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.