Speaking today on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates rejected the notion of Congress withholding funds from he Libyan War on legal grounds, saying it is “always a mistake” to cut off funding from an ongoing war.
Not to worry however, because even though officials have no idea when the war will actually end and don’t believe Congress has any oversight over the conflict, the outgoing Secretary Gates says he believes the war eventually “end ok” if it is allowed to continue.
The House of Representatives is expected to debate a bill to defend the war, possibly as soon as this week. The “power of the purse” has long been accepted as the ultimate ability for Congress to prevent ongoing wars it objects to. Though Gates did not dispute the existence of this power, he insisted it should never be used.
Gates also appeared to throw his own Pentagon chief legal counsel under the bus today in his comments, saying that he agreed with President Obama’s claim that the Libya War wasn’t technically “hostilities” and therefore didn’t require Congressional authorization. The Pentagon’s counsel as well as the Justice Department chief counsel told President Obama this was not the case.
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