The House of Representatives will actually hold two votes today on war funding. This is quite something: One vote to defund military action in Libya, another to authorize it for a year. Finally, many months after the Obama administration went into another MENA country with little-to-no strategy, we're having something akin to a congressional authorization process. This is healthy.
House members will have a choice of these two options today:
- A bill, sponsored by Florida Republican Rep. Tom Rooney, to severely cut funding for U.S. involvement in the "NATO-led" mission. It would essentially "require an end to direct American combat activity" and only allow the use of funds "for support operations like search and rescue, aerial refueling, operational planning, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance." Perhaps those loopholes are a bit wide — they basically add up to "the CIA can still do whatever the hell it wants" — but it would stop American weaponry from bombing more children, etc.
- A one-year authorization for continuing operations, originally introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Kerry and John McCain.
The second bill is expected to fail (Update: It just did, 123-295), but the first has a good chance of passing. Not that it would likely go anywhere in the Senate, but it might get the White House to stop treating this particular jaunt in the sand with such arrogance.
For the latest example of such arrogance, by the way, here's how Secretary of State Clinton wrapped up a response to a question about Libya yesterday:
But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qadhafi's side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama Administration, the answer to that question is very easy.
Yep, the old "whose side are you on?" trick followed by a false choice. Just defund the mission over that, if nothing else.
France and Britain can do whatever they want.
Update: Or Congress could just reject both measures and refuse their authority, yet again, to manage war policy. Incompetents.
[Image via AP]