Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bombing People is an Act of War

Pressed by Congress to explain why our intervention in Libya does not fall under the War Powers Act requiring Congressional authorization for military action, the White House has released a 32-page report on the war. So far we have spent $715.9 million there.

The report, says the Washington Post, offers this incredibly lame justification for continuing our involvement without a vote in Congress:

The report says that “because U.S. military operations [in Libya] are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the resolution,” the deadlines for congressional approval or force withdrawal do not apply.

“We’re not engaged in sustained fighting. There’s been no exchange of fire with hostile forces. We don’t have troops on the ground. We don’t risk casualties to those troops,” said one senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity during a conference call arranged by the White House. “None of the factors, frankly, speaking more broadly, has risked the sort of escalation that Congress was concerned would impinge on its war-making power.”

You don't have to send troops into action to have a war. You don't have to engage in sustained fighting. Bombing people is a kind of fighting, and a war waged entirely from the air is still a war. Even a war waged entirely by drones is a war. This weaselly crap turns my stomach. If Obama wants to keep bombing Libyans, he should ask for Congressional authorization. It is what the law requires.

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