Saturday, May 21, 2011

Obama violates War Powers Act?

President Obama just about to deliver his Janu...Image via Wikipedia
President Obama said the US would stay in Libya for days. Two months later, however, the War Powers Act says America needs to go to war or get out of North Africa. Can Obama circumvent the Constitution or is the Commander in Chief breaking the own laws he promises to uphold on the campaign trail? RT's Lauren Lyster investigates.

In Libya War, Obama Shows Disdain for War Powers Act
President Obama has again shown his disdain for the War Powers Act when it comes to Libya.

Under the War Powers Act, the President has 60 days to get authorization from Congress for any military involvement, and if he fails to get that authorization, he must end the involvement within 30 days.

The 60-day authorization period expired on Friday.

On Friday, President Obama belatedly and haughtily sent a letter to Congress seeking authorization. That letter said: "It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation and support. Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort."

Note the phrase “it is better.” Obama acts as though getting approval from Congress is a mere option, not the law or the Constitution that he is obliged to follow.

If John McCain had been elected president in 2008 and had proceeded this way, Democrats would be up in arms, and progressives would be in the streets by the tens of thousands.

But the peace movement is quiescent, and almost all Democrats are silent (Sen. Harry Reid actually praised Obama’s consultation with Congress), except Dennis Kucinich.

Is President Obama About to Break the Law?
From the beginning of the U.S. military intervention in Libya, the Obama administration has cited the 1973 War Powers Act as the legal basis of its ability to conduct military activities for 60 days without first seeking a declaration of war from Congress.

The military intervention started on March 19; Congress was notified on March 21.

Those 60 days expire tomorrow.

Last week, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that President Obama “has been mindful of the provisions of the War Powers Resolution and has acted in a manner consistent with them. He will continue to do so.”

Steinberg said the administration is “mindful of the passage of time including the end of the two-month period, we are in the process of reviewing our role, and the president will be making decisions going forward in terms of what he sees as appropriate for us to do."

What is President Obama -– a former lecturer in constitutional law -- going to do? White House officials refused to say.

And the chorus of criticism -– from the right and left -- is rising.
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