Now the President believes he has the ability to conjure up "war powers" not actually vested in him and not authorized by Congress.
"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" -- candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007.More from Glenn Greenwald:
When President Obama ordered the U.S. military to wage war in Libya without Congressional approval (even though, to use his words, it did "not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation"), the administration and its defenders claimed he had legal authority to do so for two reasons: (1) the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (WPR) authorizes the President to wage war for 60 days without Congress, and (2) the "time-limited, well defined and discrete" nature of the mission meant that it was not really a "war" under the Constitution (Deputy NSA Adviser Ben Rhodes and the Obama OLC). Those claims were specious from the start, but are unquestionably inapplicable now.
From the start, the WPR provided no such authority. Section 1541(c) explicitly states that the war-making rights conferred by the statute apply only to "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." That's why Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman -- in an article in Foreign Policy entitled "Obama's Unconstitutional War" -- wrote when the war started that the "The War Powers Resolution doesn't authorize a single day of Libyan bombing" and that "in taking the country into a war with Libya, Barack Obama's administration is breaking new ground in its construction of an imperial presidency."
Well, that was then, and of course, Libya is now.
But even for those who chose to cling to the fiction that the presidential war in Libya was authorized by the WPR, that fiction is now coming to a crashing end. Friday will mark the 60th day of the war without Congress, and there are no plans for authorization to be provided. By all appearances, the White House isn't even bothering to pretend to seek one. A handful of GOP Senators -- ones who of course showed no interest whatsoever during the Bush years in demanding presidential adherence to the law -- are now demanding a vote on Libya, but it's highly likely that the Democrats who control the Senate won't allow one. Instead, the law will simply be ignored by the President who declared, when bashing George Bush on the campaign trail to throngs of cheering progressives: "No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are."Of course not! Liar.
This war, without Congressional authorization, is illegal in every relevant sense: Constitutionally and statutorily. That was true from its start but is especially true now. If one wants to take the position that it's not particularly important or damaging for a President to illegally start and sustain protracted wars on his own, then it's hard to see what would be important. That is the ultimate expression of a lawless empire.Welcome to our tyrannical Presidency.