Monday, April 11, 2011

War? What war?

Apparently, judging by the headlines, we are no longer engaged in "kinetic military action" in Libya. Not a peep from the World section of the U-T. In the WSJ, the only reference is that the Libyan rebels have rejected the African Union peace plan. But to think that an actual war involving U.S. forces is going on? Unthinkable. The President obviously would have notified the Congress. From his 2007 candidate interview with the Boston Globe.
Q: In what circumstances would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress?

A: 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. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch.
Meanwhile the Department of Defense official web site has this to say today about our actions in Libya.

NATO aircraft are striking with care and precision while minimizing the danger to civilians, Rasmussen said.

“This is in stark contrast to the pro-Gadhafi forces,” he said, “who are besieging their own cities and shelling city centers.”

Since April 9, NATO aircraft have flown almost 300 sorties, the secretary general said, destroying 49 tanks, nine armored personnel carriers, three anti-aircraft guns and four large ammo bunkers.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi’s forces continue offensive operations against rebels in eastern Libya. The no-fly zone has blunted the effects of the regime force’s attacks, but has not ended them.

“We’ve talked all along about the nature of a no-fly zone and how that restricts the regime’s forces, but that doesn’t stop them,” Lapan said.

NATO officials said the Libyans are using schools and mosques as shields for their armored forces. The proximity to civilians means these targets are off-limits for NATO.

The DOD comptroller estimates the cost of U.S. operations in Libya to be $40 million per month. Total U.S. cost from the beginning of operations in mid-March through April 4 was $608 million, Lapan said.

American forces are not conducting strike missions in Libya. U.S. forces are supporting NATO with air-to-air refueling, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities and unmanned aerial vehicle support. U.S. ships are also participating in the arms blockade off Libya in the Mediterranean.

How about that? A non-war coming in at only $608 million so far? We haven't even hit a billion, clearly chump change. Maybe that's the new interpretation of the war power resolution, it's not a war if it doesn't cost over a billion. Of course, knowing a little bit about DOD accounting, I personally don't trust that figure, but go figure, it's not really the point. And somehow engaging in reconnaissance, surveillance, refueling and UAV support isn't warfare. Tell that to your local Air Force recruiter.

The Congress refuses to assert its authority, so no one has standing to take this constitutional issue to the supreme court. If the Republicans were serious about their reading of the constitution at the start of the term, they would be holding hearings and holding up spending on this war until the President complied with the law.

Picture at top taken from fanpop, a fan art site, shows a relaxed President ready to roll up his sleeves and take his Commander in Chief responsibilities seriously during times of non-war.


  1. Love the etrade style video subsequent to the posted video.

  2. This is as much a war as drone strikes in Pakistan constitute war. Which is to say, it ain't war. It's not even a Korea-style police action.