Monday, August 22, 2011

Ends and Means

Some years ago Republicans tried to say that capturing and hanging Saddam Hussein was an event which justified and validated the decision to invade Iraq but Democrats were, for the most part, not buying that argument. Howard Dean, in particular, was saying that regardless of outcome we had still invaded another nation which had posed no actual threat to us and that doing so was a violation of international law.

Now has a headline reading, “The demise of Gadhafi - and a GOP talking point.” I didn’t read the article because I can tell from the headline that it’s a Democratic version of the previous Republican argument, “Gadhafi is out, so Obama’s violation of the War Powers Act is no longer a violation of the War Powers Act.”

Obama involved this nation in the war in Libya without the approval of Congress, which exceeded his authority under the constitution. He continued that involvement even after Congress specifically failed to pass a bill authorizing that involvement, and after Congress declined to provide funding for that involvement, and then tried to get around that by claiming that what we were doing with our warplanes and bombs was not war. The continuation was illegal and his attempts to avoid admitting it were lies.

He specifically said that the purpose of the war was exclusively to protect life, and then authorized active warfare against Gadhafi and active participation in assistance of the rebel cause, which constituted further lying and a violation of the UN mandate.

The fact that Gadhafi seems to have fallen alters none of that, and to claim that it does is rank hypocrisy. The end does not justify the means.

I am an Obama supporter, but I am constantly amazed at the degree to which many of us are willing to believe that things which were wrong when Bush did them are perfectly okay when Obama does them. They are not only just as wrong, they are worse, because they “normalize” those acts. Once something has become the practice of the executive of both parties of this nation, they become “de facto” the official practice of the nation itself.

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