Explaining the silence on Libya 

Today is the 60th day since President Obama sent a letter to Congress explaining his military actions in Libya. Therefore, according to the War Powers Act, Obama must cease all military action in Libya unless Congress: 1) has authorized force; 2) has extended the deadline: or 3) can’t physically meat because the nation is under attack.

None of these has occurred. If Obama continues to use military assets in Libya tomorrow it will be illegal under U.S. law. So why isn’t anyone in Congress making a big deal about it? Three reasons:

1) Democrats care more about Obama’s presidency than they do about the rule of law: Democrats should be the most vocal opposition to a President who is prosecuting a war in violation a law that they wrote and passed not even 40-years ago. But it is a Democrat President breaking that law, not a Republican. Outside of true-believers like Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, expect Democrats to remain silent.

2) Many in Congress support the mission: There is a sizable group of Senators who believe that, if anything, Obama has been too timid in Libya. Sens. Joe Liberman, I-Conn., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. are all on record arguing for Obama to use more force. Rubio has even left the door open for the use of ground troops.

3) Many Republicans believe the War Powers Act is unconstitutional: The War Powers Act is still good law, but it has never been challenged in court. Sen. John McCain, R-Ari., who supports the mission, told The Cable: “I’ve never recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, nor has any president, Republican or Democrat.”

If Congress does do anything on Libya, it will probably be outside of the War Powers Act. Look for a conservative Senator to raise a point of order on the budget early next week. Critics of the military intervention in Libya will probably try to check the President by cutting off funding for the war.

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Conn Carroll

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