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Mr. President, U.N. Resolutions do not trump U.S. Law

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Pentagon officials admitted that the missions included bombing attacks on Libyan surface-to-air missile launchers.

"It was the first time the Pentagon acknowledged that airstrikes continued after the U.S. handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on April 4."

Furthermore, the article states that military officials claimed U.S. fighter jets would still conduct airstrikes in Libya (after April 4th) if NATO made a special request and it was approved by top Pentagon leaders.  The fact that U.S. fighter jets can still be called upon to carry out bombing missions in Libya proves that the U.S. is not acting only in a supportive role, and can still be involved in conflict based on the decisions of military officials, not the U.S. Congress.   On top of that, the approval process only applies to airstrikes meant to protect civilians from Gadhafi's forces. Because the U.S. fighter jets taking out Libyan air defenses have been assigned to NATO and are considered NATO aircraft, the Pentagon argues, their use falls under separate leadership and are not subject to the post April 4th halt in U.S. combat.

(But they're still U.S. fighter jets!)

Understanding this context, one can see why the last line in the quote from the White House's report posted above is intentionally misleading--" Since that April 4 transition, *U.S.* military involvement has been limited to a supporting role, *enabling our allies and partners to ensure the safety of Libyan civilians*."

***

The rest of page 5 and up to page 8 rehashes the history of White House executive orders signed and U.N. Resolutions passed in response to the Libyan crisis, as well as once again mentioning how the White House believes we took too long to respond in Bosnia during the 90's.  In one section, under the title "Where We Are Now" it lists numerous actions that are also being taken by U.S. allies, as if that's relevant to the debate over the President's constitutional authority to take us to war without permission from Congress or his ignoring of the War Powers Resolution deadline.

Pages 9-10 report how wonderful the White House believes the Transitional National Council of Libya (the widely recognized interim government) is and all of the things it has done, and reminds the reader how the United States didn't act alone but led a coalition of other nations...again this has no relevance to the debate.

***

Pages 11 ("U.S. Support to NATO Mission") and 12 describe the role of the U.S. in combat, reiterating the same misleading argument mentioned earlier that the operations were fully under NATO command by April 4th and that the mission of the *U.S.* (not NATO which includes U.S. fighter jets that are still bombing the country) focused now on maintaining the naval arms embargo and the no-fly zone (again, acts of war) and protecting civilians.  They also list the objectives of NATO in the mission.

"As President Obama has clearly stated," it also says on page 12, "our contributions do not include deploying U.S. military ground forces into Libya, with the exception of personnel recovery operations as may be necessary."

According to the President, because the conflict in Libya only involves U.S. fighter jets dropping bombs and no boots on the ground (yet) the current actions of the U.S. in Libya do not constitute acts of war.  By this same argument, then, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor didn't constitute an act of war, either.  Who is he kidding?

***

Page 13:  "Consequences of U.S. Not Participating in NATO Operations"

This is it.  This is the imminent threat to the United States that required the President to act immediately in order to protect its national security without getting approval first from the U.S. Congress.  One would think that such an argument would consist of pages and pages of detailed analysis.

But it doesn't.

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Andrew Steele is the editor of America 20xy-- an independent news service that highlights articles from around the web focusing on international and economic policy, and human rights abuses. The mission statement for the page is a quote from Thomas (more...)
 
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