Are you following the growing madness that is Libya policy?
We've been harping on this for some time, so if you're a regular visitor to our site, you know all about this. If not, get a primer here, here and here. Last week, we reported on the bizarre insistence by the bipartisan duo of Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain that the US Congress needs to authorize US military involvement in Libya for up to a year. Their justification: unspecified but urgent "national security" concerns.
This contradicts the original claim that it was humanitarian concerns that motivated the NATO-US involvement -- the need to protect Libyan civilians from the forces of Muammar Qaddafi during a supposedly spontaneous uprising. (An uprising which, as we note, was getting a whole lot of help from CIA and the like.)
On to the latest insanity:
Last Friday, the House of Representatives made an unexpected split decision that only underscores the Looney-Tunes nature of the Libyan debacle. The House rejected a resolution that would have officially authorized the involvement of US troops in Libya. But, on the other hand, it also rejected a tough attempt to restrict funding for the same Libyan adventure.
The first bill, let's call it Legislation A, is the House version of what we previously reported was being pushed by Senators Kerry and McCain, and will be taken up by the Senate this week.
Here are key parts of Legislation A, the full wording of which you can read here:
(a) Authority -- The President is authorized to continue the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya , in support of United States national security policy interests, as part of the NATO mission to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) as requested by the Transitional National Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League.
(b) Expiration of Authority -- The authorization for such limited use of United States Armed Forces in Libya expires one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.
So the House did not go along with Kerry/McCain/Obama, and defeated the bill 123-295. (The Senate is taking up its own version this week).
But then the House voted down what we'll call Legislation B by 180-238. It would have barred funds going to support the bombing and other offensive operations, even though it was vaguely worded in such a way that the military could probably interpret at will -- and would have allowed intelligence, reconnaissance, and so on.
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise available to the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law.
Bottom line -- a majority in the House doesn't want to authorize continued US operations in Libya, but neither does it want to block it outright. The top Republican in the House, Speaker John Boehner, supported what we're calling Legislation B, but 89 of his own Republicans voted against it.
What we're seeing is a chaotic bipartisan free-for-all, with some pro-Obama Democrats going along with whatever he wants to do, and some war-oriented Republicans abandoning partisanship and saying, "why sure, bombs away!"
Here's what the Washington Post said about it:
The two votes highlighted the way that a decade of war has scrambled the politics of foreign policy, and left both parties deeply divided over the Libyan conflict and American war-making in general.