WASHINGTON – In an exclusive interview with Raw Story on Monday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) tore into President Barack Obama’s decision to order U.S. air strikes against Libya, opening the door for impeachment while emphatically declaring that Obama violated the Constitution.
“President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn’t have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that’s got to be said,” Kucinich told Raw Story. “It’s not even disputable, this isn’t even a close question. Such an action — that involves putting America’s service men and women into harm’s way, whether they’re in the Air Force or the Navy — is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone.”
“And I’m raising the question as to whether or not it’s an impeachable offense. It would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense,” Kucinich said. “Now, it doesn’t necessarily follow that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him. That’s a whole separate question. But we have to clearly understand what this Constitution is about.”
The anti-war Democrat pointed to this quote from candidate Obama in 2007: “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.”
“So what the president did is, by his own words, outside the Constitution,” Kucinich said. “This isn’t a case of him not knowing. He knows clearly that he has not complied with the Constitution. And that’s a very serious matter because he’s using the ultimate authority of a president.”
Legal experts dispute the view that Obama acted outside his constitutional authority.
The White House argues that the intervention, waged alongside the U.K. and France, was necessary to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Libya as Muammar Gaddafi uses lethal force against protesters seeking his ouster.
Kucinich confirmed an anonymously-sourced report that, on a call with Democratic lawmakers Saturday, he wondered whether attacking Libya without Congressional authority was an impeachable offense.
Hearkening back to some of his fierce criticisms of President George W. Bush, Kucinich criticized the “aggressive reach” of Obama. The attack on Libya, he said, would have “no end game” and would “break our Army, break out budget, and break any ability for America to play a constructive role in the world. This is going to inevitably open the door to Islamic extremists in the eastern part of Libya.”
“This isn’t about whether you like President Obama or not,” Kucinich said. “This isn’t about whether you’re a Democrat or not. And this isn’t about 2012.”