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6/17/2011
LIBYA: TROUBLE AT HOME, TROUBLE ABROAD

I have two recent articles on the War Powers Act battle in Congress and what’s happening in Libya with NATO and the hapless rebels fighting Gaddafi.

From PJ Media on Thursday, I look at the president’s arrogance in declining to ask congress for authorization to go to war in Libya:

A bi-partisan group of House members led by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC) has filed suit in federal court claiming the administration is in violation of the War Powers Act. Kucinich said: “With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies”

Speaker John Boehner didn’t go that far, but still registered his disgust with the administration’s non-cooperation in explaining the U.S. mission in Libya by sending a letter to the White House on Tuesday calling on the president to “faithfully comply with the War Powers Resolution and the requests made by the House of Representatives, and that you will use your unique authority as our President to engage the American people regarding our mission in Libya.”

On June 4th, the House requested that the administration answer 21 questions in a resolution on Libya that sought clarification on the war, “including its goals and objectives, costs and justification for not seeking congressional authorization.” The measure included a deadline of 14 days for the president to respond.

In his Tuesday letter to the White House, Boehner told the president that he was out of time:

“Given the mission you have ordered to the U.S. Armed Forces with respect to Libya and the text of the War Powers Resolution, the House is left to conclude that you have made one of two determinations: either you have concluded the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the mission in Libya, or you have determined the War Powers Resolution is contrary to the Constitution,” Mr. Boehner wrote. “The House, and the American people whom we represent, deserve to know the determination you have made.”

Given the response of Mr. Koh, it would appear that the president does not believe that firing missiles from drones, manning a blockade line at sea, refueling NATO combat aircraft, and flying sorties that enforce the “no fly zone” in Libya can be defined as American forces engaging in “hostilities” — at least for the purpose of a work-around for the War Powers Act.

My second piece is published at FrontPage.com and is an update on what is going on in Libya and how the NATO alliance is reaching the end of its resources to fight the war:

The rebels’ claim of better coordination and communication is the result of them being equipped with satellite phones and more sophisticated radios — presumably gifts of “non-lethal aid” from the alliance. With much of Libya’s communications infrastructure destroyed, the phones and radios can potentially give the rebels an advantage over government forces.

Aside from humanitarian supplies and such non-lethal aid, NATO can do little to augment what the rebels can scrounge from captured government supplies, or make on their own. In fact, their own resources are being strained to near breaking. They are becoming more dependent on the United States for precision guided munitions and even their stockpile of conventional bombs is running low.

Then there is the strain on the national budgets of Britain and France. The war will cost Britain $1.5 billion by September at a time when the government of David Cameron is making large cuts in social service programs. And while the war flies largely below the media radar — and will probably continue to do so as long as there are few casualties — there is the real possibility that opposition to the conflict will manifest itself in both countries unless a victory can be achieved soon.

These strains have also affected the alliance as a whole. There is widespread agreement among both analysts and military experts within NATO that there is a crisis of resources largely because of a lack of participation in combat operations from several alliance nations that are perfectly capable of contributing but are refusing to do so. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave a withering critique of this lack of support in his speech in Brussels recently. There have also been warnings from the naval chiefs of Great Britain and France that they will not be able to sustain the same level of commitment to the operation unless the conflict can be ended before the end of the year.

As for the Boehner-Obama dust up, Obama wins hands down. There is no way the Kucinich suit has a prayer of succeeding and the speaker’s threat to cut off funding for the war is an empty one. He would need to get such a measure through the Democratic senate and have Obama sign it.

Obama will be able to go on his merry way in Libya - perhaps leading us off a cliff if, as is very possible, ground troops will have to be committed to overthrow Gaddafi. Expect the US role to grow in the coming weeks and months as Europe runs out of bombs and can’t afford to continue operations at the level they are currently being conducted.

Not that anyone would notice…

By: Rick Moran at 7:45 am

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