President Obama did not seek a declaration of war before steering the United States into military conflict with Libya.
That was an affront to the Constitution, which rests the power for declaring wars with the US House and the US Senate, not the White House.
Now the spin doctors have stepped in to defend presidential war-making with claims that, if Congress does not check and balance Obama by refusing funding for the Libya mission, then the members of the House and Senate are giving silent approval to the presidential power grab.
This is an absurd and anti-constitutional construct. But it is popular with Congressional leaders who do not want to take responsibility and with media outlets that like their wars to come in neatly-wrapped packages.
But Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who with Texas Congressman Ron Paul and a few others, has argued for respecting the Constitution, is countering the spin with an amendment that would prohibit federal funds from being used to fund military operations in Libya. The Kucinich amendment would be offered to the next funding measure Congress considers.
Here is the letter that Kucinich sent to members of the House this morning under the header “War Is More than Boots on the Ground: Support an Amendment to End Military Involvement in Libya”:
“Dear Colleague: A few days ago, the United States and our allies began conducting United Nations-sanctioned, U.S.-led military operations against Libya. The establishment of a no-fly zone by the U.S. and our allies, billed as an act to protect civilians in Libya, is an act of war. Yet the President committed the U.S. to military invention without consulting Congress, in clear subversion of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives only Congress the power to declare war.
“According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the initial costs of a no-fly zone could cost the U.S. between $400 and $800 million, or $30 to $100 million per week. We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires. Now, the President is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford. While the Administration assures us that that the U.S. will hand-off its lead role to coalition partners within days, we have not been notified of long-term plans or goals following initial air strikes in the country. The timeline the President gave to Congress was summarized with one word: ‘limited.’
“I intend to offer an amendment to the forthcoming Continuing Resolution or Omnibus Appropriations bill that would prohibit funding for U.S. involvement in military operations in Libya. I urge you to support this amendment.
Sincerely, Dennis J. Kucinich, Member of Congress”