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Should US military get involved in Libya?

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    Thus far President Obama has refrained from committing to a broader involvement in the Libyan Civil War.  With Ghaddafi seemingly getting the upper hand back by bombing rebel positions in eastern Libya, there is considerable pressure on him to invoke a "No-Fly Zone" over Libya, a position supported by the Arab League.

    Just a couple of weeks ago on February 25th, Secretary Gates had this to say in a speech to West Point graduates:

    “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General [Douglas] MacArthur so delicately put it.”

    “And I must tell you, when it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect,” he quipped. “We have never once gotten it right, from the Mayaguez to Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Balkans, Haiti, Kuwait, Iraq, and more – we had no idea a year before any of these missions that we would be so engaged.”

    “There has been an overwhelming tendency of our defense bureaucracy to focus on preparing for future high-end conflicts – priorities often based, ironically, on what transpired in the last century – as opposed to the messy fights in Iraq and Afghanistan,”


    So would implementing a "no fly zone" over Libya be a first step towards another "messy fight" like those in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Would it lead to troops on the ground and drag out for years?
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    I wrote the original post 6 days ago, and now we are involved in military operations, but as the President said, there will be no American troops on the ground. I hope that holds true.

    The actions implementing a "no-fly zone" were sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League, but apparently the US Congress was not consulted, and that is causing problems for some Congressional members both on the left and the right. For the right it was a question of process as many fully supported the actions and indeed wanted Obama to take unilateral action must earlier...John McCain was one of those.  But on the left, many are asking where this military actions is all leading...what is the end game?

    Congress was not in session last week, but Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Democrat, raised several constitutional questions in a letter to Speaker Boehner: “I therefore call on Speaker Boehner to call an emergency session, returning members to Washington, so the president may address a joint session of Congress and be given the opportunity to make the case for war,” she said.

    I suppose as a matter of urgency, full consultation was not an option as Khaddafi had already launched his campaign to smash the rebels in Benghazi and he needed to be stopped quickly.

    I can also certainly appreciate the need for military assistance for the rebels as Khaddafi stated his intention to kill them.  And knowing the mind of Khaddafi, I think we had to take him at his word.  He hasn't survived in power for 41 years by making concessions to his people, but rather systematically eliminating any opposition over the years.  It is similar, in many respects, to how Saddam Hussein held onto power.

    Nevertheless, I am concerned about the broader escalation of America's role and indeed what is the end game if Khaddafi is allowed to remain in power. Or how could the coalition actually take him out?  That's not even in the UN mandate. And if Khaddafi is taken out or resigns, just what Libyan is ready to step in and take his place?  Any strong potential candidate has long  ago been eliminated as a threat to Khaddafi.

    I don't have any answers to these questions...just a lot of concerns.  Other can chime in as we watch events play out in the next several days and weeks. It is worth critical thinking and debate.
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    The far left has gone a bit crazy here and gave this far more legitimacy than it deserves. You can be against the U.S. taking action, but the constitutional argument is wrong on so many levels. You would have to say most previous Presidents took unconstitutional action plus the war powers act has provisions for taking action now and notifying and getting congress approval for further action.

    The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days.

    According to this news article "Obama has stressed that he informed key congressional leaders in a private meeting at the White House on Friday. A top White House aide also phoned congressional leaders on Saturday as the mission officially began."

    Obama also issued Congress a formal letter in which he made the statement, "I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution."

    President Obama also said: "There are a whole range of policies that we are putting in place that have created one of the most powerful international consensuses around the isolation of Mr. Gadhafi and we will continue to pursue those. But when it comes to the military action, we are doing so in support of U.N. Resolution 1973 that specifically talks about humanitarian efforts, and we are going to make sure we stick to that mandate."

    If someone is against something and can't make a proper argument, they love to simply call it unconstitutional. It is usually the right that does this though. Make your argument against military action in this case or try to explain why you actually think this is unconstitutional.

    That's what bothers me so much about Dennis Kucinich's comments about impeachment. Publicly attacking your own President enough to call for his impeachment? When Obama took all the necessary legal steps? This is just a selfish move by Kucinich to gain power and standing with Obama detractors in the Democratic party who want to find any reason to criticize the President. Dennis, put your arguments to the test by providing specifics on what your rationale for impeachment is and defend them with facts & good arguments. Or issue an apology and admit your were wrong. That's what I say.

    It's hard to argue against something when you have support from the U.N., NATO & the Arab League. This also was not some secret\surprise action. Also, there isn't any manufactured, "secret" or controversial evidence for these actions. The attacks on civilians is pretty well documented. That's why there is such a strong resolution by the U.N with broad support.
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    I agree with Jason 100%.
    Kucinich is admirable fellow, but he needs to sit down and shut up.


    A lot of folks on the left and right are circulating this quote by Obama in 2007:

    "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.”

    Notice the words "unilaterally authorize" ........

    Well apparently most of Obama's detractors both left and right...don't & they are using this quote to discredit the president.

    Now look....my view of the constitution is this....the president is commander-in-chief....but only Congress can declare war; hence the president is tasked with defending the nation from attack...while Congress is tasked with authorizing offensive actions.
    And guess what, Congress already authorized this attack on Libya, via UN treaty commitments, and the WAR POWERS ACT, which Jason pointed out. So yes, the Constitution does not give the President the power to attack Libya in this instance. Congress did. Obama is right. Kucinich is wrong. And we should be a force of good in the world, and yes we should help protect innocent life from the tyranny of brutal dictators.