Photo: Night Ranger
Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Republican Leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, held a committee hearing Tuesday on the legality of President Obama’s war in Libya. In a statement, Lugar argued that the President declined to seek Congressional approval before initiating U.S. military operations in Libya, which he said is unconstitutional.
There are, Lugar said, circumstances under which a President might be justified in employing military force without Congressional authorization. But none of those reasons apply to the Libyan case: the U.S. was not attacked or threatened with an attack, is not obligated by treaty to defend the Libyan people, and is not rescuing Americans or launching a one-time punitive retaliation. Nor did the operation require surprise that would have made a public debate impractical.
Lugar called the Obama Administration’s assertion that U.S. military operations in Libya do not constitute ‘hostilities’ “incredible,” charging that the Administration has sought to avoid its obligations under the War Powers Resolution. He delivered his talk in the Dirksen Senate Office Tuesday morning.