War Powers? What War Powers?

I have emerged from my proposal hermitage. And in the time between now and the rapture (be sure to set your alarms!), I’m starting to wonder: does anyone give a shit about the law anymore?

President Obama may be on the brink of breaking the law.

At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days.

The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline.

Administration officials don’t yet feel compelled to seek such permission and some party leaders have been satisfied with the information flow so far, but still, inaction is angering other lawmakers from both the left and the right who rarely agree on anything.

Let’s be blunt, shall we? The President is not “maybe” breaking the law; he is breaking the law. He was on shaky ground to begin with — the President should have used the War Power for rapid action and then gotten Congressional approval. But he doesn’t even seem remotely inclined to comply with the law. And our Congressional leaders can’t be bothered to press him on it. And do I even need to remind everyone that the Eeevil Tyrannical Bush complied with the War Powers Act? As has every other President? (Clinton may have broken it in Kosovo.)

Of course, they did find time to work out a deal to extend the Patriot Act, which expires in a week, for four years with zero additional oversight. When it comes to gobbling up liberties, deadlines are absolutely vital. But limiting the power of the President? Meh.

Update: The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get. We’ve gone from a situation where Congress took the War Power with the seriousness it deserves to the eve of the Iraq War, when they essentially punted any responsibility back to the President, to now, when they’re just too busy to bother.

The simply don’t want to take responsibility — either for ending our Libyan escape or continuing it. They’re happy to just blame Obama for it (as they blamed Bush for Iraq). It’s disgusting.

Update: Obama has no graciously asked Congress to authorize the war. Consider me unmollified. The President should have been seeking and Congress should have been debating this from day one.

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    Perhaps we’ll get an impeachment against HRH Obama…

    But he doesn’t even seem remotely inclined to comply with the law.

    Laws don’t apply to the messiah, he above them, and all of us. Just ask him (or Valerie Jarrett, who does all his thinking for him)…

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    S O I’m afraid impeachment has become a hollow threat, Clinton was found guilty of 3 felony charges and during the punishment phase the bailiff didn’t even “whack his peepee”

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  3. NativeSon

    bailiff didn’t even “whack his peepee”

    Classic Cheech & Chong! I haven’t heard that in a long time. Thanks for the laugh.

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  4. Rann

    re: Obama finally getting around to asking for it.

    Someone on his staff obviously finally put this to him in terms that he could understand: his campaign. I’m betting they told him that it wouldn’t be very good for his reelection chances if he did something that could theoretically have bipartisan support for impeachment proceedings going on during the campaign. As much of a hollow threat as it might be, it would be one hell of a smackdown in debates when his opponent said “My opponent set the bar quite high for himself going in. Clearly I should set mine right around ‘Don’t do something impeachable’.”

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    Impeachment is a hollow threat because Clinton managed to spin things as “I’m being persecuted for getting nookie” instead of “I’m a felon”. Impeachment and prosecution could make a comeback if he manages to really piss off congress.

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  6. Hal_10000 *

    I’m just wondering: will all the leftists who screamed about Bush’s “illegal” war (which wasn’t illegal) start screaming about Obama’s illegal are (which actually is?)



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  7. Kimpost

    Surely you must have noticed that many on the left are disappointed in Obama for not leaving Afghanistan? For still having people in Iraq? For not closing Gitmo?

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  8. Kimpost

    Krugman has written several critical op-eds on Obama not being lefty enough for his liking. Mass demonstrations are absent, though. After all, he’s their guy. As much theirs as he can be in US politics (with only two parties).

    The lesser of two evils, I guess?

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  9. Hal_10000 *

    Krugman is at least consistent on some issues. Greenwald is another one who has called out Obama on this. But the lefty base is silent.

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  10. AlexInCT

    Come on Harley. You do know that Bush’s wars where all illegal because he had an (R) next to his name, and no democrat ever can be involved in an illegal war, so you are just being crazy asking stupid stuff like this.

    Besides’ Obama isn’t in Libya to steal oil for the US: he is doing it for the French, the Italians, and the other Euros to keep their hands on that oil and to prevent a flood of Libyan refugees, so this is a just war!

    Watching the left pretend Bush was evil while they are good is galling, but we need to hammer home the hypocrisy of these people that have no problem risking all our lives for political gain.

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