President Obama’s decision to declare war against Libya is as unconstitutional as it is strategically stupid. It might also very well be immoral from the Augustinian and Thomistic traditions of just war.
And, let me be blunt, the Obama administration has been a near total disaster from its opening moments–from its desire to nationalize the health care system to its absurd “cash for clunkers” to its numerous foreign policy blunders (let’s not forget the WikiLeak revelation that Hilary Clinton was having American ambassadors search through the wallets and credit cards of foreign diplomats) and to its intensifying of the power and invasiveness of the Transportation Security Admnistration.
In nearly every way, Americans are less secure and less free than they were before January, 2009. And, this, of course, on top of the incredible erosion of rights and freedoms during President Bush’s two terms.
Now, I will be even more blunt–after yesterday’s invasion, we can call the sitting president either a liar or a fraud. Take your pick and proclaim it loudly. President Obama, which is it, are you a liar or merely a fraud?
Even if we decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and claim him merely a fraud, President Obama should be remembered as our generation’s Nixon, power hungry and abusive.
Correctly and constitutionally, Senator Obama had chided President Bush for his use of military power, claiming the executive branch did not to have the right to intervene and declare war without the consent of Congress. In this, and perhaps only in this, Obama proved to have some backbone and a brain.
Yesterday’s decision shows he has neither.
In every way, after yesterday’s unilateral decision to attack Libya in league an “entangling alliance” of foreign powers, President Obama has abused his position as the chief executive officer of these United States of America. The Constitution states quite clearly that Congress and Congress alone has the power to declare war.
Needless to write, how Congress responds to this gross abuse of power will prove fascinating. The American people can be represented only in the House of Representatives and the Senate, according to our Constitution. As citizens, we have absolutely NO direct say as to who will govern us in the White House or from the Supreme Court.
For this reason, and this reason alone, the Founding Fathers gave the sovereign legislature the power to declare war in Article I, Section 8.
The president of the United States is “commander in chief” of armed forces, but not without restrictions. As the Constitution states in Article II: “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.”
Again, how Congress responds to President Obama’s arrogance will be nothing short of fascinating. This past November, the American people clearly and loudly elected a new Congress, presuming it would reclaim power that had been handed over to the other branches of government as well as restrain the seemingly endless growth of the powers and reach of the federal government as a whole.
If those elected last fall possess even an ounce of honor, they will begin to investigate and possibly (that is, the members of the House) impeach the sitting president. He has grossly abused his power, and Congress must respond in kind, and it must do so immediately and without mercy. Should Congress continue to abdicate its constitutional duties, it will have proven itself impotent and unworthy of representing the American people.
None of this blog is to suggest that somehow war in and against parts of Libya is right or ill. It could be either, frankly, from a Catholic policy of just war. But, the policy of war is always and everywhere fraught with many, many dangers. We will be making alliances from expediency, not right. We will be sending Americans out to deal with the ever-nastiness of a civil war and asking our men and women to shed blood. And, of course, we will be directly responsible for killing civilians in North Africa, what military strategists euphemistically call “collateral damage.”
The Founding Fathers did not give power to declare war to Congress lightly. War affects all, and the decision must be made after serious deliberations and only with the consent of the people through a sovereign legislature.
That the president would presume such a power–especially after this current president’s previous statements against Bush and his general pacific tone–is nothing short of offensive.
It’s worth repeating that President Obama is either a liar or a fraud. Either way, Congress has the republican duty to reclaim its rightful authority and restrain the idiocy and arrogance ruling illegally and unconstitutionally from the White House.
Tom Crowe has offered a fine assessment of the situation in Libya on this blogsite with his post yesterday. http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=15257 The best neutral analysis of the situation is George Friedman’s blog yesterday at Stratfor. http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110319-libyan-war-2011. Dan McCarthy, editor of the American Conservative has kept the updates coming as well. Each of these men is to be commended for their fine work.