July 5, 2011
Barack Obama could not be more wrong about his claim that he needs no approval from Congress to engage our military in Libya (or anywhere else for that matter), and he knows it. In response to a question regarding war powers during the 2008 campaign, this president himself said the following: “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.”
I haven’t heard anyone even attempt to claim that Libya presented an actual or imminent threat to our nation, and I’m pretty sure the Constitution hasn’t been amended to change the reality of the above comment since Obama made it. In fact, not even Congress has the power under the Constitution to “authorize” the president to use military force at his discretion with a simple up or down vote. As our founding document makes clear, Congress declares war and the president is Commander in Chief of the military “when called into the actual service of the United States.” This means that unless it’s an actual war, actually declared by Congress against another country (which of course would require sufficient cause), it’s an illegal attack. The only way for Congress to legally transfer their war making power to the president would be via a constitutional amendment, which not only must be passed by the House and Senate, but also ratified by a three-fourths majority of state legislatures.
The claim that no congressional approval is required because the attack on Libya doesn’t amount to “hostilities” is an embarrassingly amateurish attempt to avoid accountability. Every day millions of grade school kids have better excuses for not doing their homework.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Obama is unquestionably impeachable. In fact, this has been the case since day 3 of his presidency, when he ordered a drone attack on Pakistan (a country with which we are not at war) that killed 28 people, several of which were reportedly children. But instead of being removed from office he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace. Is there a better example of how completely upside down things have become in this perpetual warfare world?
Impeachment is most likely the only thing that will keep Obama from committing United States troops to the insanity of a ground invasion of Libya and a greater expansion of the completely bogus “War on Terror.” Phil Restino, Co-Chair of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans for Peace, illustrates the urgency here.
It’s highly unlikely that Obama would be both impeached (indicted for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the House of Representatives) and removed from office (convicted at trial by the Senate), since the senate is controlled by democrats. But impeachment itself could halt the planned ground invasion of Libya. Of course, the republican House would only impeach to score political points and not out of any real concern for our Constitution, the rule of law, or the people of Libya. But sometimes politicians can be made to do the right thing in spite of themselves. If we want to keep yet another needless illegal war from expanding and killing untold additional numbers of innocent civilians and American soldiers, we need to be calling for Obama’s impeachment.
Don’t give me any partisan apologist garbage about how Obama inherited Bush’s mess, is doing what he can, has a tough job, needs more time, etc, etc. By failing to bring an end to two illegal wars of aggression immediately upon taking office, refusing to hold the Bush administration accountable in any way whatsoever and actually expanding on Bush’s mess, Barack Obama has clearly accepted full ownership. And just over half way through his first term, he is already well down the road to making the previous president look tame by comparison.
Impeach Obama now.