White House Claims Vindication as House Refuses to Authorize Libya War

Officials Say Refusal to Authorize 'Limited' War Proves War Worth Fighting

The attempts by some in the House of Representatives to spin the second of two votes on the Libya War as an “antiwar” alternative, even though it amounted to a de facto authorization of the conflict, did not manage to get it passed. Both failed, albeit with oddly different sorts of votes. Still, the misunderstandings surrounding the second bill have given the Obama Administration an opening to start spinning anew.

Though the first vote was a clear rebuke to the conflict, administration officials insist that the second vote, which failed to “defund” the war with a huge number of exceptions, proved that Congress agrees the war is “worth fighting.”

One was quoted as saying the second vote’s failure “was an acknowledgment that what we’re doing there is important and worth supporting.”

The interesting aspect of this is that a number of outspoken hawks on the Democratic side actually did vote against that second resolution, though it also saw some support from Republicans who voted overwhelmingly against the full authorization.

Many of the hawks argued that the second vote would amount to an end to the war because some in the Pentagon were uncomfortable in continuing without authorization to launch attacks. The exceptions did cover everything else the administration was doing in Libya, however, and if it had passed, would surely have been treated as an “authorization” by the administration.

Though it seems clear President Obama will continue to illegally fight the war in the absence of a court ruling to the contrary, the next vote on the Libya conflict will be the Kucinich bill, which is an actual antiwar bill fully defunding the conflict. This vote is expected in early July and will be a major test to the conflict. With polls showing the American public strongly against the Libya War, the resolution will likely be a close one.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.