At once presumptuous and flippant, President Obama used a Saturday audio recording from Brazil to inform Americans he had authorized a third war — a war in which America’s role is unclear and the stated objectives are muddled.
Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama’s entry into Libya’s civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama’s announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama’s record of deception.
“Today, I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya,” the president said. For him it was self-evident he had such authority. He gave no hint he would seek even ex post facto congressional approval. In fact, he never once mentioned Congress.
Since World War II, the executive branch has steadily grabbed more war powers, and Congress has supinely acquiesced. Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all fought wars without a formal declaration, but at least Bush used force only after Congress authorized it.
And, once more, the president’s actions belie his words on the campaign trail. In late 2007, candidate Obama told the Boston Globe, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
There is no claim that Moammar Gadhafi poses a threat to the United States. But asking President Obama to explain his change of heart would be a fruitless exercise. This is a president who has repeatedly shredded the clear meaning of words in order to deny breaking promises he has clearly broken — consider his continued blatant falsehoods on tax increases and his hiring of lobbyists.
It’s interesting, when you consider how George W. Bush was treated – and still is – by hardcore leftists in the aftermath of the start of the Iraq war, even after we’d had considerable public debate about the issue for a good year or so. He was a “warmonger” who was waging war with Iraq for no reason other than “oil.” According to the left, Saddam “didn’t present a threat” to us, and therefore we had no business going into Iraq. And don’t forget how the left verbally brutalized Bush for allegedly not getting Congressional authorization for the war in Iraq – even though he did. Yet our celebrity President can launch an air war against the Libyan military with little to no public discussion/debate whatsoever, no Congressional vote, with the rationale/goals unclear, and all of a sudden it’s supposed to be ok (update: with a few exceptions, as my co-blogger notes here).
Ah – I’ve figured this out now, I think. President Obama has the UN’s permission, more or less, and for most on the left, that’s pretty much all that’s necessary – unless we’re talking about a Republican president, and then so much more is needed, like time, debate, Congressional authorization, etc …
Oh, and didn’t we hear all during the Bush admin on how waging war with Muslim countries only emboldened the terrorists??
If the word “hypocrite” wasn’t in the dictionary, it wouldn’t be too difficult to offer up ideas to The Powers That Be for what the word should be: Democrat.