse if Bush continued with this illegal spying, and Bush -- wanting to avoid that kind of scandal in an election year -- agreed to "re-fashion" the program into something those DOJ lawyers could approve (the "re-fashioned" program was the still-illegal NSA program revealed in 2005 by The New York Times; to date, we still do not know what Bush was doing before that that was so illegal as to prompt resignation threats from these right-wing lawyers).
That George Bush would knowingly order an eavesdropping program to continue which his own top lawyers were telling him was illegal was, of course, a major controversy, at least in many progressive circles. Now we have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping in a way that his own top lawyers are telling him is illegal, but waging war in that manner (though, notably, there is no indication that these Obama lawyers have the situational integrity those Bush lawyers had [and which Archibald Cox, Eliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus had before them] by threatening to resign if the lawlessness continues).
And betcha didn't know there's a new international award out there that will make its debut this year, though you just might know who is the front-runner to receive this award.
As the July 2011 deadline for Afghan troop withdrawal nears, President Barack Obama is gearing up for another significant milestone, the Nobel War Prize awards ceremony, which will be held in Oslo next month.
Among Obama’s list of war accomplishments, the committee highlighted Obama’s decision to double the number of troops and expand the number of private contractors in Afghanistan, as well as his dramatic escalation of drone strikes and targeted assassinations in Yemen and Pakistan. According to one committee member, “Two years ago, we worried that President Obama would rollback Bush administration policies and pursue a peace agenda, but in fact he’s expanded the militaristic Bush approach to counterterrorism. He’s managed to get the U.S. involved in three wars in the Middle East, keep Guantanamo open, and dramatically expand the use of covert CIA capture/kill operations across the globe. We could not think of a more worthy candidate for this award.”
The article doesn't mention it but we believe it would be a glaring ommission if the resume' didn't also include the President's war on jobs here stateside.