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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Libya and Rep Niki Tsongas

Tuesday I updated the situation with regard to our Two Senators and our Rep in the House of Representatives regarding the issue of the War Powers Resolution.  For those of you just joining our program, this is about the fact that President Barack Obama took us to war with Libya (after a quick consultation with the Congressional Leadership) and then within 48 hours sent along the notice required by the War Powers Resolution. A vote by the US Congress is required within 60 days confirming the President in his action or he has to withdraw all US forces within a further 30 days (90 days total).  We reported on Senator Scott Brown's position here.

Then there is the question of if the President followed the War Powers Resolution, which we blogged about here, because there was no attack:
... national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
The UN saying OK is not the same thing.

Well, today I finally stopped by Representative Tsongas' Lowell office, to see if they had tracked down a position on the War Powers Resolution.  They had not, but a very nice young man named Justin did give me a copy of the Representative's original statement and promised to get back to me re the War Powers Resolution, to include if it is considered "Constitutional" by Ms Tsongas.  Here is her statement, which we cited before
I am concerned that our military action in Libya lacks a clear objective.  It is critically important that our commitment there not extend beyond the scope of U.N. Resolution 1973, and under no circumstances should American ground troops be inserted into that country.
This may look like your normal political weasel wording, but I actually think when it is unpacked, it says quite a bit.

First off she notes the lack of a clear objective.  Good point.  What are we trying to do?  Is it just a no fly zone or are we committed to the removal of Colonel Gaddafi?  Those are two very different things and two very different levels of commitment.  And, given the way things are proceeding, it doesn't sound like "The troops will be home for the Fourth of July".

Given the headlines this evening out of Reuters, about "President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a secret order authorizing covert assistance to rebels seeking to oust the Moammar Qadhafi regime in Libya, American media reports said", we have to say the Congresswoman sounded pretty prescient a week ago.

Then we have this line:  "not extend beyond the scope of U.N. Resolution 1973, and under no circumstances should American ground troops be inserted into that country".  I think she is being very clear here.  No ground troops.  Maybe she is willing to wink at putting Special Operations Force folks (or CIA folks or Air Force Combat Control Teams) in to help point out targets for air-to-ground operations, but that would be an outer limit.  If we are going to arm the rebels, then we are going to have to provide trainers somewhere.  Pull the Libyans out to train them?  Pulling a trigger is one thing.  Hitting a target is another.  Training.

We will have to wait for the official results, but I would say, at this point, in contrast to Senator Kerry, Representative Tsongas is not all that enthused about this operation and may well have wished it had never started.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And who was the person who leaked this item?  A nation cannot conduct clandestine operations if someone is always leaking the orders.  I am holding my opinion, lest I end up sounding like Mr Bill Maher, who should have held his tongue.


Jack Mitchell said...

Asking a US Rep to weigh in on whether the WPR is Contitutional is odd. I hope Niki defers such matters to SCOTUS or political luminaries like Rand Paul and Michele Bachman.

The better question, imho, does Rep Tsongas agree, or not, that POTUS has met the "industry standard" as created by his predecessors?

The heady matter of constitutionality should be addressed. But not by the US Congress. Especially since Eric Cantor has a major role. He is constitutionally "challenged."

And you, me and Rep. Tsongas all know Special Ops are not consider "ground troops." That is the accepted paradigm.

However, maybe since they are established as a force via SOCOM and, at least in the Army, they get a real MOS designation, 18 series; they could be considered more conventional and less special. But that, also, must be deferred to a higher ruling, which again will not be the US Congress.

Force designations are a matter of treaty, as far as I know.

C R Krieger said...

Someone down in Texas today noted, "I can feel the Libya mission...creeping".

Given that it was a super majority in the US House of Representatives (and the same in the US Senate) that gave us the War Powers Resolution, I would think that they ought to have some sense of if what they did was Constitutional.  Isn't that why, in the House of Representatives, the new rule is that you have to site a section of the US Constitution when you present a bill?

Yes, I admit that Eric Cantor gets up a head of steam and then is not as funny as his long lost cousin, Eddie.  On the other hand, he isn't near as strange as that Rep from New York, Anthony Weiner, or as dangerous to the economy as Rep Frank.

And, re Special Ops folks, who should be considered "special" and not seen as "boots on the ground", I think that it does fall to the US Congress, to some degree, to decide who they are, given Article 1, Section Eight, includes:  "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;".  They created a whole Air Force under that enumerated power.

Regards  —  Cliff

Jack Mitchell said...

Ladies and germs, I give you Anthony Weiner.

He is on a roll!

C R Krieger said...

Maybe we can get him for the Manager's St Patrick's Day Breakfast, as a step up.

Regards  —  Cliff