AUTHORITY TO ATTACK? “I’M THE PRESIDENT”

Last year it Was, “I won—We Don’t Want to Hear Talkin’ From You”

March 23, 2011 – Update below

Perhaps there are real U. S. National interests to Attack Libya. Oil comes to mind. Yes, if anyone destroys the Libyan oil infrastructure, we will feel the consequences along with the countries that are the Libyan market.

Democracy is not a reason. Those rebelling against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi are not Liberty lovers, they are Al Qaida connected and backed. (Do not forget, Iran has millions of genuine Liberty lovers purposefully ignored by Obama.) If Qaddafi falls under this circumstance, Libya becomes part of the growing number of Islamist states.

A fundamental question for We the People, “opinion leaders” and the Congress is does the President have Constitutional authority to wage this military operation?  Here’s the judgment of Illinois Senator Barak Obama in December, 2007:

“In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Can we find anyone to disagree with (Senator) Obama? Well, yes, President Obama in a letter dated Monday to (Speaker John Boehner) Congress asserted his authority to strike Libya. Sam Youngman writing in the hill reported March 21, 2011: 

President Obama told congressional leaders that he ordered strikes on Libya under his Constitutional authority as commander in chief.

As Democrats and Republicans alike publicly question Obama’s authority to order the strikes, the president sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlining the mission and declaring his authority.

At the close of the letter outlining actions the U.S. military has undertaken in recent days, Obama said that he “directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”

“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” Obama wrote. “I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”

Boehner said over the weekend that the president has a responsibility to be more clear with Congress and the American people about what the specific goals of the mission are.

Obama said in the letter that the strikes “will be limited in their nature, duration and scope.”

“The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya,” Obama wrote. “United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.”

“Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas,” Obama wrote.

 “We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973,” Obama said.

Well golly, gee—I guess everything’s alright then. But wait! B. J. Williams, writing in the American Thinker, proves Obama is wrong. Here’s Mr. Williams compelling argument:

On the eighth anniversary of the day President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Iraq in 2003, with the full support of the U.S. Congress and majority support from the U.N. Security Council, Barack Obama launched a Tomahawk missile assault on the sovereign nation of Libya with no majority support in the U.N. and without even consulting Congress.

Acting alone while Congress was away on recess, solely at the command of the United Nations and without constitutional authority, Barack Obama dropped over $70 million worth of Tomahawk missiles on Libya — a dictatorial maneuver to force a regime change in a foreign land.

Under what authority did Obama green-light this dictatorial assault?  To be certain, Qaddafi is no prize, but what Obama just did is nevertheless unacceptable.  Acting all alone in a truly imperialistic fashion, Obama violated his oath of office, Articles I and II of the U.S. Constitution, and the War Powers Act — all in one mindless, knee-jerk decision.

Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution identifies the U.S. president as the commander-in-chief and the civilian oversight of the U.S. military.  But the clause gives the U.S. president no authority to use military might to enforce his political will upon foreign nations.

Article I, Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution bestows the power to declare war solely on the U.S. Congress.  It requires both the commander-in-chief and Congress to commit U.S. troops to combat, without which any deployment of troops is wholly unconstitutional.

The 1973 War Powers Act was put in place to prevent a U.S. president from doing exactly what Barack Obama just did.

SEC. 2. (a) It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.

A U.S. commander-in-chief can order use of military force under only three specific conditions:

  1. a declaration of war,
  2. specific statutory authorization, or
  3. a national emergency created byan attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

The U.S. Congress has not declared war against a foreign nation since WWII.  But when George W. Bush sent troops into Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil, not only did he consult Congress in advance, but he sought and received specific statutory authorization from Congress before ordering troops into combat.  Bush complied with the Constitution and the War Powers Act under conditions (2) and (3).  He also had a broad coalition of U.N. partners driven by years of U.N. resolutions defied by Iraq.

In the case of Obama and Libya, none of the three necessary conditions exist.

  1. Congress did not declare war.
  2. Congress was not consulted and did not give specific statutory authorization.
  3. The U.S. was not attacked in any way by Libya, which presented no threat to the U.S. or U.S. assets.

As a result, Barack Obama had no constitutional authority to attack Libya with over $70 million worth of U.S. taxpayer-provided Tomahawks, placing American soldiers in harm’s way in yet another war which cannot be justified even by the pursuit of oil.

Obama has acted alone, well beyond the scope and authority of his office and at odds with the national interests of the United States and the Constitution which he took an oath to uphold and defend.

The Washington Times has it right.  Even crook Democrat Charlie Rangel has it right, saying he was angry that Congress was not consulted before the military strikes.

Rangel said that he was undecided on whether the military action against Libya was justified but that he thought that lawmakers and their constituents should have had time to weigh in.  “Our presidents seem to believe that all we have to do is go to the U.N. and we go to war,” Rangel said.

Crazy leftist Dennis Kucinich is asking why the missile strikes are not an impeachable offense.  As we go to press, he stands alone. 

Although the U.N. apparently has command over Barack Obama, this organization has no command authority over U.S. Armed Forces.  Obama used U.S. soldiers illegally and unconstitutionally.  These are the facts…

But where is Congress?

Antiwar liberal and libertarian politicians like Ron Paul have attacked President Bush for years on Iraq and Afghanistan, even though Bush openly sought and received congressional authority for both military actions.

Here we have a clear-cut violation and abuse of presidential powers, and where are all the Code Pink, MoveOn.org, Ron Paul antiwar types?

Who in the U.S. Congress — specifically in the Republican-controlled House — is going to launch a full-scale investigation into Obama’s dictatorial use of military might and begin impeachment proceedings?  Who in the US Congress is going to put a stop to the growing insanity?

We have a runaway government acting against the interests of the United States and beyond its legal authority.  Does anyone have the backbone to stop it and hold Obama accountable?  Will there be an international war crimes trial for Barack Obama?

There is strong criticizm on the left. But, I have not found Republican presidential hopefuls or Congressional leaders objecting. This assult on the Constitutiion will cost us. It is one more hill to climb as We the People work to restore the Constitution and America.

Update:

John Hinderaker, while not naming specific Senators or Congressmen, reports at Power Line Blog significant disatisfaction in Congress because Obama has not sought Constitutional Congressional approval:

Questions about our military action in Libya, and in particular why President Obama did not seek Congressional support for it, are reverberating around the capital. Congressmen and Senators across the political spectrum are complaining about the administration’s handling of the crisis. In particular, the fact that Obama sought the approval of the United Nations, but not Congress, has made many in the latter institution unhappy.

Of course, President Obama isn’t around to answer those questions; he is in South America. Politico asks, “Did Obama Lose Congress on Libya?” National security adviser Tom Donilon stood in for Obama and tried to explain the administration’s failure to involve Congress. Here is part of what he had to say:

First of all, consultation with Congress is important, as I said. Secondly, the administration welcomes the support of Congress in whatever form that they want to express that support.

So Obama has gone from 1) the President has no authority to undertake military action in these circumstances without prior Congressional approval, to 2) the President–as long as it is Obama–“welcomes the support of Congress in whatever form they want to express that support,” after the fact. The arrogant presumption of the Obama administration never ceases to amaze.

What if Obama and his administration arrogantly presumed not to entertain a presidential election in 2012, John?

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
This entry was posted in Liberty, Obama, Reclaiming and Restoring America. Bookmark the permalink.

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