“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.”
– Dec. 20, 2007, quote from candidate Barack Obama
As of Tuesday our warships or submarines had launched 160 Tomahawk missiles on Libyan soil.
Each of these weapons costs about $1 million. Fighter jets with USA on the side flew over Libya, and one crashed putting two of our airmen at risk. Fortunately, they were rescued but they could have been captured by Moammar Gadhafi’s henchmen and paraded on international television. We have destroyed his air force. We have destroyed his compound. President Obama has made it clear that “it is U.S. policy” that Gadhafi has to go. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and are going to spend hundreds of millions more on this military mission. In short, the actions of the United States clearly constitute a war on Gadhafi and his supporters.
Using President Obama’s standard applied to President George W. Bush, Obama has acted outside his constitutional authority because Libya was not an “actual or imminent threat” to America. In addition, instead of seeking congressional approval for this military action, he went to South America instead. He did, however, seek United Nations approval.
In contrast, President Bush did get congressional approval for the war in Iraq including support from Sens. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
The president’s stated objective for intervening militarily in Libya was to prevent the killing of innocent and defenseless people by Gadhafi’s forces. That is a noble cause, there is no question. However, there are noble causes where we might justifiably use our military to stop evil all over the world at any given time. That is not the point. The point is that Obama beat Bush over the head unmercifully for precisely the same things he is doing today. So far, Obama has demanded the leaders of Egypt and Libya to leave office. I thought he was against American imperialism?
Obama slammed Bush on the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Obama has kept open the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Obama said he would bring the troops home from Iraq. Obama has left 50,000 troops in Iraq. Obama has even sent an additional 30,000 more troops to the war in Afghanistan. And he has extended the Patriot Act legislation he at one time had said was “just plain wrong.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am in agreement with most of these decisions. I am just saying he has now found out that his leftist utopian worldview that drove him as a presidential candidate does not work in the real world. Ironically, his decision to try to stop Gadhafi from slaughtering his own people got slightly more support among Republicans than it did from Democrats.
One more blast from the past comes from Vice President Biden who said in 2007, “The president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to wa r… unless we are attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, if he does, I would move to impeach him.”
At the time he was talking about Bush and Iran. Wonder when Biden will call for impeachment proceedings to begin so he can get Obama out and move into the Big Office he has always longed for?
I believe this idea of war by committee is going to backfire on Obama. And the idea of having any of our American military under foreign command is a crazy one. Listen to what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said about the whole situation earlier this week: “This command and control business is complicated. And we haven’t done something like this kind of on-the-fly before and so it’s not surprising to me that it would take a few days to get it all sorted out.”
Say what, Mr. Secretary?
Boy, doesn’t that make you feel better? The secretary of defense says in Libya that the “command and control” for our troops is being figured out “on the fly.”
If I may speculate as to what really happened here. I believe Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, our chief diplomat, became “president” for all practical purposes, if just for a few days leading up to the “no-fly zone” military action. I believe she basically told Obama, who did not want to do this, that if he didn’t the blood of the innocent people Gadhafi was going to slaughter would be on his hands. So he was then forced to make a decision and reluctantly told Clinton to go ahead without congressional approval.
It’s a complicated world out there. And Obama’s learning not everyone wants to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with him.
Community columnist Tim Wildmon is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.