FORGET WEINERGATE: OBAMA IS IMPEACHABLE OVER LIBYA
By Cliff Kincaid
June 4, 2011
If you want an indication of why Republicans may lose to Obama in 2012, look at the pass they are giving him over his illegal war in Libya. Nothing is more important than committing a nation to war. The military intervention could be the basis of impeachment charges. But Republican leaders in the House—and Republican Senator John McCain in the Senate—don’t want to hold Obama accountable.
We have pointed out that the war is illegal and that the media—and now the House Republican leaders—have failed to acknowledge the facts.
On the other hand, there is growing media fascination with “Weinergate,” in which the Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has obviously stonewalled about the origin and distribution of a lewd photo sent to a coed.
In contrast to the Weiner affair, the facts about Obama’s violations of the law and the Constitution are clear.
If Weiner should be held accountable for an embarrassing sexual matter, which may or may not result in his resignation, why not enforce the law and the Constitution when the president goes to war?
Columnist Ann Coulter jokes that the Weiner case should go to small claims court. Obama’s war in Libya is a matter of the highest constitutional importance and not a joking matter.
House leaders could bring impeachment charges. Instead, they want to avoid doing their duty.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “House Republican leaders on Wednesday abruptly canceled a vote on a resolution forcing U.S. withdrawal from Libya amid signs” that it would pass. House GOP leaders “fend off vote on Libya resolution,” the Washington Post proclaims.
“U.S. House leaders pulled a bill calling for the U.S. military to withdraw from Libya after a group of liberals and conservatives said they back the measure,” UPI noted.
In the Senate, McCain, who has turned into an advocate for Al-Jazeera, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the war, conducted with the approval of the Arab League and the United Nations but not Congress. Al-Jazeera, committed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, openly backs the “pro-democracy fighters” in Libya, playing down their links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, once a prime sponsor of anti-American terrorism, gave up his terrorist aims and nuclear program after the U.S. invaded Iraq and removed Saddam Hussein in 2003. Gaddafi thought he might be the next target. Little did he know that he would be targeted by a liberal U.S. President enforcing a novel U.N. concept known as the “responsibility to protect.”
The evidence is overwhelming, even though most of the media will not cover it, that Obama’s war in Libya is illegal and unconstitutional. Columnist George Will got most of it right in a recent column, “Is Obama Above the Law?” The war is a violation of the War Powers Act, which says the president can go to war on his own only if there is an imminent threat to the U.S. and there is a 60-day deadline for the withdrawal of forces.
Obama has violated both provisions of the law. There was no direct or immediate threat to the U.S. from Libya and Obama has ignored the 60-day deadline for approval from the Congress.
George Will notes that McCain has said that no president “has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and neither do I. So I don’t feel bound by any deadline.”
Will commented, “Oh? No law is actually a law if presidents and senators do not ‘recognize’ it? Now, there is an interesting alternative to judicial review, and an indicator of how executive aggrandizement and legislative dereliction of duty degrade the rule of law.”
Rather than hold Obama accountable, the Journal says that “Republican leaders are working to come up with alternatives that are less far-reaching than the Kucinich provision to allow lawmakers to vent their displeasure.”
The Kucinich provision, named for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), itself falls short of the articles of impeachment that are required. It simply requires the President to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya.
Known as House Concurrent Resolution 51, the text includes:
“Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.
“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),
“SECTION 1. REMOVAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM LIBYA.
“Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), 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.”
Even with this attempt to give Obama more time to comply, Kucinich says that Obama and House Republican leaders “feel the need to buy even more time to shore up support for the War in Libya.” He says they pulled the bill because they realized it would pass.
He goes on, “The House Leadership has communicated to me via email that the vote on Libya will be postponed ‘in an effort to compel more information and consultation’ from the Administration. I have been asked to provide input for the information which the House will seek from the Administration.”
So the House Republican leaders are content to beg for information from Obama in order to avoid coming to grips with his violations of the law and the Constitution.
Lawyer Bruce Fein drafted an article of impeachment, noted by Politico shortly the war commenced, which contends, “In all of this, President Barack Obama has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
Joining liberal Democrat Kucinich in this effort is conservative Republican Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana. He read the provisions of the law at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and declared that Obama was in violation of them.
In a March 28, 2011, statement, he said, “When President Obama addressed the American people this evening to explain his decision to launch Operation Odyssey Dawn, the American-led war in Libya, I was waiting for him to explain why after three weeks of inaction the situation in Libya suddenly compelled the President to attack Libya with little congressional consultation and zero congressional approval; although he apparently had enough time to consult and get approval from the United Nations and the Arab League.
“I’m still waiting for an answer. The whole northern tier of Africa, as well as the Middle East is blowing up right now and I want to protect peoples’ lives, but what makes the Libyan crisis different from Yemen or Syria or Darfur or Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge?”
He noted that back in 2007 then-Senator Obama loudly declared that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
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Burton commented, “Libya does not and did not pose such a threat; and nothing the President said tonight convinced me otherwise. Under the circumstances, I wonder what 2007’s Senator Obama would say to 2011’s President Obama if he had the chance?”
But the matter goes far beyond matters of hypocrisy to issues affecting the law and the Constitution.
Out of deference to Obama and his Republican partners, the media won’t dare call it a constitutional crisis.
© 2011 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues. One of Cliff's books, "Global Bondage: The UN Plan to Rule the World" is still awailable.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.