Well, it is hard to know exactly where we stand in the whole Libya dust up. As you know we are way past the War Powers Act’s requirement for congressional approval to continue hostilities. The Obama Administration has said they don’t need the approval of Congress since the activities of US forces are only support roles not combat. That’s pretty spurious to me.
Today there have been two votes in Congress on this issue. One of them would have authorized use of force but no ground troops. The other would have defunded any war making that was not strictly support.
Both came up for votes in the House and both of them were defeated by wide margins. The authorization bill failed 123 to 295 as was expected. The surprise was that resolution which would have ended the ability of the US to use any kind of air strike, including UAV drones also was voted down.
It failed by a similar margin of 180 to 238. It was expected that the Republicans would have enough unity on this issue to make the vote stick. It would have been a fine thumb in the eye of Administration while at the same time being a support for the NATO mission.
The fact that both of resolutions were voted down shows how complicated the whole issue of war and support for a war time president has become. Even though a plurality of the American people are against the Libyan war and there has been some real duplicity as to what the mission is from the White House, the members of Congress can’t see their way to taking responsibility for either continuing this war or ending it.
For all the talk about the prerogatives of Congress in war making, there does not seem be a large enough group who want to actually exert their authority one way or the other. Real profiles in courage there Representatives.
The reality is that these two votes have pretty much given the President a pass to do what he likes, at least for a while. Hopefully there will be more of the defunding resolutions as there is not much point in us taking sides in a civil war. Even if our NATO allies feel different.
The floor is yours.