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General News    H2'ed 6/16/11

Kucinich and Turner Debate the War Powers Act, Amy Goodman Refs

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Today's June 16th Democracy Now! program took on a new hot item in the news, the debate as to whether Obama is in defiance of the War Powers Act regarding his decision to take part in implementing UN Chapter 7 Security Council Resolution 1973. The debaters were, to quote Democracy Now! :

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democratic congressman from Ohio.

Robert Turner, co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law. He worked as an attorney in the Reagan White House. He is the author of two books and many articles on the War Powers Resolution.

Here is the debate on YouTube video in two parts, followed by the Rush Transcript:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Rush Transcript :

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the war in Libya and the intensifying debate in Washington over the legality of the war. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 10 members of Congress sued President Obama for violating the War Powers Resolution by failing to obtain congressional approval for the Libya operation after 60 days. The lawsuit was filed one day after the Republican-controlled House passed a measure that would bar funding for the U.S. role in the attack on Libya.

On Wednesday, the White House responded to the criticism by issuing a 38-page report that argued the War Powers Resolution does not apply because the U.S. role in Libya is limited, and thus does not require congressional approval. The report asserts, quote, "U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops," unquote.

During a news conference on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney warned members of Congress not to send mixed messages about the U.S. military efforts in Libya.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: We believe that the support for the overall mission, the support for the goal of protecting Libyan civilians and holding Colonel Gaddafi accountable, will continue. It is support that we've had from Congress in the past, and we expect it to continue, because now is not the time to send mixed messages, as we've had the success that we've had in that mission.

AMY GOODMAN: We're joined now by two guests. Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is with us in Washington, one of 10 members of Congress who sued President Obama Wednesday. And joining us from Charlottesville, Virginia, Robert Turner is with us. He worked as an attorney in the Reagan White House, co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law, longtime critic of the War Powers Resolution, author of two books and many articles on the subject.

Well, we'll start with you, Congressmember Kucinich. Why have you sued President Obama?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Because his actions taking the United States into war against Libya were in violation of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which makes it very clear, right from the foundation of this country, that Congress has the power to declare war. And the President did not go to Congress for this action against Libya. We are attempting to correct an imbalance that has occurred, not only during this administration, but over the years, where executives have appropriated for themselves the war power without checking with Congress. And, of course, in our lawsuit we also address the War Powers Act, which the President is in violation of. And we also state that neither the approval of NATO nor the U.N. Security Council supersedes the Constitution of the United States. And finally, Amy, where's this money coming from? Who's paying for this? There's been no appropriation for Libya. We need to get some answers on that, as well.

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