It’s ‘Kinetic,’ So Don’t Get Frenetic
Throw away your dictionary – we’re not at war in Libya
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
Explaining the Obama administration’s rationale for violating the War Powers Act by not asking Congress for authorization to attack Libya, the White House claims that what’s going on in Libya isn’t war, it’s a “kinetic military action.” This set off such a round of guffaws – even from Libya war supporters in the Democratic congressional caucus – that the administration felt compelled to send a government lawyer to Congress to elaborate on this exercise in Doublespeak. Harold Koh, the State Department’s lawyer-in-chief, explained to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that since there was no back-and-forth firing between American and Libyan forces, the Libyan intervention isn’t a real war – and therefore the President is not in violation of the War Powers Act. (No word yet on whether he’s in violation of the Constitution, which gives Congress, and not the President, the power to make war.)
This, by the way, is the same Harold Hongju Koh who once authored a legal brief [.pdf] challenging George Herbert Walker Bush’s authority to fight the first Iraq war, on the grounds that “the Constitution requires the president to consult with Congress and receive its affirmative authorization – not merely present it with faits accomplis – before engaging in war.”
Oh, but this isn’t a war – didn’t you hear me the first time? As Koh explained to the befuddled solons in his opening statement: the word “hostilities,” which “triggers” the 60-day time line imposed by the War Powers Act, is “an ambiguous term of art.” Translation: it can mean anything anyone wants it to mean – especially if that anyone is a sitting Democratic president. After all, Koh argued, the word wasn’t defined in the legislation, and there is no legislative precedent that would define it for us. Oh, and put down that dictionary – we don’t use them in ObamaWorld, which is in the same galaxy as Bizarro World. Instead, we must stick to “historical practice.”
It is precisely “historical practice” that argues against Koh’s Orwellian linguistics, because never in the history of the world has anyone ever argued that bombing and killing citizens of a foreign country isn’t war plain and simple – not even the Soviets, who were masters of Doublespeak. That didn’t deter our State Department’s legal eagle from defending the indefensible: after all, this administration is all about “change” – and yet they didn’t tell us they were changing the language and the clear meaning of words.
According to Koh, there are four factors that qualify the Libyan adventure as a “kinetic action” rather than a war, the first being that the action has “international support,” and – due to its multilateral character – transcends the need for congressional approval. That is the view taken by his boss, Hillary Clinton, who stated that the only authorization needed came from the United Nations. Koh echoed Hillary again when he said that even if the Senators disagreed with the administration’s position on the issue of authorization, they should support the Libyan war “kinetic action,” because congressional opposition only “serves Gadhafi’s’s interests.” A less dramatic way of saying, as Hillary did, “Whose side are you on?”, but just as offensive...MORE...LINK