It is well known that, when faced with a legal prohibition the first instinct of lawyers is often to seek a loophole around it. For example, the strictures of Obamacare inadvertently gave birth to classes of evaders known as the “29ers” and their close cousins, the “49ers”.
The Wall Street Journal last week had an editorial about the strategic reactions of businesses to Obamacare. One strategy is the “49er” strategy, keeping the number of full time employees under 50 to avoid penalties. The other is the “29er” strategy, reducing a worker’s hours below 30, the threshold for full-time employment. … The employer mandate basically says (1) if an organization has 50 or more full time or full time equivalent employees, (2) then it must offer government approved insurance to its full time employees.
To be full time, a worker must average 30 or more hours per week.
The 29ers and 49ers become ‘invisible’ to the law and therefore escape its clutch. This works in international affairs also. Readers may also have noticed the extraordinary lengths to which the president has gone in order to avoid calling his planned actions in Syria/Iraq ‘war’. The Wall Street Journal describes his remarkable zig-zags:
The President tries to avoid the ‘W’ word as he heads back to Iraq. … So counterterrorism isn’t war, even if it already involves more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel inside Iraq.
So long as he can avoid the word “war”, his actions will be invisible to Congress and still better, invisible to the more gullible members of the public. No war, no criticism. The same “loophole” mentality that serves employers with 29ers will serve him. Since War is so legally complicated, any lawyer must be thinking, why not just fight without calling it that?
It’s such a good idea that even Russia is doing it. NATO Chief Warns Moscow: No More Stealth Invasions. Eli Lake reports:
On Monday, NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove had a not-so-subtle message for Russia: it will consider stealth and unofficial invasions to be a trigger for war.
Europe knows these stealth invasions all too well. Russia first sent teams of special operations forces wearing uniforms without insignia in February into Crimea and then later into eastern Ukraine to work with Russian minorities inside the country to begin an insurrection. Ukraine’s military has been fighting these “little green men” ever since. But until recently, Russia has not even acknowledged sending anyone into the country.