(CNSNews.com) – In a 30-page report justifying continued military involvement in the NATO-led strikes in Libya, the Obama administration claims that U.S. military involvement is “legitimated” by the UN Security Council – saying that therefore no congressional authorization is needed.
“U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo,” the report said.
Obama also claimed that the U.S. military’s involvement falls under his constitutional authority as commander in chief and his power to conduct foreign relations.
“Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad,” the report said.
Thirdly, the administration claims that its actions are not governed by the War Powers Act because the U.S. involvement does not constitute “hostilities” – the term used by the act to limit the time the president may commit U.S. forces into combat.
The War Powers Act limits the president to a unilateral military commitment of no more than 60 days before he must request congressional authorization. However, Obama claims that he needs no such authorization.
“The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.”
While the report misleadingly uses the term “further authorization,” the fact is that Congress never granted it authorization in the first place. Instead, Obama has issued a series of letters to congressional leadership explaining his actions and has dispatched various aides and surrogates to brief Congress on the mission in Libya.