Legislators Question Constitutionality of Libya Attack
Posted on Mar 22, 2011
It’s not just the more conservative members of Congress who are challenging President Obama’s course of action in Libya; besides the likes of Ron Paul and John Boehner from the Republican side, Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters and Jim Webb are among the Democrats who have raised questions and concerns since last weekend’s air attacks began.
The issue of how to correctly enter into conflict has a long and storied past, as the L.A. Times noted Tuesday. —KA
Los Angeles Times:
The debate over whether the president needs a congressional imprimatur to conduct a military campaign is an old one, but the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and now the Libyan action — have some in Congress looking to assert their authority.
“We have been on sort on auto pilot for almost 10 years … now in terms of presidential authority in conducting these types of military operations absent the meaningful participation of the Congress,” Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a former Secretary of the Navy, told MSNBC.
Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to formally declare war, but the president serves as commander-in-chief with operational control of the military and the mandate to protect the nation. The tension between the two branches has existed in the modern era ever since the Korean War, which, like the Libyan incursion, was authorized by a United Nations Security Council resolution and never certified by Congress.
Members of Congress on the left and right, including figures such as Democratic Reps. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee of California, as well as Republicans such as Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Ron Paul of Texas, have expressed concerns about the constitutionality of Obama’s actions.
AP / Haraz N. Ghanbari
Rep. Dennis Kucinich has expressed concerns about the U.S. military action in Libya.