Speaker of the House John Boehner sent a letter
to President Obama on Tuesday warning him that he is about to violate the mandate for the commander-in-chief to end combat operations after thirty days of the expiration date of the War Powers Resolution, and requesting the White House's interpretation of that law as well as seeking the exact justifications and goals of American participation in the Libyan Civil War. Today, the White House arrogantly responded
that it has the legal authority to continue combat operations without congressional consent, and requested that Congress stop questioning him about the use of martial power for fear of sending "mixed messages" about our support of the NATO-led mission. One official said that what we are engaged in is not a war, so it does not necessitate congressional consent under either the War Powers Clause in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution.
This conflict has so far cost the United States $716 million and is expected to top a billion by September. We have taken sides in a full-scale civil war, have exceeded the United Nations No Fly Zone with targeted bombings of ground forces and installations, and are actively and openly seeking the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime. Armed "westerners" have been spotted
on video tape in Libya, and requests for negotiation by Gaddafi have been met with blunt refusals to allow him to stay in any sort of power. This is a war, and we are helping fight it, regardless of what President Obama and his administration says to the contrary. The President of the United States is actively directing taxpayer dollars and American forces to kill soldiers of other nations with the intention of toppling the regime of that nation.
The war in Libya serves no purpose for our national security or interests, and even on humanitarian grounds the information is murky as we do not know who we are fighting for. The United Nations and other international nongovernmental organizations have uncovered evidence
of war crimes being committed both by the regime and the opposition, including the use of child soldiers by both sides--one of the most despicable acts that men are capable of.
The President has gone far beyond the authority he is granted in entering the Libyan Civil War, and has grievously insulted both Congress and the U.S. Constitution in a way even worse than his domestic policies. The right to use force is the one key power that we surrender to the government, and its use must be carefully regulated-- particularly the use of lethal force. Any time that power becomes more unrestricted, it is dangerous. I do not wish Gaddafi well; I hope that he meets the same dark death worthy of tyrants and mass murderers. Sanctioning his regime would be okay. Perhaps, even, limited involvement such as the imposing of a no-fly-zone is fine-- with the permission of Congress. Without it, the President is an unrestricted wielder of force capable of picking and choosing without proper explanation to his people's representatives who will win and lose in foreign wars.
Congress has two choices, and it is forced to these two choices due to the improper irresponsibility of the Commander-in-Chief. Congress must either pass a resolution authorizing
the enforcement of the UN Resolution (that is, ensuring no ground involvement) so that the rule of law is still intact, or vote to cut the funding for this ill-conceived foreign venture and make a point to the Executive Branch that there are limits to its martial power and use of lethal force, and that Congress is not to be pushed over or ignored in these non-trivial matters of great importance. Congress must do something, and it must do it soon. As the L.A. Times
Editorial Board said, "Obama shouldn't have left it to Congress to ensure that this operation is grounded in the rule of law. Three months into the Libya campaign, he should have had enough confidence in his policy to submit it to the House and Senate. Instead, he has sought refuge in legal obfuscations." It is time for Congress to assert itself and rein in this misconduct; this is the area of power where the respect for the rule of law must be most preciously guarded.