July 5, 2011

Obama the War President

By: Roger Custer

By Chadwick Ciocci, Guest Blogger

Anti-war Barack Obama has become pro-war President Obama, and has done so at the expense of America’s national security as well as the Constitution.  America now finds itself engaged in the Libyan War for well over important 60 and 90 day benchmarks, which is in clear violation of the 1973 War Powers Act.  That resolution was passed by Congress in response to President Nixon’s secret bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War, and was specifically meant to limit the President’s ability to start wars on a whim.  Congress essentially asserted its own authority to have a say in when and where wars are to be started.

Chuck Todd of NBC News asked President Obama whether he believes the War Powers Act is constitutional, and instead of answering, Obama decided to talk about the “substance” of what’s happening in Libya.  After offering an interesting, but ultimately irrelevant history of the last several months, Mr. Obama concluded that we are in Libya for two reasons: 1. As a member of NATO, the Libyan War is in our national security interest and 2. “It’s the right thing to do”.  A lot of the “fuss”, argued the President, is just politics.  And he concluded that he firmly believes his actions do not violate the War Powers Act: “We’re engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world.”

Anyone can read the War Powers Act and see, as plain as day, the President’s actions are clearly in violation of the provisions laid out in the law.  Not only did President Obama not seek out the guidance and consent of Congress (which has sole discretion to declare war) but he failed to provide them with pertinent information relating to the hostilities in a timely manner, as required by the War Powers Act.  The War Powers Act itself is a sorry attempt at making the executive branch adhere to the powers and limits laid out for the legislative and executive branches in regards to war, but no matter how sorry an attempt it must be followed as law until it is replaced or ruled unconstitutional.  It is all the more troubling that this President doesn’t understand (refuses to follow?) these Constitutional principles considering he is a Constitutional lawyer and professor.

Interestingly, the President’s primary argument for attacking Libya is that “It’s the right thing to do.”  Why?  Because Kaddafi is one of the worst tyrants in the world who engaged in terrorism against the US and oppresses his own people.  Except this argument applies to at least a quarter of the nations of the world including Syria, North Korea, Iran and numerous others.  Though the argument may be horrendous (because the same argument can be applied to so many other enemies of the US), the President should go before Congress and make the argument before the only body which has the power to declare war.  If Congress decides that the US should go to war with Libya, it may be yet another American folly abroad, but at least it would be a Constitutional folly.