Ron Paul On Holding The President Accountable On Libya

Tyler Durden's picture

From Ron Paul

Holding the President Accountable on Libya

Last week, more than 70 days after President Obama sent our military
to attack Libya without a congressional declaration of war, the House of
Representatives finally voted on two resolutions attempting to rein in
the president.  This debate was long overdue, as polls show Americans
increasingly are frustrated by congressional inaction. According to a
CNN poll last week, 55 percent of the American people believe that
Congress, not the president, should have the final authority to decide
whether the U.S. should continue its military mission in Libya. Yet for
more than 70 days Congress has ignored its constitutional obligations
and allowed the president to usurp its authority.

Finally, Congressman Dennis Kucinich was able to bring to the floor a
resolution asserting that proper constitutional war power authority
resides with Congress. His resolution simply stated that "Congress
directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from
Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the
adoption of this concurrent resolution."

Opponents of the withdrawal resolution said the 15 day deadline was
too abrupt. But as I pointed out during debate, the president attacked
Libya abruptly – he didn't even bother to consult Congress – so why
can't he order an end to military action just as abruptly? When members
of Congress took an oath of office to defend the Constitution, we did
not pledge to defend it only gradually, a little bit at a time. On the
contrary, we must defend it vigorously and completely from the moment we
take that oath. I was pleased that 87 Republicans were able to put the
Constitution first and support this resolution.

House Speaker John Boehner offered his own resolution on the same
day, which declared that Congress would not support the insertion of US
ground troops into Libya. Although this unfortunately was far from
adequate to satisfy our constitutional obligations, it certainly was a
step in the right direction and I am pleased that it passed in the
House.  Just days before Speaker Boehner's resolution, an amendment to
the defense authorization act prohibited the president from using any
funds in the bill to insert US troops into Libya. A separate amendment
last week prohibiting any funds appropriated to the Department of
Homeland Security from being used to attack Libya came within just a
handful of votes from passing.  All of these votes demonstrate that
members of Congress increasingly understand that our foreign wars are
deeply unpopular with their constituents.  We are broke, and the
American people know it.  They expect Congress to focus on fixing
America's economic problems, rather than rubber stamping yet another
open-ended military intervention in Libya.

I believe these resolutions and amendments indicate that the tide is
turning in the right direction.  I am confident we will see Congress
move toward ending our unconstitutional wars.  The American people are
demanding no less.  The president's attack on Libya was unconstitutional
and thus unlawful.  This policy must be reversed.