Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Obama's Response To Congress On Libya: "War? What War?"

President Obama has his legal advisers give an answer to Speaker Boehner's letter on Libya and the growing questions in Congress on Obama's Excellent Libyan Adventure.

His argument? Well, the War Powers Act doesn't apply because what we're involved in doesn't constitute “hostilities.” And oh yeah, it's a NATO operation anyway, so somehow that doesn't count.

Let's resolve this by looking at what the War Powers Act, also known as 50 USC 1543 actually says:

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;
the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—

(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

50 USC 1544(b) also requires:

Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress

(1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces,

(2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or

(3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.

In other words, if there's even one unmanned drone firing missiles at Libya,President Obama has egregiously violated the law.

The courts may not hit him on it. It's notoriously difficult to sue a sitting president, the courts are very leery of getting into shoving matches between the executive and legislative branches when it comes to military action, and there's the question of who's bringing a legal challenge and whether they have standing, which is why the suit filed by ten members of Congress is likely DOA.

But Congress can and should slam the purse strings tight on this nonsense, which is estimated to have cost us over a billion dollars within a month or so. They can and should pass a resolution demanding that our forces completely disengage, and if necessary they should begin drawing up articles of impeachment.

As I've said before, the Democrats in the Senate wouldn't vote to impeach a sitting Democrat president if BarackObama borrowed a gun from one of the Secret Service guys, took a stroll into downtown Dc and held up a convenience store. But the House should still do its duty and draw up the indictment if the president refuses to back down from this gross violation of US law.

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1 comment:

louielouie said...

setting aside ff excellent assessment.
uh huh, yeah, you say something?
you feel that teachable moment coming on?
feel it?
now for something truly important to our nation.
the u.s. open golf tournament is being held a couple miles south of deecee this weekend. i bet hussein is just all bent out of shape that they didn't let him kick things off by playing through the first hole or some such as that. my bet is by the end of the weekend espn/abc go groveling to the w/h for some sort of appearance/interview/comment.