Peoples Voice & PressTV – 2011-05-23 10:58:14
Republicans Accuse Obama of Violating War Powers
WASHINGTON (May 20, 2011) — A group of Republican Senators accused US President Barack Obama of violating a 1973 law that limits the White Houseâ€™s war powers.
Citing Obamaâ€™s handling of the conflict in Libya, the Senators contend that the President entered into conflict in Libya without regard for the War Power Act. The law requires that all US forces sent into conflict by the President must be withdrawn within 60 days unless explicitly authorized by the US Congress.
In a letter to the President, Republican Senators Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Tom Coburn, and John Cornyn asked Obama whether he intended to abide by the law, a law often overlooked by Presidents, and ensure US forces are returned home within 60 days.
May 20 marks 60 days of US forces conducting operations over Libya.
“Last week some in your administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely, while others said you would act in a manner consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” the letter said. “Therefore, we are writing to ask whether you intend to comply with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution. We await your response.”
Under the US Constitution only the Congress can legally declare war and commit troops to combat for extended periods of time.
The War Powers Act clarified what authority the White House holds in regards to the US military. It allows a US President to use US forces in the event of an attack on the United States, its territories or forces but requires that an extended use of force be approved by Congress within 48 hours of the commitment. Failure to receive approval means all US forces engaged must be withdrawn within 60 days. The withdraw may take place over a 30 day period, but must begin on or by the 60th day in conflict.
Previous inquiries to the Pentagon regarding the War Powers Act have been ignored or evaded.
“The War Powers Act question is above my pay grade, and so I would refer you to the White House,” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates once said.
Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at The Independent Institute said Obamaâ€™s war in Libya is illegal and unconstitutional, but Obama is not the first US president to violate the law.
Americaâ€™s founders wanted laws to restrict the power of an executive to send a nation to war, thus a requirement was made that war be declared by Congress â€“ not a single leader.
Eland argued Congress has abdicated from their responsibilities to avoid having ot discuss the war or having to go officially on record for supporting or objecting to war.
â€œMore Tea Partiers should get involved in this,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™ve gone way off the end with executive rule and thatâ€™s not a good thing for a republic.â€
Former US President Bill Clinton also ignored the War Powers Act, but he did go to Congress to approve expenses. Obama has given no plans to seek approval for funding for combat missions.
â€œHe knows better,â€ said Eland, citing Obamaâ€™s past as a constitutional law professor. â€œHe was the anti-war president. Now he has one more war than Bush.
Americaâ€™s founding fathers foresaw this and wanted to prevent it. Unfortunately today much of the law is ignored.
Published: 20 May, 2011,
‘US Bill to Expand Pres. War Powers’
May 12, 2011 9:12PM
The US Congress has introduced a resolution that would give the US president wide latitude of powers to wage war on other countries as part of the “war on terror.”
The fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization bill, sponsored by Howard P. â€œBuckâ€ McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee will expand the legal basis for the war on terror and is moving through Congress amid harsh criticism from civil liberties groups, The Washington Times reported on Wednesday.
The proposed legislation clearly states that “the president has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the authorization for use of military force.”
The resolution, known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, comes less than two weeks after the US Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in his compound in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan.
It is expected to replace legislation endorsed by the US Congress on Sept. 14, 2001 that authorized war on the people and groups that planned and carried out the September 11 attacks on the twin World Trade Center buildings in New York.
The provision was basically used by US lawmakers as a legal basis for expansion of the US administration’s powers to detain suspected terrorists without a fair trial and to authorize non-UN-sanctioned drone attacks as well as other clandestine military operations in countries where the US is not formally at war, the report says.
Meanwhile, many civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have seethed at the bill, saying the move will give any American president the unprecedented power to take US to wars wherever, whenever and however he or she wishes.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the proposed bill is problematic as it does not specify an end date to the so-called war on terror, adding that the legislation is widely viewed as a frantic attempt to find the end to the escalating conflicts and abuses of power in the name of fighting terrorism.