Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oops, There Goes Another Tomahawk Missile

Andrew Malcolm can be a real cranky old bastard, a quality I'm beginning to appreciate in a man even when I don't always agree with him. Malcolm has his full grumpiness on in his latest blog post for the Los Angeles Times, this time over President Obama's latest war, Libya.

The Obama administration is spending almost $9.5 million every single day to blow things up in Libya because the president has determined that is in the country's national interest, this country's national interest, not Libya's.

You may not have noticed the $392,542 flowing out of the national treasury every hour, day and night, since those first $1.5 million Tomahawks flashed from the launch tubes back on March 19.
[Emphasis added]

Although that doesn't look like much money to people in Washington (they tend to think in billions of dollars), spending $9 million a day is pretty significant to the rest of us struggling to keep the lights on in the home we'd like to keep. But there's more to Malcolm's disgust than the money, something even bigger. Something so big that even Washingtonians are getting a little antsy over.

Capitol Hill and many Americans have the notion that Congress is responsible for declaring war. They cite the War Powers Act of 1973, a legislative legacy of the divisive Vietnam War, which was also prosecuted by a Democratic president.

That act, passed by a veto-beating two-thirds majority, sets numerous requirements for any president involving the U.S. military without congressional authorization or a declaration of war: There must be an "attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The president must notify Congress within 48 hours. And the White House has a total of 90 days to prosecute the conflict and withdraw without a declaration of war or legislative authorization.

Sunday is Day 90 of the Libyan war.

Now, nobody in Congress seemed too annoyed with the previous administration for invading Iraq which had not attacked us and was not sheltering those who did (the excuse used to attack Afghanistan, which provided a quick Authorization for the Use of Military Force from Congress). That doesn't make President Obama's care free attitude towards generating more military activity any more justifiable. The Constitution is clear about who gets to declare war, and the War Powers Act of 1973 underscores that constitutional mandate. It was wrong when Bush did it, just as it is now.

And we also could use the money right now for some pretty important domestic needs.



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