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Libyan War: Its the Constitution stupid!

On a crisp morning of March 19 , 2011 half a world away, US ships fired a batch of 200 Tomahawk missiles on Libya thus engaging the nation in the 3 rd war since President Obama took office. The act was so shocking to the nation and the rest of the world that it started a mini revolt within the members of Presidents own party and the  members of Congress. But a confident President Obama brushed aside all reactions, appearing strong, swift and decisive determined to out do,and out preform, his predecessor  George Bush at every military move in the past 8 years. The reason given by the White House was  ” A humanitarian intervention to protect the civilians of Libya”.  However as we can see it now it was much more than “Humanitarian Intervention ” in the last 90 days. Constant bombing of Gaddafi’s compound and perpetual targeting it rather appears to be to wrestle control of Libyan oilfields from a dictator and hand them over to the former Masters of North Africa namely the French, Italians and the British. Without proper US support, and logistical muscle, they didn’t have much of a chance to getting to that goal and supporting a rag tag army of rebels.

In quite a contrast to his predecessors George Bush who enjoyed a comfortable relationship with the Republican Congress President had nothing solid to bake his wars credentials with. Members of his own party revolted against him in a outcry that was enjoined by Republican opposition. If  Bipartisanship was President Obama’s goal for the last 2 year he surely achieved it in a rather ironic way. Both the Democrats and Republicans came together asking the President for explanations on the Libyan war and demanded his reasons for taking the nation to war. Dennis Kucinich (D) and Ron Paul (R) who seldom agree on anything were side by side on this issue. The lawmakers were enjoined by Democrats Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and John Conyers of Michigan; and by Republicans Walter Jones and Howard Coble of North Carolina, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Tim Johnson of Illinois, and Dan Burton of Indiana.

Constitution clearly states  in Article I, Section 8  in plain English: “The Congress shall have Power To … Declare War.” It doesn’t really get much simpler than that or it can?  But the Obama administration has run around the simple statement from the Constitution and asserted back to the Congress in a 32 page report last week that Libyan war is technically is not a war, or conflict, as no ground troops are engaged and does not comes under the Constitutional guidelines and the separation of power and War Powers act of 1973. In a brazen or simply stupid political stunt they have completely rejected the premises that there is a war going on in Libya despite the fact its costing $10 million dollars per day to keep bombing Gaddafi’s forces and targeting another head of state. As the war is fought under the banner of NATO there has  been 11,000 air sorties since the mission began in March and not to mention complete logistical support, refueling, and other provisions in the war arena.

Its should be reminded if President Obama was trying to out-gun George Bush or his father George Bush Sr, they both took pains and got clearances or nods from the Congress before they embarked on the mission. Bush Jr. had the blessings of the Congressional leaders who nodded him to stage an attack on Iraq in 2003. He never ran into any conflict there with his own party either. If it was necessary Congress would have given him the authorizations at any point. George Bush Sr, did however, got an approval from Congress before he went to war in Iraq in 1991. In both instances Presidents have been careful in stepping over Congressional powers of wars. But did President Obama exercised such caution? Probably not, and did not even receive or has overlooked advise from his own Justice Department lawyers. In a haste to appear strong, bold, and decisive,  he just made the worst blunder of his career so far. This will haunt him for the rest of his time in White House no matter what happens.

On June 15, 2011, Dennis Kucinich (D) and Walter Jone (R) and 8 other lawmakers filed a  Lawsuit against President Obama seeking an end to the Libyan war in the form of a injunction.They simply stated that President in Libya acted against the Constitution, and given the power vested in Congress he should be stopped.Were these moves politically guided? Of course. The public opinion has shifted from expensive wars and is in the favors of the Congress and not the President. The President is simply locked out from both fronts, his supporters and his own party. He is out there on his own as much as it appears.

In our opinion the high bar set under Constitution for taking the country to War has been lowered by President Obama, with this circumvention of Congress as is the case in Libya, and no President should and can act with complete immunity before committing members of nation’s armed forces in war, without the authority of the Congress.

JUNE 27, 2011. Since this article was posted Congress was unable to pass 2 resolutions on war in Libya. It failed to authorize the Libyan war a measure to rebuke the President which was backed both by Democrats and Republicans. It also failed to cut off funding for the war, which was in fact a failure of  the resolution

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan June 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Whats more amazing that the Liberal Peanut Gallery now has it Frontman engaging in an Illegal War in Libya with all the Cheerleaders raving from the bleachers, the same people would have crucified anyone else at the slight mention of War and brought down the roof.

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Portia Kratzke June 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

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Melonie June 27, 2011 at 4:21 am

Whats more amazing that the Liberal Peanut Gallery now has it Frontman engaging in an Illegal War in Libya with all the Cheerleaders raving from the bleachers, the same people would have crucified anyone else at the slight mention of War and brought down the roof.
+1

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