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

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It's only one paragraph...not even a full half of the page.

Again it lists UNSCR 1973 as (the already debunked) justification for the President's military action in Libya with no immediate threat to U.S. national security cited.  The short argument made for continuing the U.S. military's role in Libya is, essentially, that if the U.S. withdrew its military support in Libya, its NATO allies might be unable to continue alone, and if they withdrew before the meaningless September 27th NATO extension passed, NATO would lose credibility.

Maybe, or perhaps (more likely) President Obama would.

On the flip side, however, the U.S. Constitution would gain more credibility.  (No, we mustn't have that.)

***

Pages 14-16 lay out the cost for U.S. military operations in Libya, 17-19 the cost for humanitarian operations, and page 20 lists the cost for the Department of State's operations.  While this is all useful information, it's irrelevant to the argument.

***

Page 21--"Analysis of Impact on U.S. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan"-- is also irrelevant but interesting.  The one page argument reassures the reader that the war in Libya has not had any significant operational impact on the activities of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In relation to the DOD's operations in these countries it states:

"All the forces that were briefly diverted from other operations have been replaced, with the exception of one Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG). That capability will be replaced during June 2011. In some cases, forces were delayed in arriving in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the operational impact was mitigated by forces already supporting these operations."

Hey, wait a second...I thought we were trying to remove our forces from those countries.  The U.S. is supposed to start a drawdown of troops from Afghanistan next month, and all U.S. forces are supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.   Just last summer President Obama went on TV and declared an end to the combat mission in Iraq.  (Tell that to the families of the two U.S. soldiers who died during an insurgent attack in Iraq this week, or the pilot of the U.S. military helicopter that engaged in combat with insurgents in Iraq on Wednesday. )

***

Pages 22 and 23 go on to explain the operations of the Transitional National Council of Libya, the political interaction the U.S. has with it, and its transition planning to an eventual new government.

On page 23 it is written:

"To facilitate the vesting of assets blocked by the United States, the Administration supports Senate Bill 1180 (which hasn't been passed yet) that would allow the United States to confiscate property of the Government of Libya to be used for costs related to providing humanitarian relief to the Libyan people. Under this vesting authority, the President would have the authority to decide precisely how the assets would be used, consistent with the legislation. The President would only disburse assets through means that meet our legal and policy standards regarding transparent oversight of the disbursements."

So while the President is not asking for congressional approval to wage war, he is asking for approval to steal the property of the Libyan government in the name of offsetting the costs for humanitarian relief during the war. 

 

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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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