Libya Update – When Lawyers Disagree

“The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase” – Yogi Berra

We noted a couple of days back that the Obama administration was flouting the War Powers Resolution by debating the meaning of the word “hostilities”. Now Charlie Savage over at the New York Times is reporting that the top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department disagreed with his assessment of the war powers act and the meaning of “hostilities”. He notes: “Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to ‘hostilities.'”

That’s rough. Two top lawyers in the administration respond with “Umm, Mr. President, yes, these are what’s called, in the common tongue, ‘hostilities’.” The president casts them aside and redefines the word to mean “hostilities other than these, which are clearly not hostilities.”


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