Iraq, Libya, & “Gaffes”

A recent post by one of my co-bloggers contains this rather intriguing line:

I must mention once again Obama’s refusal to pursue Congressional resolution supporting the war in Iraq.

I say “intriguing,” because I’m not entirely sure what this means.  On its face, this statement seems to imply a “Congressional resolution supporting the war in Iraq” is necessary or desirable, and that “Obama’s refusal to pursue” such a resolution is ill-advised.  Yet I don’t see why this is the case.

As I understand it, America’s ongoing military activities in Iraq are authorized by § 3(a) of 2002 Iraq AUMF.[1]  Admittedly, Bruce Ackerman & Oona Hathaway argue otherwise;[2] but, for the reasons given by Robert Chesney, I don’t find such an argument persuasive.  So ISTM there’s no need to criticize “Obama’s refusal to pursue Congressional resolution supporting the war in Iraq”, because no such resolution is necessary.  I am left to wonder why my co-blogger seems to be implying otherwise.

Then again, maybe my co-blogger isn’t implying any such thing, and instead I’m guilty of overanalyzing the above statement.  (Wouldn’t be the first time; just ask my fiancée.)  Maybe my co-blogger wasn’t implicitly endorsing the Ackerman-Hathaway argument at all, and “Congressional resolution supporting the war in Iraq” was simply a “gaffe” which accidentally substituted “Iraq” for “Libya.”  This reading finds support in the bulk of my co-blogger’s post, which focuses on the Libyan War.  More specifically, there’s the immediate context whence the above statement is excerpted:

Last but not least I must mention once again Obama’s refusal to pursue Congressional resolution supporting the war in Iraq. Indeed, he had 3 months to do that – and yet, he demonstrated no desire in convincing the Congress to provide a legal justification for the war against Libya. Indeed, his claims that the war in Libya is not a war (they call it now “kinetic military action”) are not taken seriously by anyone. [Emphasis added]

The irony of this latter reading, of course, is that my co-blogger’s post also implies that someone who makes “gaffes” is “intellectually sloppy” and “cannot be smart and educated . . . .”  Now, I don’t think such phrases accurately describe my co-blogger.  First, the above Iraq/Libya mix-up was only a single “gaffe.”  Second and more importantly, as I’ve previously suggested, ISTM “gaffes” don’t necessarily correlate with low IQ, lack of education, or being “intellectually sloppy”.  Still, certain lines about glass houses & stones, and pots & kettles, do come to mind….

Y’all may now highlight/laugh uproariously at/broadcast to the world any gaffes, slip-ups, whoppers, etc., which may be present in the foregoing.

[1] This provision reads, in relevant part,

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to—

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-243, § 3(a), 116 Stat. 1498, 1501 (2002).

[2] Bruce Ackerman & Oona Hathaway, Limited War and the Constitution: Iraq and the Crisis of Presidential Legality, 109 Mich. L. Rev. 447, 457-472 (2011).


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