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General News    H1'ed 3/25/11

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.

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March 24, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

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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.     

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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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