Most of Gaddafi’s military forces have been reduced to burning rubble after assaults by Western nations. Nonetheless, he has vowed to arm every Libyan citizen still loyal to him and wage a long, drawn-out war against all who challenge his right to rule the country. WARNING: Graphic footage.
Can the President just declare war without any authorization from the Congress? This is the question that somehow didn’t come up on this morning’s talk shows — or if it did, I missed it.
Candidate Barack Obama, December 2007:
“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.”
President Barack Obama, March 2011:
”I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly.”
Glenn Greenwald comments:
The dangers from unilateral, presidential-decreed wars are highlighted in the Libya situation. There has been very little public discussion (and even less explanation from the President) about the reasons we should do this, what the costs would be on any level, what the end goal would be, how mission creep would be avoided, whether the “Pottery Barn” rule will apply, or virtually anything else. Public opinion is at best divided on the question if not opposed. Even if you’re someone who favors this intervention, what’s the rationale for not requiring a debate and vote in Congress over whether the President should be able to commit the nation to a new military conflict? Candidate Obama, candidate Clinton, and the Bush-era Democrats all recognized the constitutional impropriety of unilateral actions like this one; why shouldn’t they be held to that?