Sunday, March 20, 2011


Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton because he (correctly) opposed military intervention in Iraq and she favored it. Now, he is reported to have swung to her support of war in Libya against the advice of the Republican Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates. Here is early reporting from the (its real-timeg blog) on the results so far:

13.16 Russia is calling for an end to 'indiscrimate use of force' by foreign states in Libya claiming that they have led to civilian casualties. Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement:

QuoteIn that respect we call on countries involved to stop the non-selective use of force. . .

113.07 It is of course an irony that the UAE have come to the side of the rebels in Libya while they have also sent forces into Bahrain to help crush the uprising there.

13.00 Libya's government has begun distributing arms to more than one million people and will complete the operation within hours, the state news agency reports today. Jana news agency quoted sources in Libya's defence ministry as saying they "expected the operation to end in the next hours to arm more than a million men and women."

12.56 German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle dismissed allegations that Berlin is internationally isolated after refusing to join its NATO allies in staging military strikes on Libya. He said:

QuoteThe impression that Germany is isolated in Europe or the international community is completely wrong. Many other countries in the European Union not only understand our position, not only respect it, but also share it.

12.54 A Libyan health official said the number of people killed as a result of Western air strikes overnight had risen to 64 from 48, a figure given by the government.

"People died from their wounds so the death toll has risen," said the official, who did not want to be identified. The figure could not be independently verified.

The much-reviled "W" got approval from a Democrat-controlled Senate for intervention in Afghanistan and again for war with Iraq. Subsequently, when sabers were being rattled against Iran in 2007, MSNBC reported:

Democrat Barack Obama introduced a Senate resolution late Thursday that says President Bush does not have authority to use military force against Iran, the latest move in a debate with presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton about how to respond to that country's nuclear ambitions. . .

'We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran,' it says."

Here is the beginning text of a Nixon-era law, which was passed despite a Nixon veto. What part of Section 2(c)(3) applies in the current case of war with Libya?

The War Powers Act of 1973

Public Law 93-148

93rd Congress, H. J. Res. 542

November 7, 1973

Joint Resolution

Concerning the war powers of Congress and the President.

Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This joint resolution may be cited as the "War Powers Resolution".


SEC. 2. (a)
It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.
SEC. 2. (b)
Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
SEC. 2. (c)
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

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