Jon Stewart: Obama Launches Unconstitutional “Un”-War in Libya Without 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.”
Senator Barack Obama, December 20, 2007

On March 19, 2011, the exact anniversary day of the beginning of the war in Iraq, Barack Obama launched an unconstitutional war in Libya without congressional debate or authorization and instead claimed an illegal right to do so based on U.N. approval. As the Independent Institute has noted repeatedly (see here, here, here, here, and here), if U.S. officials believe there is a just cause for authorizing force to be used against perceived national-security threats, the U.S. Constitution provides in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, for the Congress to grant “Letters of Marque and Reprisal” to authorize bonded private parties to seek out and stop such threats. This provision, which today would overcome the 1939 Neutrality Act‘s ban of non-governmental armed involvement by American citizens in foreign conflicts, means that no taxpayer funds would be utilized, only those specific threats can be targeted and that if innocent others are harmed, the private parties involved would themselves be held accountable.

Such an approach should have been used after 9/11 in targeting Al Qaeda instead of the gigantic, trillion-dollar, 7-year war in Iraq and 10-year war in Afghanistan, which have utterly failed to capture or stop Bin Laden and the leadership of Al Qaeda. Now, Obama has expanded U.S. interventionism in the Mideast to an unprecedented level in a yet further grasp for the Imperial Presidency and is doing so even as the U.S. government is facing record financial insolvency. Yes, the mass-murdering tyrant Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi should be stopped and could be targeted, but not at the cost of the Constitution, rule of law, the killing of innocent people, and the liberties and safety of the people of America and the Mideast. The end never justifies the means. (Every means is an end in itself and any moral standard used to justify any end also exists for every means.) And if humanitarian reasons were solely behind Obama’s actions in Libya, why are no similar moves occurring in Syria, Bahrain, and elsewhere where citizen uprisings are also being brutally crushed by dictatorships?

Here with Jon Stewart and Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show on Comedy Central is an insightful and satirical segment on Obama’s illegal war:

Here also are recommended books critiquing such folly:

The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close

Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11, by Robert Higgs

Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute and Publisher of the quarterly journal, The Independent Review.
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