Obama’s war powers

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 22, 2011

Last Friday marked the 60th day after President Obama committed U.S. military forces in action against Libya. Sixty days is an important number because the War Powers Act requires the President to get congressional authorization within 60 days of committing U.S. forces to military action.

There’s some dispute over whether or not the War Powers Act is constitutional and there are certainly prominent legal scholars on both sides of the argument. On one, you have a man smeared as a torture-enabler, on the other you have prominent law professor and President of the United States Barack Obama.

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.

In Obama’s defense, when he said that there was a Republican in the White House; a Republican who had received congressional authorization when he committed military forces.

Now that Obama’s in charge, these laws apparently don’t apply to him. Who’s the “imperial president” now?

It would be one thing if Obama came out and publicly reversed his position on what powers the president has to conduct military action, but he hasn’t. Beldar:

Yes, Obama is now urging Congress to go ahead and give him permission for this not-war that the War Powers Resolution — if there is one, which we're not quite admitting there might be, but just, if there were, y'know, and if it were constitutional, which we're not denying or admitting today since we're not admitting that one exists — otherwise made illegal effective at the end of Friday.

I am not a lawyer, so my analysis of the constitutionality of the War Powers Act isn’t worth squat. However, I am troubled by the idea that the President can commit the U.S. military to any foreign conflict of any scale for any amount of time without even as much as a nod to the constitution’s requirement that the Congress is required to declare war (or “use of military force” or “kinetic military action”). Likewise, Congress’ apparent disinterest in exercising its power of the purse to at least force the president to come to them with something resembling a plan speaks poorly of them as well.

Finally, the silence from the media is deafening: What if Bush had done this?


They don't want states, SCOTUS (at least not one that protects individual rights) or Senate. They want direct national control--& they want corporations to help implement policies & shut down expression that threatens them. I just wish they knew the definition of "fascist"

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May 2011



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