This military action by US forces against Libya is one more chance to review the 1973 War Powers Act.
At this post, on Sunday, I promised to contact the office of Senator Kerry, to see where he stands on this issue. I did that on Monday afternoon. I also contacted the office of our Junior Senator, Scott Brown, and the office of our Representative, Niki Tsongas.♠
I got a call back today from the Office of Senator Scott Brown. The young man who called me was excellent. He told me that the Congress did receive a letter from President Obama, fulfilling the 48 hour notification requirement.♥
He noted that some Constitutional Scholars, such as Phillip Bobbit, of Columbia University, feel the the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. Professor Bobbit is not a neophyte in this area, having written about military force and its uses in the past, including The Shield of Achilles. Great book.
The gentleman from Senator Scott's office thought that if this operation wound down within two months the question of a Congressional approval would be irrelevant. This is certainly our President's hope, as shown by his comment about "days, not months".
If this war goes for the long haul then the Congress must approve or the President must withdraw US forces within 30 additional days, for a total of 90.
My thanks to the unnamed staffer from Senator Brown's Washington Office.
And, yes, when I hear back from Representative Tsongas' Office or Senator Kerry's Office, I will blog about it.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Strangely, I called 411 in Boston, MA, and Washington, DC, to get office phone numbers for our Senior Senator and both times the operator asked if the name of our Senior Senator began with a "C".
♥ Hat tip to Daily Kos for the link to the letter.