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.