Explaining the Obama administration’s rationale for violating the War Powers Act by not asking Congress for authorization to attack Libya, the White House claims that what’s going on in Libya isn’t war, it’s a “kinetic military action.” This set off such a round of guffaws – even from Libya war supporters in the Democratic congressional caucus – that the administration felt compelled to send a government lawyer to Congress to elaborate on this exercise in Doublespeak. Harold Koh, the State Department’s lawyer-in-chief, explained to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that since there was no back-and-forth firing between American and Libyan forces, the Libyan intervention isn’t a real war – and therefore the President is not in violation of the War Powers Act. (No word yet on whether he’s in violation of the Constitution, which gives Congress, and not the President, the power to make war.)
This, by the way, is the same Harold Hongju Koh who once authored a legal brief [.pdf] challenging George Herbert Walker Bush’s authority to fight the first Iraq war, on the grounds that “the Constitution requires the president to consult with Congress and receive its affirmative authorization – not merely present it with faits accomplis – before engaging in war.”
Oh, but this isn’t a war – didn’t you hear me the first time? As Koh explained to the befuddled solons in his opening statement: the word “hostilities,” which “triggers” the 60-day time line imposed by the War Powers Act, is “an ambiguous term of art.” Translation: it can mean anything anyone wants it to mean – especially if that anyone is a sitting Democratic president. After all, Koh argued, the word wasn’t defined in the legislation, and there is no legislative precedent that would define it for us. Oh, and put down that dictionary – we don’t use them in ObamaWorld, which is in the same galaxy as Bizarro World. Instead, we must stick to “historical practice.”C.I. covers the wars in the snapshot today and reading, for example, Michael Ratner discussing the Libyan War in the snapshot or Justin Raimondo discussing it above, it is obvious just what gifted liars are now in the administration.
They know what they're doing is wrong. But they have contempt for the law, contempt for democracy and contempt for citizens. George W. Bush was an idiot. Barack Obama has a law degree. I'd argue they are both War Criminals but Barack's worse because he knows better.
He is breaking the law.
As awful as that is, has anyone explained to you why the US went to war with Libya.
Excuse me, Barack doesn't call it war.
Has anyone explained to you why the US is heavy petting with Libya?
No, because there's no reason for the war.
Did Libya attack the US?
There's no reason for the war.
Barack wants their leader gone.
Well there are rulers who want Barack gone. If they attacked the US, we'd call it war and be outraged.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):