Friday, June 3, 2011

Congress chides Obama over Libya war

US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV

Members of the lower house of the US Congress have criticized President Barack Obama for continuing the Libya war without gaining congressional approval, as required by the War Powers Act.

On Friday, the US House of Representatives adopted a “non-binding” resolution that criticized Obama for failing to provide a “compelling rationale” for the operation in the African country, the Associated Press reported.

The resolution also demands answers from the president in the next 14 days on the operation's objective and its cost and says US ground forces must not be used in the Libyan conflict except to rescue US servicemen.

Obama ordered airstrikes on Libya in March after a UN resolution and limited consultation with Congress, in line with the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

The Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war.

However, the War Powers Act allows the president to wage war for 60 days but requires him to obtain congressional authorization afterwards. The deadline passed last month.

“This is a defining moment for the Constitution. For the president to suggest he got approval from the United Nations is offensive and is wrong. We must stand tall and true to the Constitution,” said Republican lawmaker Jason Chaffetz.

The US provides aerial refueling of warplanes and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance work, although NATO took over command of the operation from the US in late March.

The House members expressed concern over the expensive military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya at a time when the country is in the middle of an economic crisis.

Libya has been the scene of clashes between revolutionaries and forces loyal to ruler Muammar Gaddafi since mid-February. The revolutionaries have been seeking to depose Gaddafi, who has ruled the country for over 40 years.

NATO has come under intense criticism from the Libyan opposition for not doing enough to protect civilians.

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