News Release

Obama “Will Not Relent” on Libya; Where’s Congress?


Fox News is reporting: “President Obama warned Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi that the NATO military campaign against his regime ‘will not relent,’ as both he and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed their commitment to the mission and called on Qaddafi to leave power.”

Politico reports: “Obama administration belatedly threatens veto of detainee, war legislation.”

Southworth is legislative associate for foreign policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. He said today: “In an effort led by Rep. John Conyers, Congress will today debate an amendment which would prohibit funding for the deployment of U.S. ground troops in Libya (Amendment # 61). Congress has not authorized U.S. involvement Libya. The War Powers Resolution provision presently being misused by the Obama administration to authorize U.S. involvement in Libya expired on May 19. This debate marks the first time Congress will debate U.S. engagement in Libya. War in Afghanistan will also be debated with several amendments including requiring a plan for leaving (#55), no permanent bases (#117) and a large withdrawal and reorientation of forces to conduct counterterrorism operations (#56). The NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] is the authorizing vehicle for all Pentagon spending, which will total over $700 billion in FY 2012.”

IVAN ELAND, ind.inst.ieland at
Senior fellow at the Independent Institute, Eland’s books include Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty and Putting ‘Defense’ Back into U.S. Defense Policy. He said today: “Barack Obama set a new precedent for getting no Congressional approval whatsoever for taking the country to war in Libya. Whether one agrees or not with the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, at least George W. Bush got some form of congressional approval. Even Bill Clinton, who got no authorization from Congress to bomb Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, at least got Congress to approve special funding for that war. Obama did none of this and is now in violation of the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to withdraw U.S. forces after 60 days if Congress hasn’t voted to approve the war.

“But isn’t this just a technicality? Why is it important? The issue is critical for the American republic because when the United States was founded, the framers of the Constitution thought that one of the biggest threats to citizens’ liberty was incurring the cost — in blood and treasure — of profligate wars, which were started by kings and leaders for their own aggrandizement. Thus, as a safeguard against this travesty happening in the United States, the founders put most of the constitutional war powers, including the power to declare war, in the people’s branch of government — the Congress — not the executive. Since the Korean War, however, the Imperial Presidency has usurped the war power from Congress. Obama’s blatant disregard of the War Powers Resolution is the latest in that process. Congress must reassert its constitutional power by enforcing the War Powers Resolution and demanding a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Libya.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167