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30 August 2013

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David Habakkuk

JerseyJeffersonian,

‘I fear that this, along with all of the expressions of opposition to this intolerable power grab by the increasingly consolidated Unitary Executive will not be efficacious.’

Probably you will turn out to be right. However, I never expected that Cameron would be voted down on a critical issue of war and peace, with Tory rebels defying a three-line whip. The last time anything like this happened was when the Commons balked at continuing the war in 1782, after the defeat at Yorktown.

And General Dempsey is, I think, a man who would take both the arguments and the authors of this letter extremely seriously.

Moreover, as you suggest, even if it fails, it puts down a marker for the future -- and may influence others to take oaths, and the Constitution, more seriously. All honour to those who have written and signed it.

William R. Cumming

If my understanding is correct no member of the Armed Forces above the rank of Major has ever formally challenged any order as being illegal. Would be interested to know if this information correct.

John Quinn

Thanks to all the authors of this letter.
The real "red line" threat to our nation is a president who casually thwarts the Rule of Law by ignoring our Constitution.

turcopolier

WRC

The only instance that I am aware of was the refusal of Major Stevens of the 2nd New York Cavalry to burn Newtown, Virginia when ordered to do so by Sheridan. The town is now called Stevens City. pl

graecastle

Col,
Thank you for your voice, perspective and courage. We have descended so far so fast (particularly since 9/11) that it's much closer to the bottom than it is to the top. Hopefully, you and your colleagues have "tapped" the brakes sufficiently on this particular roller coaster to hell. i doubt it though... Would that "they" would listen.

Michael Singer

My Israeli sources say the IDF does not have the ability to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in place.Is that so? I don't know if the U.S. does. I can see a scenario in which Assad falls and the possibility then exists for Hezbullah or Al Nusra to try and gain control of those weapons. What then? I am not making an argument for a strike. I am asking a question.

Michael Singer

oofada

Bravo Zulu to you, Colonel.

Short memories for many- don't they recall the last time we took sides in this corner of the world. Lebananon? Marine Barracks? Reagan? McFarland?

We don't have to "do anything" here. This is not an ambush of an infantry unit, where action, doing 'something', even if not the school solution, is the key.

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL! The erection of a standard of illegal orders being properly disobeyed was created during the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. Obeying orders that were illegal was ruled NO DEFENSE in those trials.

I happen to live in a house once owned by an Administrative Officer of the USA who was detailed from the STATE DEPARTMENT, wore the uniform of a full colonel, and hired many of the US and German support staff at those trials. She died in 1983 and I wish I could have met her. Her name was Laura Pratt.

Lord Curzon

Well done Sir! Allow me to join with those above in saluting you.

Fred

I received an email issues 'update' from my senator on the 29th. Not a single mention of Syria in it. Apparently Senator Levin and his staff are too busy with more pressing business to address this issue. I had thought better of the Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Senator Stabenow is even worse. Apparently she thinks an airport in Lansing is more important than the war our president is going to start.

T for Texas

Thank you for the stand taken by you and the other signatories to this letter. While valuable to the future as a marker put down, let's hope it first does some good in the present!

turcopolier

WRC

The basis for our appeal to Dempsey was not the Nuremberg precedent with which we were all familiar. Our appeal was to his duty to uphold the constitutional requirement for congressional control of the war initiation process as embodied in the War Powers Act. pl

Bobo

I highly respect VIPS and your right to take this stand but believe there is considerable precedent for a President to take action without the consent of Congress and the issue is one for the courts to decide. Today that issue is not before the courts and until it is a President should be able to act as he sees fit. In this respect the good man General Dempsey should act as he sees ft within the restraints of his position and not be pressured into decisions that may not be in the best interests of this country.

Attempting to be the Policeman of the world has never endeared us to the people of the world and whether we act or not we will be detested by the MENA while the Chinaman buys their raw materials and the Russians stick the needle further into our side.


Nightsticker

Colonel Lang,

Bravo Zulu

Nightsticker
USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

stanley henning

It is somewhat alarming that the desire to attack elements of the Assad regime appears to be based even partially on so-called classified sources that cannot be revealed. This is very suspicious. It is sad but a fact that we are not likely to favorably come out of this no matter what we WANT to think.

turcopolier

Bobo

MD did not look happy as he walked into the West Wing this AM.

I have suggested to VIPS that they push for a court challenge of the R2P interpretation of the WPA. Evidently only members of congress would have standing. pl

NancyK

I hope that President Obama does go before Congress, it will be interesting to see who agrees with his analysis of the situation. There are differing views on both sides of the aisle. It seems the Republicans that agree with Obama about attacking Syria disagree with his limited attack plan. They seems to want a repeat of Iraq and Afghanistan because we have seen how successful that was. I have called and written the Whitehouse and my senator regarding my feelings. If we were going to attack every dictator or leader that did awful things to his citizens we would be attacking some of the major world powers.

David Habakkuk

Bobo,

Maybe I am missing something. But if precedents are in flagrant conflict with what the legislation clearly states, can they make a course of action legal?

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Are there members of Congress who would be prepared to make such a challenge?

FB Ali

Col Lang,

Having been away from the internet for a while, I have only now seen this post.

I also applaud your principled and courageous stand (and that of your co-signers) on this important issue, not only for your country but for the world generally. It is vital for all of us that US power is constrained within the bounds set by the US constitution and international law.

Fred

Start the killing and then the courts decide if it were legal? I'm sure the dead and their families will be overjoyed with this adherence to the law.

Fred

What is Speaker of the House Boehner's position? (This is the last I read, from three days ago:
"...it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation. "- See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-seeks-answers-president-obama-syria#sthash.3il8n1A9.dpuf

If President Obama does launch his attack without Congressional authorization then I suggest the first order of business - and the only business - of the House would be a vote on Articles of Impeachment. Let the Representatives prove their adherence to their oaths to the Constitution of the United States.

stanley henning

Finally, in Syria we have a gaggle of "external" terrorists on one side and an incompetent dictator on the other side - if we are not going to run the terrorists out, depose Assad. and run the country, then we had better stay out of this one.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

It seems Gen Dempsey has indeed forced Obama to go to Congress. Your appeal, I am sure, played its part in this salutary development.

Congratulations!

bob randolph

Obama has just spoken to the American people and has told us that he will put the issue of an attack on Syria to the Congress for decision. It will be interesting to learn who or what was responsible for this volte-face--resignations at the highest level?

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