Obama Loves Himself Some Unitary Executive Action. Get Some!
Obama’s justification for the use of force without congressional approval simply FAILS. Read how he tried to explain his unitary executive action:
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.
We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Qaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit Qaddafi’s air defenses, which paved the way for a no-fly zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities, and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance.
If you recall, al Qaddafi’s forces approaching Benghazi were stopped by the French Air Force prior to the US aerial bombing of select targets with a 110 tomahawk cruise missiles. The CNN timeline that day reports airstrikes southwest of Benghazi at 6:23 a.m. and the US launching its first missiles at 9:44 p.m. It’s obvious that French planes were operating in theater all day long without the US having to bomb any Libyan air defense systems. So how does Obama’s explanation make any sense? It simply doesn’t add up – at all.
Obama also mentions that he consulted with the bipartisan leadership of Congress. So what? The War Powers Act requires a joint resolution to be passed. Around the blogosphere, you’ll see supporters saying that the Senate approved action on March 1st, which is a total lie. That was in fact a nonbinding resolution, not the required joint resolution approved by both House and Senate. You’ll also see the weaker claim that we have a treaty with UN nations, and therefore UN resolutions allow the President to take unitary executive action. They don’t. The War Powers Act 1973 specifically states treaties do not abrogate the need for congressional approval (unless the treaty itself specifies the specific military action).
The simple fact of the matter is that Obama loves himself some unitary executive action, and decided to skate around the the law of the land which requires any military action done in the absence of an imminent, direct threat to the US or its armed forces to have approval from our elected representatives in Congress.