unconstitutional is unconstitutional
"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"
"the president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war unless we're attacked or unless there's proof we're about to be attacked"
I cast constitution!the constitution does not require invoking
If it's not actually a UN mission under article 42, the rest isn't worth considering.
I may be wrong.
In effect, yes, atleast where a U.S. President wishes to commit U.S. armed forces to a foreign conflicts on humanitarian grounds in accordance with U.N. Resolution(s). It is the very reason GW Bush (and possible even Bush, Sr) went to war w/Iraq...he invoked U.N. resolutions. But oddly enough, no one was clamouring about whether or not he was in violation of the War Powers Act or the Constitution back then. And yet, here we are seaking justification for President Obama to commit armed forces to Libya when he has the authority under two Acts of Congress, 3 U.N. Resolutions and a Congressional Resolution to atleast continue military actions until he can provide further explanation to justify continued use of armed forces.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that when you add Article 42 under the UNPA it does seem to confuse things, but here's how I keep it straight...
The President has the authority under the Constitution to act in foreign affairs (make treaties) per Art 2, Sect 2, clause 2. He is our nation's #1 foreign diplomate. As such, the UNPA gives him the authority to negotiate measures w/the U.N. Security Counsel that could lead to peace or act on humanitarian grounds. However, I think every President since Nixon understands that they can't arbitrarily "declare war" against another nation even when invoking the War Powers Act which requires the President to report his decision to commit armed forces to "hostilities abroad" to Congress within 48 hours of doing so. The President then must report back to Congress his intent to continue the use of military force or withdraw the military unless he receives authorization from Congress via Congressional Resolution.
What is clear to me here is the President has followed the law totally and completely.
1. He obtained 3 U.N. Resolutions on humanitarian grounds.
2. He committed armed forces in advance of notifying Congress of his actions.
3. He notified Congress of his actions with 48 hours.
4. He kept Congress informed within the 60-day reporting timeframe.
5. He sought Congressional approval to retain armed forces in theather. Congress then responded with a Resolution extending military involvement for an additional 30 days. Boehner and Co. may not be calling it such publically, but if you read the wording of every letter that he and other high ranking members of Congress has written back to the President on this matter, none say "the 60-day period has expired". Instead, they all use words like "apparent" or "appears to be in violation". If he has violated the law, say so!!!
For w/e reason, Obama has not availed himself of your line of defense, OV.
He instead went with what I had previously suspected he would go with--the poorly defined terms in the WPA:
But the White House argued that the activities of United States military forces in Libya do not amount to full-blown “hostilities” at the level necessary to involve the section of the War Powers Resolution that imposes the deadline.
We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.
This needs to be settled. There're multiple issues with the WPA. The poorly defined terms are just one.
It will take and act of Congress or the SC to decide this matter. I would like it settled. I also would like to see the WPA overhauled, gutted, keel-hauled, and drawn and quartered
I may be wrong.
I see your point, Simon, and I agree. I does seem that the matter of whether or not the President can commit (elements of) the military to conflicts abroad for whatever reason he deems justified does need to be clarified because it's not only the WPA that seemingly "allows" him to act but also the UNPA.
Basically, under the UNPA the President can obtain a U.N. Resolution to "use" the military in a certain way and the WPA provides the legal latitude for the President to "commit" the military to action for a limited time WITHOUT obtaining a declaration of war from Congress. If you believe in the Unitarian Presidency, you have no problem with this exercise of presidential power as it subscribes to the notion that a sitting president has "absolute power" and can circumvent Congress and, by definition, the Constitution. If not, then you're on the side of those who believe that the President has violated the law and that the military should be withdrawn immediately w/o delay.
Frankly, I'm somewhere in the middle and here's why...
While I don't believe the President alone should have the power to declar war, I do believe he should be able to take action, including militarily, on behalf of peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. We all agree that one basic human right in this country is the right to keep and bear arms. We preserve this right so that we can keep a tyrannical government at bay. We believe in democracy, freedom and liberty. As such, shouldn't we do whatever we can to ensure people of other nations have these same rights?
I didn't approve of the Korean War nor the Viet Nam war (as an adult once I learned about it) not because I didn't believe South Korea or South Viet Nam did not deserve the right to live in peace, but rather because in both "campaigns" Congress never made a declarations of war. Yet, Congress allowed both campaigns to continue w/military involvement. (Remember: We didn't have the WPA then, but we did have the UNPA. Admittedly, I didn't know about this Act until recently. Nonetheless, I still believe we acted inappropriately because a war declaration was never passed.) As an adult, I was against Reagan sending troops into Granada because there was no humanitarian issue there. I was against the War in Iraq (which is different from the Iraq War that President Bush, Sr took on) because I believed GWB involved this nation in a war under false pretenses. I can get behind Pres. Obama using military force in Libya for humanitarian reasons, however, because there are no boots on the ground; as such, our military is taking a secondary role to NATO forces, and I'm perfectly fine with that. This should be a NATO-led campaign; the U.S has to learn we are not the police force for the world. And other nations need to start stepping up alot more. But to your point on how muddled the issue of committment of U.S. military force is, I agree. The matter does need to be more clearly outlined/defined.
Last edited by Objective Voice; 06-15-11 at 04:53 PM.