Obama Attacks Libya, and Where's Congress?
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; …..To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water. — Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.
On the eighth anniversary of the day President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Iraq in 2003, with the full support of the U.S. Congress and majority support from the U.N. Security Council, Barack Obama launched a Tomahawk missile assault on the sovereign nation of Libya with no majority support in the U.N. and without even consulting Congress.
Acting alone while Congress was away on recess, solely at the command of the United Nations and without constitutional authority, Barack Obama dropped over $70 million worth of Tomahawk missiles on Libya — a dictatorial maneuver to force a regime change in a foreign land.
Under what authority did Obama green-light this dictatorial assault? To be certain, Gaddafi is no prize, but what Obama just did is nevertheless unacceptable. Acting all alone in a truly imperialistic fashion, Obama violated his oath of office, Articles I and II of the U.S. Constitution, and the War Powers Act -- all in one mindless, knee-jerk decision.
Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution identifies the U.S. president as the commander-in-chief and the civilian oversight of the U.S. military. But the clause gives the U.S. president no authority to use military might to enforce his political will upon foreign nations.
Article I, Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution bestows the power to declare war solely on the U.S. Congress. It requires both the commander-in-chief and Congress to commit U.S. troops to combat, without which any deployment of troops is wholly unconstitutional.
The 1973 War Powers Act was put in place to prevent a U.S. president from doing exactly what Barack Obama just did.
SEC. 2. (a) It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.
A U.S. commander-in-chief can order use of military force under only three specific conditions:
- A declaration of war,
- Specific statutory authorization, or
- A national emergency created by an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
The U.S. Congress has not declared war against a foreign nation since WWII. But when George W. Bush sent troops into Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil, not only did he consult Congress in advance, but he sought and received specific statutory authorization from Congress before ordering troops into combat. Bush complied with the Constitution and the War Powers Act under conditions (2) and (3). He also had a broad coalition of U.N. partners driven by years of U.N. resolutions defied by Iraq.
In the case of Obama and Libya, none of the three necessary conditions exist.
- Congress did not declare war.
- Congress was not consulted and did not give specific statutory authorization.
- The U.S. was not attacked in any way by Libya, which presented no threat to the U.S. or U.S. assets.
- As a result, Barack Obama had no constitutional authority to attack Libya with over $70 million worth of U.S. taxpayer-provided Tomahawks, placing American soldiers in harm's way in yet another war which cannot be justified even by the pursuit of oil.
Obama has acted alone, well beyond the scope and authority of his office and at odds with the national interests of the United States and the Constitution which he took an oath to uphold and defend.
The Washington Times has it right. Even crook Democrat Charlie Rangel has it right, saying he was angry that Congress was not consulted before the military strikes.
The Times states: “With Thursday’s passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, the United States is set to go to war against Libya. Removing Moammar Gadhafi from power would probably advance the cause of freedom, but the United Nations has no legal authority to take a step of this magnitude. By bowing to the will of the U.N. Security Council, President Obama is diluting the sovereign power of the United States.”
The U.N. resolution authorizes member states to take a number of military and nonmilitary actions to protect the people of Libya from Col. Gadhafi's government. Under its own rules, however, the United Nations cannot legally authorize military action to shape the internal affairs of member states. Article 2 section 7 of the U.N. charter states that, “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.” Chapter VII of the charter, which enumerates U.N. intervention powers, applies only to international breaches of the peace. The December 1981 U.N. “Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States” reaffirmed this principle with its solemn declaration that, “No State or group of States has the right to intervene or interfere in any form or for any reason whatsoever in the internal and external affairs of other States.”
“Five Security Council member states sat out the vote, including permanent members Russia and China, in addition to Germany, India and Brazil. China in particular objected to any action that would compromise Libya’s sovereignty, but did not veto the resolution. This may have been a political move, since the abstaining countries are now in a position to raise principled objections to whatever happens once force is utilized. To claim the United States forged an international consensus seems premature when Resolution 1973 did not have the support of countries representing 42 percent of the world’s population.”
Rangel said before a group of protestors gathered in front of the White House: “Our presidents seem to believe that all we have to do is go to the U.N. and we go to war," Rangel said as a large television screen behind him at the recruiting station showed an advertisement for the Air Force with crews loading missiles onto fighter jets. "Going to war is not a decision that presidents should make," he added.
“True to its internationalist instincts, the Obama administration would never contemplate an action that lacked U.N. approval, yet United Nations permission alone is inadequate”. Sen. Richard Lugar, Indiana Republican, believes that the Congress should debate a declaration of war over intervening in Libya. But the White House has not sought even the type of congressional authorization for the use of force that President George W. Bush did before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It would be ironic to say the least if Mr. Obama waged war with less legal backing than his predecessor. I guess Obama has been too busy in Brazil learning to samba with Michelle to bother with a little detail like Congress.
Even the crazy left-wing loon Dennis Kucinich is asking why the missile strikes are not an impeachable offense. As we go to press, he stands alone.
Although the U.N. apparently has command over Barack Obama, this organization has no command authority over U.S. Armed Forces. Obama used U.S. soldiers illegally and unconstitutionally.
Antiwar liberal and libertarian politicians like Ron Paul have attacked President Bush for years on Iraq and Afghanistan, even though Bush openly sought and received congressional authority for both military actions.
Here we have a clear-cut violation and abuse of presidential powers, and where are all the Code Pink, MoveOn.org, Ron Paul antiwar types? I have heard nary a peep from them. I guess if Obama does goes to war against someone we don’t like it’s okay. Or is it that we now take our marching orders from the UN.
Who in the U.S. Congress — specifically in the Republican-controlled House — is going to launch a full-scale investigation into Obama's dictatorial use of military might and begin impeachment proceedings? Who in the U.S. Congress is going to put a stop to the growing insanity?
We have a runaway government acting against the interests of the United States and beyond its legal authority. Does anyone have the backbone to stop it and hold Obama accountable? Will there be an international war crimes trial for Barack Obama?