Saturday, President Obama announced that the United States would join a coalition of nations to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. I'll be honest, I haven't had time to do sufficient research to offer my final opinion on the no-fly zone itself or it's enforcement by the United States, so I won't take a position as of yet on that. Also, if you read my blog on Friday, you know what I think about President Obama's announcing that we wouldn't send ground troops. (1) However, regardless of you personally feel about the military action that the United States is undertaking, it must be noted that President Obama has ONCE AGAIN egregiously ignored the Constitution of the United States, and that is unacceptable.
To be sure, the President was absolutely certain to go the United Nations to gain the "international support" he spent years blasting President George W. Bush for not obtaining before actions in Iraq (since apparently Italy, Poland and Great Britain don't qualify as international support by Obama's definition). Yet he neglected to follow the Constitution of the United States! The Constitution of the United States Article I Section 8 SPECIFICALLY gives the right to declare war to Congress.
(Congress shall have the power) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water. (2)
That means the President is Constitutionally required to obtain Congressional approval (via either declaration of war or by authorization via a War Powers Act). For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means the President can't just go to war. Congress has to agree with him before starting military action.
But wait, Chris, isn't the President the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Military? Correct. President is indeed the highest rank in the United States Military. But let's see what the Constitution says about this aspect of the Presidency:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. (3)
All this says is "the President is Commander in Chief." It doesn't say he can use the military at his pleasure. Article I Section 8 of the Constitution makes that clear. The President MUST obtain the approval of Congress to utilize the United States military! Period.
Yet our President doesn't seem to think this is true. Ignoring the fact that the President sat on his hands until after France, of all countries, took the lead. France, the nation whose battle flag is all white, took the lead while the rest of the world sat there, waiting for America to lead Then, Mr. Obama agreed to support the international coalition in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. Again, I don't necessarily disagree with the action, and with the proper authorization from Congress, he is within his rights to do so. The problem is that the President needed to get a War Powers Resolution from Congress and he has shown absolutely zero intent to do so.
Anyone know where the "the President shall utilize the United States Military with the approval of the United Nations" section of the Constitution is located? What? It's not there? Darn right. This President has once again failed the Constitutional requirements of his office. He has refused to enforce a law which was duly passed by Congress and signed into law by the President and he has been declared to be in contempt of court over his deep water drilling moratorium. He has broken the law three times, all three of which are a violation of the United States Constitution.
Once again, the President of the United States has shown blatant disregard for the Constitution of the United States, all the while yielding the sovereignty of the United States to the United Nations. The President has blatant disregard for the powers that lawfully belong to him. To Barrack Obama, the Constitution seems to be a hurdle to be overcome so that he can do whatever he deems worth doing. This has been proven repeatedly.
I've said this before and I will say it again. The President has committed legitimate impeachable offenses and I believe it is time for the House of Representatives to draw up Articles of Impeachment against him. Nobody is above the law, not even the President. The Constitution is the law of our land, not the President's personal desires. Once again, I do not suggest impeachment without great consideration, especially in light of the fact that many of my counterparts on the left threw that word around like it was their job while George W. Bush was President. I believe that impeachment is to be used in the rarest of circumstances when the law has been broken. I also believe that the President has once again disregarded the Constitution of the United States, failing his oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." For this reason, I say again, the President should be impeached.
President Obama just sent this letter to Congress
In this letter, President Obama did in fact contact Congress to inform them of his reasoning for committing our nation to combat in Libya. Technically he is living within the standards of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
HOWEVER, precedent exists that each military action requires a fresh War Powers Resolution by Congress. That precedent exists since 1973 that Presidents obtain a fresh War Powers Resolution from Congress in such an instance, as was fulfilled by both President Reagan with Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and President Clinton with Operation Desert Fox in Iraq. President George H.W. Bush in Operation Desert Storm and President George W. Bush in Operation Iraqi Freedom, for all intents and purposes, had full declarations of war.
What each of these Presidents have done, which Obama has not done, is seek the official approval of Congress. Obama has not. I must maintain that the President failing to consult Congress as the Constitution requires is an impeachable offense. For the third time, President Obama has failed his Oath of Office.
I must also maintain that the President subordinating the United States to the United Nations on this matter is inexcusable. Making this identical action two to three weeks ago would have likely helped tip the scales in the favor of the Libyan Rebels. Now it may be too little, too late. The President needs to lead, or get out of the way so that America can have a strong leader in the White House!
(1) Obama's Foreign Policy Weakness Shows on Libya
(2) United States Constitution, Article I Section 8 (Line 11)
(3) United States Constitution, Article II Section 2 (Line 1)