Administration's Position on War Powers Resolution Re: Libya is Absurd
I think the Obama administration's arguments for why the War Powers Resolution does not apply to our actions in Libya are straight-up bullshit. It pains me to say it, but there it is. Some of you have been trying to make legal arguments to defend the administration, but please note that they offer no legal justification whatsoever. There's a good reason for that. They have no legal justification. Instead, they simply argue that we're not engaged in hostilities in Libya, that our role is limited, that the duration is expected to be short, and whatever else they can throw out there to obfuscate. They do not say that the WPR is unconstitutional. They do not say that their actions are justified by the Authorization to Use Military Force in Afghanistan or by the United Nations Charter, or by any other law or treaty.
“We are not saying the president can take the country into war on his own,” [State Department legal adviser] Mr. [Harold] Koh said. “We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped, or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”
To begin with, I am not comfortable with how we've decided to give a wink and a nod to our CIA forces on the ground and not consider them as armed forces or as engaged in hostilities. People keep saying "We don't have any troops on the ground." Well, that's just semantics. Of course we do have troops on the ground; they're just not employed by the Pentagon. But, even if we agree to debate this on these absurd grounds, we're still engaged in hostilities through airstrikes and drone attacks and direct assistance in the furtherance of such attacks.
This shouldn't be so difficult. The administration shouldn't be fighting Congress over this. If they hadn't acted arrogantly, they wouldn't be having a problem right now.