Saturday, May 21, 2011
King President Obama sent a letter to Congress Friday suggesting the U.S.’s role in Libya is now so “limited” that he does not need to congressional approval.
The letter was a way for Obama to satisfy members of congress who argue he needs to seek congressional authorization to continue U.S. military activity in accordance with the War Powers Resolution.
“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.”
From the start of the U.S. military intervention in Libya, the Obama administration has cited the 1973 War Powers Act as the legal basis of its ability to conduct military activities for 60 days without first seeking a declaration of war from Congress. The military intervention started on March 19; Congress was notified on March 21. Those 60 days expired Friday.
The issue involves Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part: The Congress shall have Power to provide for the common Defense.
Obama’s argument is a lot like a drunk who imbibes and then crashes his car into a building. The drunk tells the judge, “but your Honor, I was only a little drunk.”