The coup that wasn’t

The big news of the last day is the military coup in Honduras that is now starting to look like not so much of a coup after all. It has now been confirmed that in deposing the president, the military acted under direction from the Honduran supreme court, with support from the Honduran Congress. (Via Moe Lane, via Instapundit.)

Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, instigated the crisis by proceeding with public referendum on constitutional amendment that had been ruled illegal by the supreme court. (The Honduran constitution does not provide for amendment by public referendum.) He had also flouted several other laws in his effort to carry out the referendum. Zeyala, an ally of Hugo Chavez, was seeking to lift presidential term limits so that he could remain in office.

I have no idea whether the Honduran constitution provides for the procedure that was used to remove Zelaya. In the abstract, however, it’s surely appropriate for two of the three branches of government to act to together to depose an executive that is flouting the law. It sounds to me as though the military backed the right side. In America, if a president were impeached and refused to leave office (not a perfect parallel, I realize), the military would support the Constitution, not the president.

It’s very unfortunate that President Obama and Secretary Clinton jumped in with both feet to condemn this action. I wonder if they simply didn’t get their facts straight before proclaiming their condemnation, or whether they really think that Zelaya is in the right. The contrast with the administration’s days of silence on Iran is particularly striking. These people really have no idea what they’re doing.

UPDATE: Fixed an important typo. Oops.

UPDATE: A good summary at the Wall Street Journal.

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