In an attempt to thwart growing discontent with the war in Libya, two top senators on Tuesday unveiled a resolution that would give President Obama the authority to continue operations there for one year.
The President did not seek congressional approval when he launched airstrikes on Libya on March 19, which in mid-May became illegal under the War Powers Resolution. Disregarding the legal advice of his top administration and military lawyers, Obama held last week that U.S. military operations in Libya are exempt from the requirements of the War Powers Resolution.
After various bipartisan attempts in Congress to effectively force the President to terminate all Libya operations absent the consent of the legislature, and after a provocative legal case laid against Obama for engaging in an illegal war, Senator John McCain and Senator Kerry have now introduced a resolution in order to validate Obama’s war in Libya before the growing opposition could stop him.
Given that such congressional opposition to Obama’s expansive application of executive authority has the full force of law behind it, and given the fact that it does represent the will of the people in this case, this resolution reveals an intention to prevent any challenge whatsoever to the Executive’s war-making powers.
This development comes as growing opposition to the Libyan war has begun to spill over into Afghanistan. The McCain-Kerry resolution was introduced one day before President Obama’s announcement on troop levels in Afghanistan. Democrats in Congress have been pressuring Obama for a full drawdown of troops, while the Republican Party has been voicing concerns with rising noninterventionist sentiment of late.
But with Afghanistan and apparently with Libya as well, this administration has demonstrated its determination to do whatever it takes to continue to break the law and conduct war without challenge.