Obama & the War Powers Act

The profound contempt President Obama has for the U.S. Congress is seen in both his unilaterally going to war with Libya (actually no war at all, just a “turkey shoot”) without so much as a congressional by-your-leave and his failure to accede to the requirements of the War Powers Act of 1973 after having committed decent American troops to what amounts to monstrous atrocities, the murdering of women and children in the streets and in their homes. The president announced military action 19 March against Libya while in Brazil and did not return to Washington for some five days. The objective was to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

By the end of five days, the no-fly zone, apparently only the ostensible (not actual) objective of the UN-Security-Council sanctioning (no Congressional sanctioning), had been firmly established. No Libyan planes or helicopters were flying then and haven’t been flying since. Instead of currently carrying out the no-fly-zone UN mandate, the president, using NATO now, has chosen sides in what amounts to a civil war in Libya and has chosen to kill his choice of Libyans, rather than allow Qaddafi to kill his choice in the process of maintaining the government.

Of course, Obama has said that Qaddafi must go and is now using what amounts to terrorist tactics – killing innocent civilians as per the 9/11 format – in order to avoid embarrassment. What other reason could he have? He has also suggested that Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad must go but, predictably, does not intend to make that stick, using military action. Indeed, neither the Congress nor the UN, both bodies too weak to be taken seriously anyway, would dare to approve another bloodletting such as Libya. In this regard, it’s important to note that neither Libya nor Syria has ever posed and does not now pose a threat to the U.S. or any other nation except perhaps Israel, which is an ongoing affair since 1948.

To see the degree of contempt mentioned above, one has only to remark this part of the War Powers Act: SEC. 5. (b) Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.

The rape of Libya has gone on now well past the 60-day limit, with the president not acceding to its mandate and having no reason not to extract troops since the troops are not threatened by any military or other action. The weak excuse that…well…no president has taken the Act seriously doesn’t wash.

If American citizens had been under threat in Libya – okay, but the 60 days are up. Bush 41 did the Noriega thing in Panama in 1989, where there were 35,000 Americans who could have been in danger considering the political situation…or not. The mess was over in some two weeks. Reagan did the Grenada thing in 1983 where a few hundred American students might have been in danger. This affair was over in a few days, but, unfortunately, 19 Americans were killed. Reagan committed Marines to Lebanon later in 1983, with 241 being killed by a suicide bomber, the matter settled immediately, although all U.S. troops were not out until about three months later. In that case, there were hostilities, nothing like Libya.

Carter did the hostage thing in Iran in 1980 and that catastrophe was over in hours. Ford did the Mayaguez piracy-rescue in May 1975 and it was over in four days. Obama did the Osama assassination – or at least it’s officially reported that he gave the order – and it was over in a few hours. Since 1973, this resolution does not seem to have been violated even once. Obama has no intention of honoring this resolution because he considers Congress unimportant, beneath contempt, with using the Courts as his method of operation, if using anything legally at all.

From the New York Times, May 22: “Samantha Power, a human rights crusader, is a member of the National Security Council, which advises President Obama on foreign policy. For nearly 20 years, since her days as a young war correspondent in Bosnia, Ms. Power has championed the idea that nations have a moral obligation to prevent genocide. From her perch on the council, she is in a position to make that case to the commander in chief — and to watch him translate her ideas into action.” Perhaps such as Libya? Disgusting!

It may be that the president fancies himself as a “humanitarian interventionist,” someone who takes a look at various parts of the world and decides that he’d better fix them (especially if Power says so), even if killing a bunch of innocent people is in the mix. His glorification of the current “Arab Spring” and consequent urging of young, inexperienced, unprepared Middle Easterners to take to the streets, a la community organizing mode, and turn themselves into cannon fodder in the process is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst.