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Kucinich Demands Immediate End to U.S. Role in the War in Libya

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to President Obama that it was improper to commit the United States to a military  intervention in Libya without prior Congressional approval and clear objectives.  Kucinich questioned the criteria used for intervention and informed President Obama of his intent to introduce a bipartisan amendment that would cut off all funds for the U.S.'s role in Libya to the next funding measure to be considered.

The letter was sent immediately upon the President's return to the United States from a trip to South America that began after the President announced U.S. participation in military intervention in Libya without seeking prior Congressional approval for the use of military force as required by the Constitution .

Kucinich's amendment to defund U.S. military intervention in Libya is cosponsored by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Ron Paul (R-TX).    

See a signed copy of the letter here .   The full text of the letter follows.

March 24, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write in response to your letter of March 21, 2011 to the House of Representatives, regarding the commitment of U.S. Armed Forces to Libya. As the United States and its allies continue military intervention in Libya, I am deeply concerned about the White House's neglect of its responsibility to seek Congress' authorization to use military force prior to the commitment of U.S. armed forces.   I am equally concerned about the potential for further instability in the region as a result of U.S-led international intervention in Libya.  

You stated in your letter that U.S. military forces have been committed "to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners" at your direction. While testifying before the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that imposing a no-fly zone over Libya was an act of war, stating that "A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses." [1] The authority you claim in your letter to commit an act of war in the form of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is inconsistent with the Constitution, which, as you know, is defined in Article 1, Section 8 to give Congress the sole power to declare war .   It is also in sharp variance to your own statement in a December 2007 interview in which you affirmed that "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." [2]  

Not only were those preconditions not present, but Congress was available to consider a presidential request for authorization to use military force, had you chosen to submit one.   It is deeply troubling that in the weeks leading up to the passage of the U.N. resolution, you neglected to come to Congress for authorization to use military force. Your efforts to gather support from the U.N., The Arab League , and other international allies prior to launching the strikes is well-known. Your neglect of seeking support from the U.S. Congress was not proper and contrary to your own publically stated understanding of the Constitution.     

My concerns about a war in Libya are not limited to questions of constitutionality, but extend to your criteria for intervention.   If your criteria for military intervention in another country is instability and government sponsored-violence, as you suggest in your letter, we will stretch far too thin our already overcommitted military.   We will also dramatically increase our military presence in the Middle East . Anti-Americanism will rise, accompanied by popular resentment toward a foreign occupier.   If the criteria are more localized, and you will commit our Armed Forces to military intervention only in certain cases of government-sponsored violence against a popular uprising, then we will have an inconsistent foreign policy that will also elicit anti-American sentiment.  

During a press conference at the Pentagon earlier this month, Secretary Gates warned of the negative implications of U.S. military involvement in Libya: "All of the options beyond humanitarian assistance and evacuations are complex. ... If we move additional assets, what are the consequences of that for Afghanistan ? For the Persian Gulf?...We also have to think about, frankly, the use of the U.S. military in another country in the Middle East." [3]   The implications for our own national security should not have been ignored and cannot continue to be ignored.

I am also gravely concerned about the objectives of the intervention.   You stated in your letter that the goal of intervention is "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya." I wholeheartedly support the Libyan people's desire for democratic reform and representation and agree that the United States has a role in providing humanitarian assistance to Libyan civilians. However, the idea that military intervention for humanitarian purposes in Libya would lead to greater stability in the region runs counter to the track record of recent U.S. - led military interventions in the Middle East and threatens to commit the U.S. to another quagmire in the region.   American military efforts to depose despotic and inhumane leaders of Middle Eastern countries have turned out to be much larger undertakings than Congress was led to expect.   President Muammar Gaddafi can reasonably be expected to hang on until the bitter end in a protracted battle.  

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Dennis Kucinich is former US Congressman and two-time presidential candidate from Ohio who served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Visit his website at  KucinichAction

Follow him on Twitter at @Dennis_Kucinich

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THE MAN ! ! ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 12:27:31 PM
A superlative letter! You are truly about hope and... by Chantal Laurent on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 2:19:13 PM
Way to go there Dennis, you are boasting Gaddafi's... by Mac McKinney on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 4:29:08 PM
enough down in Haiti, Mac? I think the sun's frie... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 6:39:13 PM
Nope, but it is pretty clear that a lot of people ... by Mac McKinney on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 7:04:42 PM
when my brain is talking; but not when I listen to... by GLloyd Rowsey on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 8:54:38 AM
n/t... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 11:14:02 PM
Military/Financial/Industrial/Governmental Complex... by Bugger on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 10:53:36 AM
incinerates Kaddaffi, peace and freedom breaks out... by sommers on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 6:54:59 PM
The war in Afghanistan was to go after alleged cul... by Steven G. Erickson on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 7:55:48 PM
I, of course, have been saying that the wars in Ir... by Mac McKinney on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 9:37:34 PM
Thank you Rep. Kucinich. The crux of the issue for... by George Eliason on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 1:02:14 AM
Looks like we, the liberals are going to betray ou... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 7:14:55 AM
Mark, I'm disappointed in you and Dennis on this i... by Jim Arnold on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 1:38:13 PM
support the nearly-defunct peace movement in this ... by Bugger on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 11:06:50 AM
Kucinich's principles are compromised by the fact ... by Mac McKinney on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 12:16:18 PM
Keith Harmon Snow on Africa, and if you think your... by GLloyd Rowsey on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 1:12:01 PM
Kucinich's letter is one thing, what was even wors... by Mac McKinney on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 2:32:58 PM
Dennis Kucinich went to Madison, Wisconsin, and ga... by Debbie S on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 2:05:19 AM
It is interesting that a call for peace or at leas... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 1:41:17 PM
I can look at myself in the mirror anytime and tel... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 3:03:09 PM
Mac,you speak about the rights of humanity but is... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 3:59:16 PM
Yousay, "I have seen no proof that we are using DU... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 4:01:48 PM
The above question put to me by Conrad as to wheth... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 6:55:24 PM
If you knew what the Hell you were talking about, ... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 5:50:04 PM
I am not your mate Mac. For as lengthy as your re... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 6:53:45 PM
Mate can just as well mean dude as friend, so don'... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 7:07:45 PM
Perfect than. I see what you're saying. This war o... by Chantal Laurent on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 7:45:33 PM
Aren't you perhaps reading what you want into this... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 8:43:43 PM
Thanks for the input on the Libya intervention. ... by conrad elledge on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 11:05:26 PM
is, as it always is, nationalization of all of Lib... by zonie on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 4:10:06 PM
So more war is peace? I don't think so. If the UN ... by Debbie S on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 4:36:14 PM
Yet he won't proceed with Impeachment charges.Lot ... by Michael Richardson on Saturday, Mar 26, 2011 at 6:54:44 PM
I agree that the power of the President to start m... by Allen Gerhardt on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 7:06:46 AM
Obama's Speech on Al QaedaBecause of you, and all ... by Chantal Laurent on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 4:52:40 PM
Chantal, you know better than most how dictators l... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 8:03:05 PM
. "Al Qeada" has always been a propaganda tool and... by conrad elledge on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:34:04 AM
Really simple answer there: the Neocons and their ... by Mac McKinney on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 3:48:56 PM
Obama is as dead wrong, legally, as Bush in making... by Robert Tracey on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 5:29:45 PM
You're breaking my heart, Mate! NOTI don't need fa... by Mac McKinney on Sunday, Mar 27, 2011 at 6:11:36 PM
You sure your hat shouldn't resembleclick here tha... by Michael Richardson on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:32:48 AM
Playing the al Qaeda canard doesn't cut it. In the... by Mac McKinney on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 5:33:39 AM
Governor Walker of Wisconsin revealed at a news co... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 8:11:16 AM
It is really a shame, how Walker bull-sh*ts to cau... by Debbie S on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:49:45 PM
I agree with you, Debbie, but I was trying to use ... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 1:07:42 PM
You scared me, I have many relatives in Wisconsin.... by Debbie S on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 6:43:50 PM
This conversation would be pointless if those argu... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:37:17 AM
and - depending on your definition - there hasn't ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 8:21:08 AM
We could quibble about how many "holocausts" there... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:40:15 PM
I have to keep speaking out there GLloyd, because ... by Mac McKinney on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 3:57:08 PM
write articles for HuffPo. The mistake goes back ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 at 11:23:00 PM
When a person of integrity (such as Kucinich or Br... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 10:12:44 AM
I'd have no problem with an Intervention Powers Ac... by Jim Arnold on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:58:56 PM
It was the 11th hour when UN Resolution 1973 was f... by Mac McKinney on Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 4:21:19 PM
when he says "To give it a more clear and positive... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 at 8:56:50 PM
i thought that i was supposed to get an email tell... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 at 9:02:14 PM
You got it.You have to set how the comments are co... by Mac McKinney on Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 at 10:40:43 PM