This is a political post...
A person I'm seriously considering defriending on Facebook seems to believe that a our President, a former constitutional law professor, has no understanding of the constitution. This isn't the only reason I'm considering cutting that rope, we go back a long way, but his attacks on the current administration all tend to work the same way: its a great argument that leaves out a few fairly pertinent facts and a lot of reality. Now, Obama has done three or four things you actually can be mad at him about - Wall Street, dragging his feet on gridlock over judges, etc - , so manufactured outrage because you just don't like him tends to grate on my nerves.
Let's talk Libya.
The current diatribe is the President can't declare war without Congress's approval, and Obama doesn't have it so he's, and this is my favorite term, "shredding the constitution." This idea usually comes from people who haven't actually read the thing they so proudly want to waive in someone's face. So let's take a quick look at the law...
The relevant law is in the US Code, Title 50, Chapter 33. (This by the way is not the Constitution, but it IS the applicable law.) If you look at section 1541 (c) you it explains the Presidential power of using the United States Armed Forces. There the President is limited to using our troops except under a declaration of war, an attack upon the united states OR..a specific statutory authority. Actually, authority is second, but I wanted to point that one out.
Now, the next relevant part is section 1543 (a) which in states that in the absence of declaration of war the President can commit US troops without Congress's approval if he does three things within 48 hours: explain the circumstances, give his legal basis, and estimates the scope of his action. And he can do it for up to 60 days. Which in pure legal terms means the President CAN commit troops without calling Congress first.
Now...he can't call it a "war", which a lot of anti-Obama pundits want to shout that this act is from the rooftops. But it isn't actually a war until Congress says it is. This is really more a police action. But where is the authority you ask? Well, that's why the administration waited for the UN Resolution. As a member of the UN, we're can by treaty aid in the enforcement of the decisions of the Security Council, which effectively said "go get'em" in calling for the no-fly zone, so the legislative authority originates via treaty.
And although turning it over the operation to NATO seems like a smoke and mirror concept, it really is a deft legal maneuver. Okay it is legal smoke and mirrors, but the that treaty allows us to turn off the authority needed from Congress. How you ask? Again, via treaty, in which the US as a treaty partner supports NATO actions. It's not just them helping us, we have to support their wants too. And our NATO partners want to do this. Bad.
So are you mad we're there? Look, my personal opinion is let's not restock fifteen of them two hundred or so missiles we fired and we can pay the school teachers in Wisconsin. I'm not happy we're still playing World Police Officer, but since we're here let's get in and get out.
So, let’s see. Obama gets to take out Gaddafi, a longtime issue and promote democracy. In less than 60 days, only 8.8 years shorter than Iraq and Afghanistan. Without committing ground troops, minimizing loss of life. And taking the expensive and difficult follow-up "nation building" off the table by merely supporting an existing force. And, our allies see that's its not all about us, bolstering relations.
Batman Obama does it again.