To the Editor:
When U.S. presidents want to go to war, they routinely violate Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. President Obama has gone further. He has also violated the War Powers Act of 1973.
Two of his lawyers told President Obama that he needed congressional authorization to bomb Libya. So he found two others to tell him he didn’t. We’re not engaging in “hostilities,” they said, since U.S. troops are not being killed.
Incredible! Our and NATO’s bombs have killed hundreds of Libyans. They have destroyed bridges, businesses, homes and churches. But our unmanned drones are operated from the safety of control centers thousands of miles away. Therefore we are “not at war” and the War Powers Act does not apply.
In Congress, Rep. Dennis Kucinich is leading the opposition to this outrageous argument. Also, Kucinich, Ron Paul and eight other congressmen – five Republicans and three Democrats – are challenging the legality of Obama’s Libyan war in court. (In the past, unfortunately, courts have thrown out similar lawsuits; saying the plaintiffs “don’t have standing,” i.e. don’t have the right to file a suit.)
Unknown to most Americans, in addition to our wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Libya, President Obama is also bombing Yemen. And there’s a paradox. In Libya, he is bombing a dictator to support the rebels. In Yemen, he is bombing the rebels trying to overthrow a dictator.
Perhaps one group of rebels is “good” and the other is “bad.” But our Constitution does not give the president authority to pick a side in a civil war and commit U.S. forces and treasure (now approaching $1 billion in Libya) without authorization from Congress. President Obama is not an emperor.