We’re well into our brand-new, remotely-commanded war in Libya and our Commander-in-Chief has decided on a bold new strategy. First, he deigned to take a question on the war from his whirlwind tour of Chile wherein he pointed out: a) Muammar Ghaddafi can not remain as the leader of Libya, and b) we’re not going to do very much to encourage him to leave. Stacy McCain watched the whole press conference and sussed out the broader strategy:
At one point, Obama was just banging out the domestic-politics buzzwords — “jobs,” “investments,” “innovation,” etc. — as if he were campaigning in Cleveland or Indianapolis. He filibustered as if he were trying to run out the clock. (Basic press-conference tactic: Take a softball question and spend five minutes on a meandering answer, then — “Times up!”)
When he finally got a multi-part question about Libya, Obama spoke of international multilateralism as a “core principle.” In other words, the United States can only take military action when (a) there is a “consensus” that action is necessary, and (b) we have “coalition partners” joining us in the action.
A “core principle”!
Hey, at least he finally got around to letting Congress know that he was taking our military out for a spin. Sure, it was two days later than he should have, and let us hope he didn’t e-mail it to them, but “close enough” is good, right? This didn’t mollify at least one member of the House, who tanned our young President’s hide, but good.
“The United States does not have a King’s army. President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution. President Obama’s administration has repeated the mistakes of the Clinton administration concerning bombing in Kosovo and the George W. Bush administration concerning invading Iraq by failing to request and obtain from the U.S. Congress unambiguous prior authorization to use military force against a country that has not attacked U.S. territory, the U.S. military or U.S. citizens. This is particularly ironic considering then-Senator Obama campaigned for the Democratic nomination based upon his opposition to President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.
…It is self-evident that the tragic situation in Libya is not an emergency since the Obama administration sought and obtained support from both the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council to authorize military force against Qadhafi. The Obama administration also had time to organize a 22-nation coalition to implement a no-fly zone with military attacks led by U.S. Armed Forces against Qadhafi’s forces. Nonetheless, the Obama administration failed to seek approval from the American people and their elected legislators in the Congress. Failing to obtain authorization from the U.S. Congress means that President Obama has taken sole responsibility for the outcome of using U.S. military forces against Qadhafi onto his shoulders and his administration.”
Of course, Representative Bartlett is mistaken about President Bush, but let us leave that behind for now. Take special note of the last sentence. If other, more influential, members of Congress than Roscoe Bartlett consider that true, then our President is in for one very rough re-election campaign.