Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) says President Barack Obama did not have the constitutional authority to order U.S. forces to participate in an attack on Libya.
In a conference call with other liberal lawmakers Saturday, Kucinich asked why the U.S. missile strikes were not impeachable offenses, according to two Democratic lawmakers who spoke to Politico.
The U.S. unleashed a barrage of strikes against the Libyan regime’s air defenses over the weekend, but ruled out using ground troops in what Obama called a “limited military action.”
After taking a cautious stance on armed intervention in Libya’s civil war, Obama ordered the attacks citing the threat posed to civilians by Moamer Kadhafi’s forces and a UN-mandated no-fly zone endorsed by Arab countries.
“We must be clear: actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced,” Obama told reporters while on an official visit to Brazil Saturday.
“We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world,” he said, stressing that Washington was acting in concert “with a broad coalition.”
Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Mike Capuano (D-MA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during the conference call, a source told Politico.
Kucinich also released a statement on his website Friday questioning the constitutionality of the president’s actions.
“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” he insisted.
“While the action is billed as protecting the civilians of Libya, a no-fly-zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya and Qaddafi forces. It is an act of war. The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war.”
“Congress should be called back into session immediately to decide whether or not to authorize the United States’ participation in a military strike. If it does not, the action of the President is contrary to U.S. Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly states that the United States Congress has the power to declare war. The President does not. That was the Founders’ intent,” the Ohio congressman added.
“The last thing we need is to be embroiled in yet another intervention in another Muslim country. The American people have had enough. First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq. Then bombs began to fall in Pakistan, then Yemen, and soon it seems bombs could be falling in Libya. Our nation simply cannot afford another war, economically, diplomatically or spiritually,” Kucinich concluded.
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader also said the president was committing “war crimes” in the attack against Libya.
“Why don’t we say what’s on the minds of many legal experts; that the Obama administration is committing war crimes and if Bush should have been impeached, Obama should be impeached,” Nader told Democracy Now! Thursday.
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