Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Libyan War Powers

As operations in Libya drag on, the President's lawyers have taken the position that the action in Libya is "not a war" that would require the consent of Congress under the constitution and the war powers act. There is some historical merit to this claim, in the opinion of Volokh.com writer Ilya Somin. However, I also fully agree that if operations do not end soon, the President will be in violation of the law. The only reasonable justification for the action is humanitarian defense of innocent civilians. Once that aim is achieved, the U.S. must withdraw, or the President go to Congress to obtain war powers.

Exit question: How will and how should Republicans vote if Obama asks for war powers for Libya? Don't answer all at once, because I think this is a tricky political question. I'll put my answer in the comments.


  1. My answer to whether Republicans should vote to authorize war power over Libya, is that we should not. This will cause the Republicans considerable grief over charges of hypocrisy, but it is not in the nation's best interests to pursue a war with murky aims in support of murky revolutionaries. What we have done to date is proof enough of our goodwill. We need to figure out how to support other democracy movements without getting bogged down in another war.

  2. I agree, but I'm not sure if it is possible for Team O to confine our mission to humanitarian only since he has stated his goal as Gadhafi's removal and democracy in place. Of course this is regime change and nation building whereby the 900lb gorilla in the room takes the shape of a giant waffle.

  3. @RD
    i don't think obama is worried about the elephant in the room.

    for one, nobody has the stones to ask him the "regime change" question outside of a controlled setting. second, he like totally had to get out of the country, so he wouldn't be available to field such a question. third, he would have clinton answer it, or maybe carney.

    for some reason, i don't see his media lapdogs bringing it up, so why should he worry?