Today’s “If Bush Did This . . . ” award goes to Obama’s decision to ignore the War Powers Resolution as it applies to Libya.
Can you imagine . . . .CAN YOU IMAGINE the loudness of the wrath of the Washington establishment that would be visited on George W. Bush if he nonchalantly ignored the law of the land, particularly the Democrats’ sacred War Powers Resolution.
Under the law, which is meant to give at least the illusion of Constitutionality to the now routine failure of presidents to get a declaration of war, Obama was supposed to get a Congressional vote of approval for the attack on Libya by Friday. Instead, he sent a letter to Congress suggesting our involvement was so limited in scope he need not bother, though it might be nice if Congress weighed in.
It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation, and support.
Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort. Such a Resolution is also important in the context of our constitutional framework, as it would demonstrate a unity of purpose among the political branches on this important national security matter . . .
Since April 4 U.S. participation has consisted of: (1) non-kinetic support to the NATO-led operation, including intelligence, logistical support, and search and rescue assistance; (2) aircraft that have assisted in the suppression and destruction of air defenses in support of the no-fly zone; and (3) since April 23, precision strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against a limited set of clearly defined targets in support of the NATO-led coalition’s efforts.
Well, destruction of air defenses means bombing them to pieces and killing people. And “support of NATO-led coalition’s effort” is a facile non sequitur, because WE ARE IN CHARGE OF NATO.
Our participation in the Libya war sure won’t seem limited if Qaddafi stays in power long enough to retaliate against the U.S. homeland.
But even Obama’s characterization of U.S. actions as “nothin’ much” fails to get past the War Powers Resolution’s reach, particularly the second circumstance requiring Congressional approval.
In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—
(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or
(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation;
In a superb piece this morning, David Paul Kuhn of RealClearPolitics digs up some old quotes that are particularly damning.
In late September 1983, one month before the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, the Reagan administration continued to insist that the War Powers Act did not apply to the U.S. military presence in Lebanon.
”The administration wants our stamp of approval,” said a young Sen. Joseph Biden, ”but it is unwilling to commit itself to our laws.”
About a quarter-century later, Sen. Barack Obama told The Boston Globe, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Kuhn notes that all of Washington is in on the scam:
The roar of the Talking Heads is nowhere to be heard. Democrats are backing their political leader. And Republicans are eager not to go on record about whether they support the Libya operation or not. Support it, of course, and you can’t really bash Obama if things go wrong.
And, I would add, where is the mainstream media? Where are the articles with the obvious angle: Constitutional Lawyer President Ignores Constitution?
So everyone within the Beltway colludes in the law breaking.
But make a mistake on your taxes, and they’ll be right out to see you.