Tuesday, June 21, 2011
June 21, 2011
President Obama is breaking the law, which presidents, of course, should not do.
The law he is breaking is the War Powers Act of 1973 which says, in effect, that when a president involves America in a war, he has sixty days in which to get congressional approval. If he doesn't, then he has thirty days in which to halt all "hostilities." It's been ninety days since we started bombing in Libya and neither of those things has happened.
The President's chief legal counsel, Robert Bauer, says the president can keep bombing Libya indefinitely, without Congressional support. But, as the New York Times notes, "This conclusion lacks a solid legal foundation." The bombing may be well-meant, aimed at saving Libyan civilians from Muammar el-Quaddafi's troops, but it's still illegal.
And as those of us old enough to remember Watergate learned back then, honesty and the law matter in a presidency. Maybe more than anything else.