The US military action against Libya, including preemptive strikes against a country that was not an imminent threat to us or our military, was launched under direct orders from President Barack Hussein Obama but was not approved by the United States Congress as is required by the Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548).
The War Powers Resolution allows the president to send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only after authorized by Congress, or if the United States is already under attack or hostilities against us are imminent. Neither case applies in our ongoing actions against Libya which has been ruled for more than 40 years by madman dictator Muammar Qaddafi who has killed US citizens and well as his own people.
Despite his party's long-standing support for the War Powers Resolution Obama has told the media that he hosted a meeting of a small bi-partisan group from the Congress last week which supported military action against Libya, and that's pretty much all the authorization he needs.
His position was supported today on Fox News Sunday by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who said he didn't vote to authorize Obama to wage war using US forces, but he would if he was asked. Graham gave no indication that Obama would be required to seek retroactive authorization to go to war.
The act requires that Obama, who is vacationing in Brazil as US forces are under fire in a third military theater, officially notify Congress within 48 hours of the onset of hostilities – which gives him until Monday afternoon. The act doesn't say if the president who authorizes military action without Congressional support has to cut short his vacation to deliver the report in person, of if he can just phone it in.
Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed, who, like Graham, serves on the Senate Armed Services committee, said on Fox News Sunday that a vote of some members of the United Nations Security Council was all he needed to give his blessing to the action. At least two members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China, abstained from that vote, and Russia today voiced objections to the extent of the ongoing operation.
Interestingly, both senators said that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi should be overthrown as a result of the US led military action, but Admiral Mike Mullen
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff said that is not our objective and that Qaddafi could well remain after hostilities are ceased. Mullen wasn't very clear as to what our objective actually is, and frankly was pretty evasive when Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace pressed him on the issue.
Obama's unilateral decision to go to war conflicts with the position taken by his predecessor, former President George Bush, who sought and obtained authorization by overwhelming votes of both houses of Congress before he initiated the successful military action against Iraq
Although the War on Libya was portrayed in recent weeks as an effort by an international coalition headed by Western European countries with Arab League approval to impose a non-fly zone so rebel forces attempting to unseat Qaddafi could have a better chance of success, it was revealed Sunday morning that the US is actually doing most of the fighting.
The US launched more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles from ships in the Mediterranean Sea Saturday night, aided by additional strikes from Great Britain. The US reportedly also sent Navy and Marine warplanes to bomb Libyan defenses and provide cover for US bombers, including the launch of three B-2 Stealth bombers that flew from a US Air Force base in Nebraska to hit Libyan targets.
Qaddafi responded on Libyan television by threatening both military and terrorist responses against all the countries that attacked him, and claimed that dozens of civilians were killed by the US air strikes. The Arab League now has backed off somewhat from its support for the US action, due to the claims of civilian deaths.
Nonetheless, one League member state, Qatar, is reportedly gearing up to send jet fighters into the fray. Qatar, a tiny emirate on the Persian Gulf, south of Saudi Arabia, has an air force of approximately 1,500 personnel with 12 French Mirage jets operated by the 7th Air Superiority Squadron, four of which will be diverted to fighting in Libya.
It was unclear to say the least exactly how long the Obama's War on Libya is supposed to last, or exactly what it is supposed to accomplish. News organizations have been remarkably unforthcoming on exactly who we are supporting or why.
Some reports claim that all the countries now seeing unrest in the former Ottoman Empire are under pressure to enact Democratic reforms, but many commentators also say the militant Muslim Brotherhood is behind the "spontaneous" demonstrations.
Also of interest, Obama said on television that he feels compelled to overthrown Qaddafi because he is shooting his own countrymen. But while the US has been assertive concerning the actions of some Arab countries where demonstrations and regime changes took place, including Egypt, virtually nothing was said when demonstrations that broke out in Saudi Arabia were met with gunfire and repression.
Also, Obama did not address whether the US would soon be attacking North Korea, China, Myanmar and dozens of other countries where the leaders kill their own people too.
There were some reports that members of his own Democratic party are unhappy with Obama's decision to circumvent the US Congress. However, although Obama appeared at a news conference in Brazil Sunday the media was notified in advance that he wouldn't be talking about the War on Libya.
Sunday, March 20, 2011