When I hear the despairing tone in friends’ voices — all hope lost! — I try to comfort them by pointing out that had we elected Kerry, Biden, Clinton (Hillary, in this case, but either), Gore, or Lieberman we’d be in pretty much the same boat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prove to be of much assistance.
So it might not be helpful to point to Daniel Ellsberg’s interview on CNN’s In The Arena blog. In the interview he tells how Abraham Lincoln explained to his former law partner William Herndon his opposition to President Polk’s deliberately provoked Mexican War. Ellsberg quotes from Lincoln’s letter:
The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.
Unhappily that Constitutional frame has collapsed completely, and we’re left with an American princeps; a republic in form only, in reality a principate backed by an all-consuming war machine.
…as has been pointed out repeatedly by Glenn Greenwald, and Bruce Ackerman, David Swanson and others, no president has so blatantly violated the constitutional division of war powers as President Obama in his ongoing attack on Libya, without a nod even to the statutory War Powers Act, that post-Pentagon Papers effort by Congress to recapture something of the role assigned exclusively to it by the Constitution.
This open disregard of a ruling statute (regardless of his supposed feelings about its constitutionality, which Obama has not even bothered to express) is clearly an impeachable offense, though it will certainly not lead to impeachment — given the current complicity of the leaders of both parties — any more than President George W. Bush’s misleading Congress into his crime against the peace, aggression, in Iraq, or President Johnson’s lies to obtain the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.