As you probably know, I wrote more than a dozen pieces advising the president not to involve U.S. troops in Libya’s civil war. What you probably don’t know is that I am in favor of a strict interpretation of the War Powers Resolution that requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of the onset of military operations and to seek authorization for military force within 60 days.
So, it may surprise you that I actually support what John Boehner is doing in the House. Boehner is trying to prevent a resolution from passing that would require the president to disengage from NATO operations in Libya within 15 days.
House Republican leaders believe that if the resolution being offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio — requiring the president to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from participation in the NATO mission in Libya within 15 days – had come up yesterday it would have passed.
Instead the Kucinich bill comes up tomorrow. With the Boehner bill an alternative.
Boehner’s alternative has softer language, but it makes clear that the president has not sought nor received authorization to use military force in Libya.
The resolution states: “The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya. Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.”
In arguing for his resolution over Kucinich’s, Boehner told his caucus that it would be reprehensible and irresponsible to abandon our NATO allies after they have stuck with us in Afghanistan for a decade. He’s right.
We should not have gotten involved in Libya, but we made a commitment and we ought to stick by that commitment. Congress is correct to assert its prerogatives and to warn the administration that it expects an explicit exit strategy and will not tolerate mission-creep. It should reject Kucinich’s resolution and support Boehner’s.