Libertarian Party poll: Should Congress impeach Obama for Libya War?

Staff at LP.org:

President Obama and Vice President Biden have both said in the past that it’s unconstitutional for a president to initiate a war without congressional authorization.

Do you think President Obama should be impeached for taking America to war in Libya? Take our poll.

http://www.lp.org/poll/should-congress-impeach-president-obama-for-making-war-on-libya-in-violation-of-the-constitutio

57 thoughts on “Libertarian Party poll: Should Congress impeach Obama for Libya War?

  1. paulie Post author

    Mixed feelings about this one myself.

    On the one hand, the clear and correct answer is yes.

    On the other hand, the LP calling for Clinton and Obama to be impeached, even though for correct reasons, and failing to call for Bush to be impeached, creates absolutely the wrong impression.

    We should balance any call for impeaching Obama with a call for bringing Bush, Cheney and company to account for war crimes.

  2. paulie Post author

    Early votes:

    Should Congress impeach President Obama for making war on Libya in violation of the Constitution?
    Yes
    75% (15 votes)
    I’m not sure
    15% (3 votes)
    No
    10% (2 votes)
    Total votes: 20

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    paulie, I agree that we look bad by not calling for Bush’s impeachment, but I still voted “yes”. I really don’t think Obama would even have tried half of the stuff he’s done if Bush had been held accountable for even a few of his offenses. I’ll never stop calling for Bush, Cheny, and several others to be prosecuted for their war crimes.

  4. paulie Post author

    I agree that we look bad by not calling for Bush’s impeachment, but I still voted “yes”.

    So did I, to be fair.

    I’ll never stop calling for Bush, Cheny, and several others to be prosecuted for their war crimes.

    We should press the LP at all levels to do so as well. Realistically, the pressure for that would have to come from the bottom up.

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    March Madness

    Okay, so who gave President Obama the okay to get involved in the situation in Libya and why?

    Libyan Dictator Gadhafi may be one of the worst people on the planet, but he has not attacked the U.S. and if he had then we would want to follow the rules as set down in the Constitution not that it has mattered in the recent past, but the Congress should have been called upon to declare war. That’s real simple to do. Of course then there is the War Powers Act, which doesn’t sound very constitutional to me, but then who am I?

    Unfortunately for the citizens of the country getting a declaration of war hasn’t been something the Congress or the President has thought necessary since December 7, 1941 when the Japanese Imperial Fleet attacked Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The following day, December 8th, President Roosevelt spoke to a joint session of Congress and within minutes of the speech Congress declared war. Not since that day has any president asked or any congress declared war, but the nation has been in a number of them and as of today is now involved in three different ones in the Middle East, those are in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.

    In all of these wars, if we choose to call them that, the U.S. military men and women are required to follow their orders and should they do otherwise they will be held accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, aka, UCMJ.

    So one must ask why is it acceptable for the president and the congress to ignore the constitution, but to hold the men and women in uniform to a much more rigorous standard.

    Presently there are four living presidents who have sent the military forces of this nation to war without getting a declaration of war from the congress. Those are George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush and now President Barack Obama.

    If the rule of law is to mean anything then it must be followed. Using the military in such a fashion is nothing short of murder and these four men should be arrested and charged accordingly. Obama first must be impeached. It is far past time for a jury to decide.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    MHW@6

    “Presently there are four living presidents who have sent the military forces of this nation to war without getting a declaration of war from the congress. Those are George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush and now President Barack Obama.”

    You missed one. Carter sent troops into Iran (Operation Eagle Claw), Afghanistan (Operation Cyclone) and El Salvador.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    Love to see Obama go. Would not want to see Biden prez. Boehner, nyet.

    Remember “prosecutorial discretion”
    n
    A prosecuting attorney’s option to make choices with regard to charges, plea bargaining, sentence recommendation, and so on.

    With all the precedents, is it worth the effort? Might be. Unlikely, IMO.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie @ 8 yes. I posted it about the 24th.

    Tom @ 10 I thought of that one, but decided since it was supposed to be a rescue mission I thought it should not be listed. I did consider listing him because of the military aid his administration sent to Indonesia that was used against East Timor, but I didn’t dig into the history far enough. I do think that event is a black mark on his “human rights” record if we can call it that.

  9. Andy

    Yes, of course Obama should be impeached for this, however, there’s a bunch of stuff that Obama did before this that he should have been impeached for as well.

    “On the other hand, the LP calling for Clinton and Obama to be impeached, even though for correct reasons, and failing to call for Bush to be impeached, creates absolutely the wrong impression.”

    This is a very bad perdiciment that the Libertarian Party has created for itself. Back in the ’90s the LP correctly called for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. However, George W. Bush held the office of President for 8 years, and the Libertarian Party never had the balls to officially call for his impeachment, even though there were just as many reasons – if not more reasons – to call for his impeachment as there was to call for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. There were a bunch of Libertarian Party members who called for Bush’s impeachment on their own, however, the Libertarian Party never officially released a statement or passed a resolution calling for his impeachment and this was just shameful. The reason for this is due to the number of “Republitarians/Republican-lites” who showed up at the national conventions and who held positions in LP National. These people were afraid they were going to offend the Republican base. This was quite frankly a horrible reason for not doing this because anyone in the Republican base who’d be offended by calling for Bush to be impeached is a person who DESERVES to be offended.

    Now the Libertarian Party is in an akward situation. The correct thing to do is to call for Obama’s impeachment (which should have already been done a while ago), however, doing this is going to make the Libertarian Party look like a bunch of hyporcrites and Republican sympathizers. This situation is a direct result of the Libertarian Party not taking the proper actions when George W. Bush was wreaking havoc against liberty as President.

    “We should balance any call for impeaching Obama with a call for bringing Bush, Cheney and company to account for war crimes.”

    Yes, this is the only way that the party can save face. Release an official statement calling for the impeachment of Obama, but only do it if at the same time the Libertarian Party releases an official statement calling for the Bush regime to be prosecuted for war crimes.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    A possible way around the “didn’t call for Bush impeachment, it’s hypocritical to now impeach Obama” might be something along the lines of calling for repeal of the War Powers Act and/or other enabling legislation.

    Or even a sense of Congress resolution that military actions like Libya and Iraq should require formal declarations of war.

    A remedy needs to have some sense of plausibility, else it just looks like empty posturing and a waste of energy.

  11. AroundtheblockAFT

    Can’t a case be made that the War Powers Act is the specific way that Congress has decided to exercise its sole power to declare war? If so,
    then didn’t Dubya ask for and receive such permission and, therefore, not commit an impeachable act (on those grounds at least)?
    Obama didn’t even ask, therefore it is justifiable to call for his impeachment now.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp

    ATBAFT,

    “Can’t a case be made that the War Powers Act is the specific way that Congress has decided to exercise its sole power to declare war?”

    Not really. The War Powers Resolution specifically notes that its reporting requirement is operant “[i]n the absence of a declaration of war.” How can an act that’s only operant in the absence of a declaration of war be an exercise of the power to declare war?

  13. AroundtheblockAFT

    TLK, I’ll leave that to the constitutional scholars.
    In any case, Obama didn’t even observe the niceties that Dubya did. Of course, most libertarians believe that every (or virtually every) president has committed an impeachable act and that – given that the U.S. has been almost constantly at war with American Indians or someone else since its founding, they all deserve to be labeled “war criminals.”

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    ATBAFT,

    I don’t see why it has to rise to the level of constitutional scholarship. When a law says it is operant only “in the absence of a declaration of war,” it’s pretty obvious that invoking that law is not a declaration of war.

    I agree (and in fact noted in a comment on the Sipos piece) that Obama hasn’t even made the same meaningless gestures toward putative legitimacy that Bush did.

  15. paulie Post author

    You missed one. Carter sent troops into Iran (Operation Eagle Claw), Afghanistan (Operation Cyclone) and El Salvador.

    I don’t think Carter was nearly as bad as the others, and he’s very old. I wouldn’t waste the prosecution’s time. The other four are war criminals and should be tried as such.

  16. JT

    Paulie: “I don’t think Carter was nearly as bad as the others, and he’s very old.”

    You might think Carter wasn’t nearly as bad, but I don’t see what being very old has to do with being prosecuted as a war criminal. That particular point is irrelevant, IMO.

  17. Steven R Linnabary

    I don’t think Carter was nearly as bad as the others

    OTOH, the US is still defending the “Carter Doctrine” which made the Persian Gulf a US territory.

    PEACE

  18. paulie Post author

    @21 Just seems to me that it would be a waste of the prosecution’s time in that case. The presidents who have overseen the 20-year War Against Iraq and the nearly 10-year was against Afghanistan are a different matter.

  19. paulie Post author

    Andy @13 That’s exactly what I meant.

    RC @15 Yes, we should call for repealing the War Powers Act (we haven’t?), but that is not enough to address the issue of US war criminals on the loose.

    ATBAFT @16 Bush was guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. All the reasoning in the LP’s call for impeaching Clinton fully applied to Bush (just as it does now to Obama).

  20. paulie Post author

    From the Advocates:

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRISONS AND ZOOS: “I’m not a lawyer… but I always thought the point of evidence was that if you didn’t have enough, you’re not allowed to keep them in prison. It’s one of the many differences we have in this country between prisons and zoos. You don’t really need anything on an aardvark.” — Jon Stewart

    on Obama’s decision to continue indefinite detention and military tribunals at Guantanamo, March 9, 2011.

  21. Bryan

    It’s funny how many comments get put up because of a poll at LP.org. It’s a rigged game…
    repubs that joined the LP will probably vote yes, (little l) libertarians will probably vote yes, those who actually believe in the non-intervention stance of the LP will vote yes.

    Just about the only no votes you will get are the handful of democrats/leftists who visit the site from time to time.

  22. Sane LP member

    Each administration treats the work and power of the previous administration as the “floor” not the ceiling. And therefore, each administration will give itself more and more power. The results won’t be pretty, at the rate we are going.

  23. JT

    Paulie: “Just seems to me that it would be a waste of the prosecution’s time in that case.”

    I don’t think seeking justice is ever a waste of time if there’s solid evidence against the accused. Was prosecuting Nazi officials decades after WWII ended a waste of time? I don’t think so.

  24. paulie Post author

    I honestly don’t see Carter on a level with nazi war criminals. The instances Knapp cites @10 are relatively minor. They are nothing like the scale of war crimes perpetrated in the middle east and central Asia by the US over the past 20 years.

  25. paulie Post author

    OTOH, the US is still defending the “Carter Doctrine” which made the Persian Gulf a US territory.

    True, but I suspect that had a lot more to do with Brzezinski than Carter.

    Just about the only no votes you will get are the handful of democrats/leftists who visit the site from time to time.

    LP.org polls are obviously self-selecting samples, and not in any way supposed to be random polls of the US population or even LP members. However, not all Libertarians are unanimous about this either.

    And I doubt the nearly 30% who are voting no or maybe are all Democrats or progressives.

    The results won’t be pretty, at the rate we are going.

    That’s for sure.

  26. JT

    Paulie: “I honestly don’t see Carter on a level with Nazi war criminals.”

    Paulie, I didn’t mean that Carter is on the level of Nazi war criminals. I didn’t even say whether he should be prosecuted or not. I was just responding to your comment that being very old is relevant to being prosecuted. There have been people who have committed murder, were prosecuted decades later when they were much older, and then were convicted and sentenced to live their remaining years and die in a prison cell. I wouldn’t say that was a waste of time.

  27. paulie Post author

    I’m operating on the theory that we don’t have unlimited resources for the prosecution. I think we have bigger fish to fry, and that it is highly likely that Carter would die of old age before the case could be concluded, even if it started now. Given that his crimes pale in comparison with the Bushes, Clinton and Obama, that he is in his 80s now and also taking into account some of the good things he’s done (for instance with Habitat), I would just as soon let him die in peace.

    Furthermore, since at this time it is likely that calling for war crimes trials would only be symbolic (although I hope to see that change in the future), if we dilute our symbolism too much by going after Carter, IMO it makes our case against the more serious war criminals of the past 20 years look less serious. That’s just my take on it, I could certainly be wrong.

  28. JT

    Paulie: “Furthermore, since at this time it is likely that calling for war crimes trials would only be symbolic (although I hope to see that change in the future), if we dilute our symbolism too much by going after Carter, IMO it makes our case against the more serious war criminals of the past 20 years look less serious. That’s just my take on it, I could certainly be wrong.”

    Okay. You’re certainly entitled to your take. As far as whether saying prosecuting Carter would make saying Presidents of the last 20 years should be prosecuted look less serious, I personally don’t think that would matter a lot. That’s just my take.

  29. Gene Berkman

    “…calling for repeal of the War Powers Act and/or other enabling legislation…”

    It is ironic. The War Powers Act was passed in 1973 to LIMIT the power of the President to put American troops into combat. WPA was inspired by the extra-constitutional way that America got into the Vietnam War through the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

    It was written to limit the power the President had actually taken, and was supported by antiwar Democrats along with several conservatives who wanted to limit the power of the President.John Ashbrook and Phil Crane were among the floor managers.

    But the War Powers Act actually gives the President more power than the Constitution does. The USSR still existed, the Cold War was going on, and it was felt by WPA sponsors that the President needed to be able to respond if the Soviet Union or a surrogate engaged in provacative action.

    Only a couple members voted against it because it gave the President un-Constitutional power, and I only remember Ron Dellums of Berkley as such a “no” vote.

  30. Brad Smith

    Yah, impeach him, any blow we can strike against big G. is a good think. It aigh’t gonna happen though. We are NOT going to impeach our first Black President. We will impeach a man for getting a blow job. But we don’t impeach presidents for starting wars. We should impeach him and also try him and both the Bush’s and Clintons for treason. Oh yea and Carter too.

    Hillary is behind this war. Obama doesn’t have a foreign policy at all. Billary does. Obama doesn’t know spit about anything. It reminds me of Reagan and Bush. Bush ran foreign policy and everyone knew it, it wasn’t really a secret. Now billary is running it.

  31. john doe

    at least W got congressional approval remeber kerry and clinton i voted yes before i voted no

    obama is a war criminal period

  32. Airt1776

    Absolutely he has broken the law ,the constitution which says that congress is the only ones that can take us to war.the constitution is the only law of this land read it ,learn it ,live it
    The answer to 1984 is 1776

  33. vramsey

    I think Obama should be impeached for many reasons. Mainly I do not think he was ever eligible to be our president. If he is impeached on grounds of his birth certificate that he was not born an American citizen since he on video has stated he was born in another country, then Biden and Obama will go. It will be a fraudilant win so McCain becomes president for the remainder of the term.

  34. Thomas L. Knapp

    vramsey,

    “If he is impeached on grounds of his birth certificate that he was not born an American citizen”

    I’m not sure not being born an American citizen (which he was born anyway, unless Stanley Ann Dunham was not his mother) is a “high crime or misdemeanor.”

    “since he on video has stated he was born in another country”

    Really? Got a link?

    “then Biden and Obama will go.”

    Um, no, Obama will go. Biden will become president.

    “so McCain becomes president for the remainder of the term”

    Nope. There are 18 positions in the line of presidential succession, and McCain is, at present, in none of those positions.

    If Obama goes, Biden becomes president.

    If Biden goes (before a new VP is confirmed), Speaker of the House John Boehner becomes president.

    If Boehner goes (before a new VP is confirmed), US Senate President pro tempore Daniel Inouye becomes president.

    If Inouye goes (before a new VP is confirmed), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becomes president.

    The Geithner, then Gates, then Holder, then Salazar, then Vilsack, then Locke, then Solis, then Sebelius, then Donovan, then LaHood, then Chu, then Duncan, then Shinseki, then Napolitano.

    What happens after that? Who knows. My guess is that they’d start working down from the top by seniority in the House and then in the Senate (as you can see, the House is given priority in the first 18), which means that even if McCain was the most senior US Senator, he’d still be 435+ convenient impeachments, resignations, medical emergencies or assassinations away from the Oval Office.

    Nice try, though.

  35. whatever

    True, you can’t impeach someone for never being qualified for the office in the first place. You can only frogmarch him to Ft. Leavenworth and leave President Biden to pick up the pieces. Perhaps Biden could be impeached for Libya.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    It’s also possible that BHO was not native born (physically in the US) but didn’t know it, or wasn’t sure. In which case, it’s not fraud, which requires intent, as I understand it.

    It wouldn’t be an “impeachable” offense, but it might have to be sorted out by the Supremes. I don’t see anything in the Constitution about what to do if someone is elected President but is found to be unqualified after the fact, and so there’s no remedy specified, that I can find.

    If solid, tangible proof surfaced that he is not qualified prior to the 2012 elections, he’d likely lose or drop out. If it happened after he’s re-elected, that could create a major constitutional crisis, making Bush v. Gore look like a walk in the park. At that point, the normal succession seems more likely, since Biden’s qualification seems unchallenged. Going back to the runner-up in 08 doesn’t seem reasonable.

    My guess is none of this will be tested. Birtherism’s only function is to plant seeds of doubt about Obama, a form of PR brass knuckles.

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 45,

    “Birtherism’s only function is to plant seeds of doubt about Obama, a form of PR brass knuckles.”

    If that’s its function, it isn’t very functional.

    As of July 2010, 71% of voters polled thought that Barack Obama was definitely or probably born in the United States. As of March, 2011, 72% thought those two things — the “probably” went down by three points from 29% to 26%, and the “definitely” went up by four points from 42% to 46%.

    As of July 2010, 16% thought that Obama was probably born in another country. As of March 2011, 15%.

    As of July 2010, 11% thought that Obama was definitely born in another country; as of March 2011, 10%.

    Republicans are twice as likely as independents, and more than five times as likely as independents, to think that Obama was probably born in another country. They’re more than half again as likely as independents, and more than twice as likely as Democrats, to believe that he was definitely born in another country.

    The bottom line of that data (the source is a CNN poll which you can find the PDF crosstabs of linked to from the front page of my blog under the title “Trump: Democrat Plant?”) is that birtherism may boost a candidate in the GOP primaries, but it will kill that same candidate deader than dirt in the general election, unless the “birthers” come up with some convincing evidence.

  38. whatever

    @42 & @43 — re: born an American citizen

    Y’all seem to be working from an early draft. On John Jay’s advice, Gen. Washington struck the provision requiring the President be “born a citizen” and replaced it with the requirement he be a “natural born citizen,” as a stronger check against foreign influence over the Executive.

    You can find a version of the current text of the U.S. Constitution at this site: http://www.constitution.org .

    Hope this helps.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    whatever@49,

    Nice try, but if you claim to really believe in the validity of a push poll by WorldNutDaily’s astrologer and phrenologist, I’d like to see you prove it by betting some money on his election picks.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    47 tk: …birtherism may boost a candidate in the GOP primaries, but it will kill that same candidate deader than dirt in the general election, unless the “birthers” come up with some convincing evidence.

    me: Likely. But this is a more nuanced exercise. The candidates likely to gain the nomination don’t engage in this sort of dirty-tricks-type campaign. It’s done by operatives and stalking horses. And the effects might not show up in a direct poll on the question. The point is to undermine trust in Obama. His polls have generally be trending downward on policy, yet personally he’s well liked still. Obama is cool.

    The idea is to chip away at his cool persona, to transform his “cool” to “strange” and “shadowy.” The Obama handlers counter that by having him make March Madness picks, jet off on vacations, be the good husband and father, to counter the attacks and burnish his rep.

    Were I a cynical R strategist, I’d be in favor of this sort of mucky stuff. As long as their candidate — say a Romney — stays above this fray, it’s almost all upside, low risk, even if it’s unlikely to pierce BHO’s armor.

    I suspect.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 51,

    The cynical R strategists are fleeing in terror from “birtherism,” and their terror is palpably genuine.

    They know that even if a Romney type tries to stay above it, a Trump (or possibly a Bachmann — she’s flirty with it) can turn 2012 into a referendum on whether the GOP as a party (a) is just mentally retarded or (b) has been subjected to exposure, en masse, to 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, possibly from Saddam’s stockpile that those imaginary trucks spirited off to Syria to embarrass George W. Bush.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    52 tk, could be. I don’t see any evidence of either of our views, although the proto-Roves might SAY that publicly, while cheering it privately. Birtherism is not a MAJOR issue, it’s a corrosive minor issue, a largely subliminal one, IMO. It’s an attempt to question the character of BHO in an indirect way.

    Yes, it could backfire, but things like closing the government over PP funding are more likely to backfire in terms of the GOP’s overall perception.

    Obama’s performance and likability will be issue #1 in 2012. The candidate that the Rs put up will be #2. I don’t see any who are as compelling as Obama, so going negative on BHO makes sense for the Rs, using proxies to do so. Someone “steady” (which looks “uptight” in an R) like Pawlenty or Daniels can only win with a fairly big BHO stumble. Neither will go anywhere near birtherism, would be my guess, and it won’t tar them, I suspect. I really doubt a significant number will vote either way based on birtherism. It’s background noise subliminally being transmitted from the R edges.

    Across the board referenda on parties is generally rare, although 08 was one.

    Trump is hardly representative of the GOP. Bachmann has already earned her bona fides as a wingnut, so going more birther only cements that.

    But we’ll see. I’m half expecting a wild ride for the next 2 years, an opening up of the potential for a wide range of black swan events.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    of interest:

    http://www.thepajamapundit.com/2011/02/karl-roves-birther-conspiracy-theory.html

    Rove himself seems to echo the Knapp take, but interestingly he conflates Ron Paul/aspects of the TP/Birthers/Troofers. Of course, it ties into my narrative that Ls are best positioned as moderates! Stay away from the fringe players, else be thrown in with nuts.

    Seems I’m in a severe minority in the fringe, as today the LP put out a release headlined: “Libertarians call for permanent government shutdown”

    Thankfully, I’m a fatalist of sorts!

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @53,

    You write:

    “I don’t see any evidence of either of our views”

    On that, you just have to trust me (or not). I know some “cynical GOP operatives” at both local and higher levels, we talk shop occasionally, and keeping their party off the “birther” Kool-Aid is one of their top priorities right now. It’s not yet quite as alarming to them as the Ron Paul state convention organizing, etc. got in 2008 (these are the kind of guys who try to keep all ducks in a row for the party establishment), but it’s definitely getting there.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    tk, trust is my middle name, dude! I’m sure some say that, like Rove does. They may even mean it. SOME may even believe it.

    Rove noted that in the 50s the JBS did hurt the GOP, because JBS presented as a kind of across-the-board wacko brigade, and that DID hurt the GOP.

    Dirty tricksters have a “talent” for speaking out of both sides of their mouth. OTOH, they may personally think stuff like birtherism, and global climate change denial even, hurts the GOP. OTO, whipping up the grassroots and character assassination is something I SUSPECT they secretly like.

    My take is Trutherism is different. It’s too over the line, for it directly undermines the GOP narrative, and the State, for that matter!

    Ron Paul also is different. He undermines the whole apple cart. He pulls together too many elements of the old JBS-leaning contingent, and says too many off-reservation things.

    Based on Rockwell’s newest blog, separate from LRC, it looks like Paul will run again, or Rand, even. http://www.lewrockwell.com/politicaltheatre/

    I’m kinda wondering whether the Paul/Ventura notion is a trial balloon.

    Could all be a fundraising ploy, of course. We’ll see…. Politics is an opportunistic business.

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