From Josh Rogin, a statement from the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Taskforce (update, 6.25.11):
The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Taskforce call on Congress and the President to immediately end our war in Libya. The US has been engaged in hostilities for over 90 days without congressional approval, which undermines not only the powers of the legislative branch but also the legal checks and balances put in place nearly 40 years ago to avoid abuse by any single branch of government.
We call on our colleagues in Congress to exercise their legitimate authority and oversight and immediately block any funding for this war. Before the Executive branch further weakens the War Powers Resolution, and before we attack another country in the name of our “responsibility to protect,” we must recommit ourselves to our Constitutional duty and obligation to hold the purse strings and the right to declare war. For decades, the House recognized the need for appropriate checks and balances before another war was waged. We must do the same. We call on Congress to exhibit similar foresight by promptly ending this war and pledging to uphold the laws that characterize America’s commitment to democratic governance.
This statement makes a mockery of the obsequiese White House stenography in the Politico piece entitled “Libya vote a rebuke the White House can live with.”
____________original column below____________
Congress proved its ineptitude, with David Dayen having a perfect description of Speaker Boehner’s incompetence, which cost him the votes of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. Say what you will about Nancy Pelosi, but she wouldn’t bring up such a critical vote if she didn’t have the numbers.
To sum up House preferences on Libya: we don’t like POTUS not asking us for permission, but we don’t want any responsibility either. – Daniel Drezner
Politico has the rundown on the arm twisting, with three dozen Dems voting to rebuke Pres. Obama, ignoring Sec. Clinton’s campaign for him, while stopping shy of using their power of the purse:
It appears that a last-minute White House lobbying effort to stave off Democratic defections worked – at least on the spending-limitation bill. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked House Democrats to back their president in a closed-door meeting in the Capitol Thursday, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon summoned a small group of liberals to the Situation Room at 7 a..m. Friday morning for a classified briefing that may have influenced a handful of votes.
Still, the House rejection of a one-year authorization of the use of force in Libya earlier on Friday represented the most serious congressional challenge to the president’s war-making authority in more than a decade. It was a symbolic vote, but one that was felt on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner (R-OH) told The Cable that U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command in Naples, Italy, told him last month that NATO forces are actively targeting and trying to kill Qaddafi, despite the fact that the Obama administration continues to insist that “regime change” is not the goal and is not authorized by the U.N. mandate authorizing the war.
“The U.N. authorization had three components: blockade, no fly zone, and civil protection. And Admiral Locklear explained that the scope of civil protection was being interpreted to permit the removal of the chain of command of Qaddafi’s military, which includes Qaddafi,” Turner said. “He said that currently is the mission as NATO has defined.”
“I believed that we were [targeting Qaddafi] but that confirmed it,” Turner said. “I believe the scope that NATO is pursuing is beyond what is contemplated in civil protection, so they’re exceeding the mission.”
Now, I’m not squeamish in the least about killing Gadhafi in a declared war where our vital interests are at stake, providing Congress weighs in to approve the funding and the action.
But Pres. Obama waging a “kinetic military action” with NATO as a fig leaf for an assassination plot to effect regime change is something else, especially when the President is doing it on the fly, without oversight and by lying to the American people about what he’s doing.
Pres. Obama has chosen a path that pretends we’re not at war or that “hostilities” don’t exist, as he tries to dance around the War Powers Act. The Pentagon blew this out of the water by giving “imminent danger” pay to “service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores,” as reported by the Washington Post.
All of this kabuki while NATO targets Gadhafi for assassination, because Pres. Obama waved his commander in chief wand.
There goes the republic.