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The Three wars in Afghanistan

Obama and the War Powers deadline

President Obama's 60-day time limit on the use of military force in Libya expires today.

Section 1544(b) of the War Powers Resolution states that "the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" at the end of the 60-day period unless Congress:

  1. declares war or authorizes the use of force
  2. extends the deadline
  3. is unable to meet as a result of armed attack

I am not a lawyer, but 1,2, or 3 have not happened.

If the will of the people was to fight in Libya, either due to threatened interests or some internationalist Responsibility to Protect doctrine, Congress would have authorized force or declared war. Since they didn't, the campaign should be over. Just as you or I can't pick and chose which laws we will obey, the president can't either.

However, the Obama administration has been working on loopholes to get around the 60-day deadline - and they will most likely succeed. So what Congress needs to do now is to craft clear and concise laws instead of the problematic War Powers Resolution. What is a "war?" What does it mean to "declare" war? What constitutes an "enemy?" These should be black-and-white answers and not subject to debate. Therefore, future adventurist presidents will be constrained from sending troops in instances where U.S. security and interests are not threatened.

Update: I had meant to include these quotes from then-Senator Obama in 2007 on the War Powers Resolution (h/t Constitutional Insurgent):

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

"History has shown us time and again ... that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action."

Since candidate Obama is now President Obama, what exactly has changed in order to make his action constitutional?