Faced with Monday night’s House vote to withhold funding and demands from both parties to provide a justification for the conflict, the Obama Administration today claimed that the War Powers Act doesn’t not apply to the Libya War.
The administration’s argument is that the Libyan War is not technically a war from America’s perspective, since they are only playing a “support” role for NATO’s attacks. Despite this claim, the US has continued to fire missiles of its own at Libya and has troops deployed in the conflict.
The later of which is the actual test under the War Powers Act‘s language, as it requires the administration to seek Congressional authorization for any use of forces beyond a 60 day grace period. Such authorization has not been granted, and it is now nearly 90 days since the attacks began.
Incredibly, the Obama Administration itself was using the War Powers Act as justification early on for its lack of Congressional authorization, insisting it had a full 60 days to do so. With those 60 days long gone, suddenly they have decided it no longer applies. This might explain the linguistic gymnastics of a number of officials, who have referred to the war as a “kinetic action.” Yet the War Powers Act, passed during the Vietnam War era, was careful to not include this out, making it clear all uses of troops required such authorization.
It may get a court test as well, as a number of Congressmen from both parties filed a lawsuit today demanding that the courts order President Obama not to flaunt the law and launch open-ended wars without Congressional approval.