Friday, June 17, 2011

The Obama/Pelosi Doctrine

Now that the deadline is approaching for seeking Congressional approval of the "kinetic military action" in Libya under the War Powers Act, (we don't know when the deadline is for Yemen, because that one began in secret), President Obama has announced the law does not apply to him because it's not really a war. Ex-Speaker Pelosi agrees completely.

This begs the question of what they would consider a war- after all, we are making deep strikes into sovereign nations, killing foreign soldiers, (and often civilians by mistake), degrading (that means blowing up) their defense infrastructure, and demanding their governments step down. Most dictionaries would call these things acts of war, but Obama and Pelosi assure us they are not. Why?

The answer is clear from their various statements, a new definition we can call the Obama/Pelosi Doctrine: it's only a war if Americans are dying. Since our attacks are conducted by unmanned drones or extremely high altitude bombing, there's little or no chance any Americans will be killed; so no matter how many die as a result of our actions, it's not a war, and therefore the President needs no Congressional approval. The War Powers Act applies only to even exchanges, not to one-sided massacres.

And why are we doing this? Not in retaliation for attacks upon the United States, nor any of our allies; there have been none. Nor is it to preempt an attack upon ourselves, or any ally; none were planned. Not by any treaty obligation. We attacked a sovereign nation to protect its citizens from their own government Doesn't that sound like... the world's policeman? We are demanding their governments step down, because we believe a government that looks more like ours would be better, and we're willing to go to war- excuse me, to kinetic military action- to ensure it happens. Gee... aren't those Neocon doctrines?

Now, I don't expect war protesters to start showing up at Obama speeches, or Code Pink to start trying to make citizen's arrests of administration officials for war crimes; those are purely partisan organizations. But here's a chance for UUs and the UUA to step up and prove that their eighth principle is not "The Democrat Party, may she always be right- but the party, right or wrong!" Here's a chance to say that the law and the Constitution apply to politicians we like as well as those we don't. Here's a chance to say that American exceptionalism doesn't mean that only American lives matter. I imagine I'll see a firestorm of blogposts and AIWs and SOCs about this.
Any minute now.

UPDATE: The video has been taken offline; I can't imagine why. here's a story about it instead.


Bill Baar said...

See my post Joel. I link to yours. This whole situation reminds me very much of Rev Stephen Hole Fritchman's reaction to WW2. The new book on him recalls how he flipped from anti-War to pro-War within a week after Hitler broke the Stalin-Hitler pact and invaded the Soviet Union. Having UU's go so silent on big issues no way to grow a church. It makes us look like hacks. The AIW badly needed and mostly for our own souls.

R W Rawles said...

I like Bill Baar's comments. My UU Congregation acts like same sex marriage is the big issue. It's not. The Warfare state and the undeclared class war are the big issues.