For the past two weeks, President Obama has not had the legal authority from Congress to use military action in Libya. I know I'm being a stickler, but if we're going to get further and further involved in a third war with no plan in both the short and long term, then Congress should at the very least sign off on it as the law requires it to. The other option for Congress is to use its authority to end this altogether — which it appeared willing to do yesterday, before the Republican leadership pulled the vote from the floor.
Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Republican Rep. Dan Burton — two very different people — co-sponsored a bill ordering President Obama to cease the kinetic military operations in Libya within 15 days. This was, in the Washington Post's words, considered a "legislative long shot" a week ago. When in recent memory, after all, has Congress used its power to quickly end military conflicts?
But a bipartisan group of legislators quickly coalesced around the bill before yesterday's scheduled vote, and appeared to have a majority. "That prospect," the Post writes, "led GOP leaders to shelve the bill before it came to a vote." What was John Boehner's reason for doing this, according to his spokesman? "His intention is not to undermine the commander in chief, at a time when we have troops in harm's way." And who knows? Maybe Libyan rebels could use some of those sweet, sweet M1A2 Abrams tanks that are built in John Boehner's district...
Congressional oversight of military activity is something of a problem these days.
[Image of Libyan rebels in training exercises via AP]