Two outrages — one overseas and one right here in Washington — to deal with today, with our president on the wrong side of the issue in both cases.
First up, I think any friend of our embattled ally Israel has to be outraged by how President Obama and his top aides are treating the clashes now underway with Hamas in Gaza. From their very first responses to the crisis, you would almost think the administration was supporting the terrorists of Hamas over Israel. Tactically, the U.S. response has been bad enough, but strategically it exposes an even bigger disaster — we have a president who doesn’t understand the battle we are in, who has never gotten the fact that this is a global war on terrorism that has to be fought the way a war is fought.
Right out of the box, the president’s first response was to call to a halt to the fighting, a cease-fire that would prevent Israel from responding to the Hamas’ attacks and from dealing with the threat once and for all. Then the president dispatches Secretary of State John F. Kerry to Israel to essentially chew out the Israelis for trying to defend their people and their homeland, while delivering a $47 million check to the Palestinians.
There should be U.S. pressure, but it should be directed squarely at Hamas and those in the international community that continue to support the terrorists. Obviously, everyone is concerned about the reports of the deaths of women and children in Gaza, but the quickest and most effective way to halt the killing is to complete the military operation to stop Hamas from using its own people as human shields as it continues to lob missiles into Israel.
It’s not just the president, either. Hillary Rodham Clinton also urged restraint on Israel citing the unsurprising fact that Gaza is overpopulated and Hamas has no choice but to launch its operations in the midst of civilians. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, also called for a cease-fire, recalling how the Qataris — a major bankroller of Hamas — had told her Hamas was a “humanitarian organization.”
The unified message that should be coming from Washington is that we support unconditionally Israel’s determination to finish the job. History is full of examples where Israel was pressured to stop short of fully confronting her enemies — even Ronald Reagan unwisely restrained Israel when it had the terrorist of Hezbollah in Lebanon on the ropes in the 1980s — and seeing those enemies regroup, re-arm and eventually resume their campaign to wipe Israel off the map. My hope is that the Congress will speak up where the administration won’t with a resolution backing Israel to the hilt, offering whatever backing Israel needs, and calling on the “international community” to immediately stop any backing for Hamas. Calling off the fight now simply plays into the terrorists’ plans.
Meanwhile, back here in Washington, I have to admit I’m reconsidering the House Republicans’ drive to bring a lawsuit against the president for ignoring, revising and failing to execute faithfully the laws passed by Congress. I’ve always thought the argument (in this lawsuit, specifically on Obamacare) was strong on the merits, but was wary of asking the courts to essentially referee a fight between the other two branches of government. The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse and the power to impeach if it wants to rein in a rogue president.
But a new analysis by Boston University professor Angelo Codevilla makes a strong case that the heart of the lawsuit isn’t a debate over the separation of powers or constitutional checks and balances, but a more basic one of the rule of law. The courts do have a role in enforcing what laws plainly say, and the administration and the bureaucracy can’t be allowed to get away with making a mockery of the process.
Writes Mr. Codevilla at LibertyLawSite. org: “America has moved away from the rule of law in recent decades, as more and more of the decisions by which we must live are made by administrative agencies in consultation with their favorite constituencies and judges rather than by the people’s elected representatives.”
Congress cannot just blithely give away any more authority to the administration to “interpret” and twist the plain meaning of the laws it passes to get its favored policy goals.
That, to my mind, is why there is such cynicism among voters about everything in Washington these days. When laws are routinely flouted and the Constitution repeatedly violated, the American people’s larger faith in our system as a whole suffers.
Mr. Codevilla reminds us that “the words of the law are the ordinary person’s assurance of freedom.
“The moment people begin to think the system is rigged, the next thought follows: ‘To hell with the system. They’re looking out for themselves. I’ve got to look out for myself.’ That is how nations dissolve.”
It’s about the rule of law, not the rule of men.