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Time’s Up: Obama Ignores War Powers Act in Drive Against Gadhafi

Posted on May 21, 2011
Flickr / Fibonacci Blue

Demonstrators in Minneapolis, Minn., protest the American intervention in Libya.

American troops have now been engaged in military action in Libya for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, a breach of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, but President Obama said the mission is too limited to require approval. Instead, Obama encouraged Congress to pass a resolution expressing its support for the operation, which has been under NATO’s command since late March. Though several lawmakers expressed concern about the blown deadline, there does not appear to be enough concern to threaten the president’s ability to wage war. Legal scholars like Bruce Ackerman and Glenn Greenwald, however, say the Libyan action has been unconstitutional from the beginning because the resolution applies only to “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” It’s hard to argue that Libya meets that definition, even if humanitarian concerns ultimately trump any demand that Obama obey the law. —KDG

Washington Post:

Legal scholars say that congressional inaction could severely weaken a law intended to take back legislative control of U.S. warmaking.

“The fundamental point is: Before we engage in a serious military endeavor, both branches should give their consent,” said Bruce Ackerman, a Yale University law professor. If Obama ignores the law, he said, “we go back to the status quo before 1973. I mean, Richard Nixon will have won.”

The War Powers Resolution was an attempt to settle a dispute as old as the Constitution. That document says only Congress has the power to declare war but the president is commander in chief of the military.

Presidents construed that to mean they could send U.S. forces into combat without congressional approval. In many cases, the reasoning was that the fights would be too small, or too short, to be considered a “war.”

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Alan MacDonald, May 24 at 4:49 pm,

It is true that we need better choices than that of our present
political choices, BACKLASH between the Republican Party
Hard-Right and the Democratic Party Lite-Right.

At present the Left, the American Populace, is NOT represented by
a political party, and is NOT, therefore, represented in the making
and enforcing of legislated law and order.

At present the Left, the American Populace, the 70% majority
common population of the United States is subject to Republican
Party Hard-Right and Democratic Party Lite-Right legislated law
and order, subject to Right-Wing legislation without representation
—The Left, the American Populace, the 70% majority common
population of the United States is under a “State of Occupation” by
Right-Wing Governance, much the same as the taxation
without representation occupation of the American Colonies by

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By Alan MacDonald, May 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

The good folks commenting on this site and/or story should keep in mind that Obama is acting as a faux-emperor/president of the global corporate/financial/militarist Empire which now controls our former country (as well as U.K. Israel, et al) by hiding behind the facade of the empire’s bought and owned TWO-Party modernized Nazi-like ‘Vichy” sham of faux-democratic government, and equally “Vichy” corporatist (fascist) media (which provides propaganda lies to Americans of both the left and the right).

As such faux-emperor/president it is certainly true that Obama does not represent the interests of the general population of honest, average, middle/working-class Americans in the subsumed US territory any more than all of the previous faux-emperor/presidents; Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II have helped this disguised Empire capture our country.

Therefore, it is entirely rational and reasonable, in line with the majority of comments, that any and all of these political pawns posing as faux-emperor/presidents were not legal presidents of our fading democratic country—- and that all posters who have voiced such valid criticism and disgust with Obama should work toward insuring that no further faux-emperor/presidents of the disguised global EMPIRE that now IS the US should be allowed to take office for the EMPIRE.

I applaud any effort to expose, educate, expunge, and excise any candidates for the office of President of the US who are actually pawns of the hidden global Empire.  Only through serious and principled efforts can we recover our country from the clutches of this disguised global Empire.  And all good Americans should avoid voting for any such phonies and pawns of Empire by avoiding any voting for any Empire endorsed, Empire captured, Empire funded, and Empire disguised candidate of either phony political party——by requiring any candidate for president of our country to address the issue of where they stand on the global Empire which is in the process of fully taking over our country.  And ANY candidate who pretends not to be able to address the issue of the EMPIRE is clearly a phony stooge and candidate of this global Empire—- who should never be voted for by any true American who loves their democratic Republic and hates the type of Empire that oppressed; politically, economically, and militarily our forefathers in the colonies prior to 1776.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
Liberty & democracy over violent empire—New America People’s Party 2012

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 22, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment


My sentiments too, V

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 22, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

My sentiments to V.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, May 22, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

If those Republican tea partiers really want to reduce the budget, here it is.

Obama is violating the law, defund the Libyan quest, let Europe take over 100%, afterall it is in their back yard.

There are many other rogue states besides Libya which were more deserving of intervention.

My conclusion of these many years is that we as citizens are way over taxed to allow the creation of a 2+ million army and navy, fleets of ships and thousands of jet aircraft and bombers, not to mention the cost of maintaining these forces overseas sent there in violation of the Constitution.

And the government has no money and must borrow it to continue to do so.

Enough to make me sick.

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By berniem, May 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

Obama has proven himself a craven liar, hypocrite, and war criminal beyond bush/cheney’s wildest dreams!

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By TDoff, May 21, 2011 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

It looks as though AIPAC forced Obama to hire ‘W’ as a presidential consultant and follow his advice. And I’ll bet the translator, who converts ‘heh, heh, heh’ and the rest of bush-speak into English, is Rahm or some other MOSSAD agent. Is the US suffering in what is, essentially, the third term of The Dummy?

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By ffinder, May 21, 2011 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama SHOULD help Libya

get rid of that dictator Gaddafi

since it has the power to do so

otherwise the US is guilty

of all the crimes Gaddafi commits!! 


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By Richard Sears, May 21, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess you all support Gaddafi then?
Perhaps you should study a little history.
Try Gaddafi on Wikipedia.
Then I guess Wikipedia is probably too “liberal” for
you. I am sure Sarah Palin could have handled it much

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, May 21, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Yes, it’s true Obama is turning out to be just another version of Bush. Just as Bush used conservative ideology, to hide behind, so does Obama.

Obama is not a progressive, he makes speeches that sound progressive, but his actions reveal his true intent.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, May 21, 2011 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

All you progressives must be apoplectic! Obama is turning out to be a bigger war monger that Bush! At least Bush consulted Congress before Afghanistan and Iraq.

But then I keep forgetting- Obama is too smart to need those pesky Congressional yahoos’ permission to do anything.

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