June 7th, 2011 at 08:18am
One thing which has amused me about Obama’s war in Libya is the lack of the usual suspects jumping up and down complaining about the war being illegal. Sure, there’s a couple of them, but the vast majority of people who complained endlessly about George W. Bush taking us in to Iraq, claiming that it was an illegal war among other things, seem to be silent about Barrack Obama taking us in to Libya. This is quite odd considering that the US action in Libya is illegal, and one would expect these people to be upset if they really cared about illegal wars.
While I’m sure that there are some genuine anti-war protestors (they’d be the ones who protested against the Iraq war and are also protesting about this war…not many people, but they’re out there), it’s clear that the motive for most of the people who protested against the Iraq war was not anger with the war, but anger with Bush. This is even clearer when you consider that the claims about the Iraq war being illegal are in fact false.
Casey Hendrickson provides the clearest explanation of this fact that I have seen to date.
UN Resolution 678 authorized force to be used against Iraq for not complying with the Gulf War cease fire. This was never altered, repealed, or replaced by subsequent resolutions. In fact, it was upheld by each.
UN Resolution 1441 upheld the provisions of Resolution 678, and offered Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.” Iraq failed to do so. As a result, a US led coalition (larger than the first Gulf War) launched an invasion after Saddam refused to step down. The invasion started in March 2003.
In October of 2002 (5 months prior to the invasion) the US Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
To recap, President Bush had international authorization to use force (even though it was unnecessary), and he had full approval from Congress. Congress also continued to approve US efforts in Iraq on an annual basis in spite of rhetoric from Democrats.
UN Resolution 1973 authorizes the use of force by member nations. Just as UN Resolution 678 did with Iraq.
Unlike Iraq, however, Obama never sought the approval of Congress to attack Libya. This is a violation of his own political rhetoric, but it is NOT illegal.
That is, until May 20, 2011.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 allows the President of the United States to use military force abroad for 60 days without seeking the approval of Congress. Obama missed that deadline. As a result, he is factually in violation of US law.
Earlier I mentioned that UN approval to use force against Iraq was unnecessary, and it was. As it would be for the US to act against Libya, so long as Congress approved. Moving against the will of the United Nations is not a violation of international law, it is a violation of an international agreement. US law is the higher authority in our legal system, and that has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Neither President Bush or Obama have violated any international treaty.
President Obama is now in violation of US law. President Bush was never in violation of US law. President Clinton was not in violation of US law, or international treaty when he authorized Operation Desert Fox.
Had Obama gone to Congress and asked for their approval to engage in military operations against Libya, and they approved, everything would be legal with regard to Libya. You may disapprove of it for some moral reason, but it would still be legal. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Obama is, in fact, breaking the law by continuing to use the US military against Libya. His supporters are continuing to show their hypocrisy by supporting him instead of protesting him as they did Bush. And yes, this is a justifiable impeachable offense.
(h/t Casey Hendrickson, read more on his blog)
It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. Bush, and Clinton for that matter, went about running their wars in a legal manner, whereas Obama is breaking the law. The sooner he is held to account for it, the better.
Entry Filed under: General News