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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Maybe Not

I have been using the term "War Powers Act", since "Resolution" gives a higher probability of a misspelling.  Spelling has always been a problem for me.

I have been maintaining that President Obama has been within the letter of the law regarding Libya and the War Powers Resolution.  Now comes Law Professor Bruce Ackerman (Professor of law and political science at Yale, author of The Decline and Fall of the American Republic) saying that this war (or kinetic action, if you prefer) doesn't meet the War Powers Resolution criteria and the President should have gone to Congress, seeking permission.
After the Vietnam War, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which granted the president the power to act unilaterally for 60 days in response to a "national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."  The law gave the chief executive an additional 30 days to disengage if he failed to gain congressional assent during the interim.  

But... these provisions have little to do with the constitutionality of the Libyan intervention, since Libya did not attack our "armed forces."  The president failed to mention this fundamental point in giving Congress notice of his decision on Monday, in compliance with another provision of the resolution.  Without an armed "attack," there is no compelling reason for the president to cut Congress out of a crucial decision on war and peace....
And, Here is the article.

Just as I wouldn't call for impeachment over a revealing birth certificate (but would call for each of the states to ban such a person from their ballots in future elections), I don't call for impeachment in this case, but I do think that some sort of a "Sense of the Congress" resolution is called for.
It is hereby expressed as the intent of the Congress that the authority granted by the War Powers Resolution is to be construed as approval by the Congress for the conduct of military operation pursuant to responding to a "national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces", but not to include operations that don't meet that criteria under the cloak of international approval by the United Nations, the North Atlantic Alliance or other such body.  This is not to preclude humanitarian assistance and normal training and security assistance operations.
Hat tip to the Althouse blog, maintained by Constitutional Law Professor Ann Althouse, assisted by some guy named Meade

Regards  —  Cliff


Craig H said...

Seems to me a much more productive discussion than criticizing partisan opponents for the degree of their criticism. There's no question in my mind that Obama has offended the Constitution and the War Powers what-have-you, and his effective defense remains the hypocrisy of his would-be opponents, who accused critics at the time of treason (a far cry from Kucinich's questioning posture) as opposed to supporting the proper questioning of a sitting President who is exceeding his legal powers.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Bush went forward on Iraq with overwhelming support of the sitting Congress. That the underlying basis for the action turned out to be without substance is a wholly different matter that will likely be resolved by history. Certainly, the excursion into Iraq was not (as many vociferously maintain) the singular decision of Bush. Obama of course will claim loudly that all of our current malaise is traceable to only one person, Bush.

Bush at least played the political game required by "law."

Obama continues to commit the country to various end states without the same careful compliance. That he does so is not only a quintessential behavior of an acute narcissist, but one who considers his station to be one above and outside the law. Obama's only reliance on the law comes when he finds it a happy helpmate to achieving one of his socialist goals.

His decisions, or lack of them, in the Libyan instance is emblematic of his proclivity for doing what he personally deems acceptable.

It is interesting that, after an entire week of bombing by a coalition NOT formed by the US, Obama took to the airwaves to proclaim in language that minimized if not ignored the efforts of others to claim that "we acted quickly to save innocent lives in Libya."

Huh?? We?? The Secret Service needs to check his pant's pockets for a mouse.

Craig H said...

What you recall as "overwhelming support" I recall as the result of a national hysteria against the "treason" of opposing a wartime president. Obama, ironically, was one of those voices against allowing an imperial presidency, though, of course, he's changed his opinion now that he's drunk from the well of power.

Anonymous said...

National hysteria aside, it was a Democrat Congress who was overwhelmingly for it before they were against it. In the ensuing years, there has been wholesale historical revisionism on a scale not seen in decades. The desired end state was reached with the election of The Exalted One based on the mantra, Bush is Bad, Obama is Good. One need only look at the facts since then to begin to openly question that logic. Even with a Democrat led Congress calling the shots, there wasn't one single fiscal year under Bush in which the national debt shot up as high as in the first and second years of The One.

Every President in the history of the Republic comes to the office with an agenda, and having a good war under way is a wonderful means of drawing attention away from the machinations necessary to implement that agenda...and....a good war is a wonderful forum for the Presidential ego to be on parade......nothing inspires like a conquering hero....even the MSM is unable to affect that. Bush on the carrier in a flight suit.....BIG impression.....