Get your hip-waders out
The White House is telling Congress that President Obama has the legal authority to continue American participation in the NATO-led air war in Libya, even though lawmakers have not authorized it.
“We are acting lawfully,” said Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, who expanded on the administration’s reasoning in a joint interview with White House Counsel Robert Bauer.
The two senior administration lawyers contended that American forces have not been in “hostilities” at least since April 7, when NATO took over leadership in maintaining a no-flight zone in Libya, and the United States took up what is mainly a supporting role — providing surveillance and refueling for allied warplanes — although unmanned drones operated by the United States periodically fire missiles as well.
“We are not saying the president can take the country into war on his own,” Mr. Koh said. “We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped, or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”
So, it’s not really a war-war. Except for those courtesy bombs we keep dropping (yeah, I know, John Cole went crazy and over to the dark side during the Bush years, but, he has a point.)
More: Obviously, Excitable Alan Colmes lambastes Obama for this, just like he would have done to Bush….huh? He doesn’t. Interesting. At least Kevin Drum at Mother Jones finds Obama’s rationale to be an issue.
More: The LA Times points towards Obama’s fecklessness
Obama shouldn’t have left it to Congress to ensure that this operation is grounded in the rule of law. Three months into the Libya campaign, he should have had enough confidence in his policy to submit it to the House and Senate. Instead, he has sought refuge in legal obfuscations.
What, they expected to something other than vote “present”?