When Barack Obama announced last Friday that he intended to send the United States to war against the government of Libya by bombing the country from the air and sea, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich urged Congress to reconvene so that a congressional vote on whether to declare war could be conducted. Kucinich hoped that, if war was to be had, at least it would be constitutional in its conduct.
It was not to be. The very next morning, President Obama began bombing Libya. Congress has not reconvened. There has been no opportunity for public debate, and most members of Congress have been completely shut out of the process. The American people have not been represented in the decision to involve the United States in the civil war of an oil-rich nation.
In response to President Obama’s illegal circumvention of congressional power, Representative Kucinich has begun crafting legislation to bring the Executive Branch back into accordance with the Constitution, in the form of a budgetary amendment that cuts off all funding to President Obama’s new war. Kucinich has explained his purpose in the following statement:
“A few days ago, the United States and our allies began conducting United Nations-sanctioned, U.S.-led military operations against Libya. The establishment of a no-fly zone by the U.S. and our allies, billed as an act to protect civilians in Libya, is an act of war. Yet the President committed the U.S. to military intervention without consulting Congress, in clear subversion of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives only Congress the power to declare war.
According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the initial costs of a no-fly zone could cost the U.S. between $400 and $800 million, or $30 to $100 million per week. We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires. Now, the President is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford. While the Administration assures us that that the U.S. will hand-off its lead role to coalition partners within days, we have not been notified of long-term plans or goals following initial air strikes in the country. The timeline the President gave to Congress was summarized with one word: ‘limited.’
I intend to offer an amendment to the forthcoming Continuing Resolution or Omnibus Appropriations bill that would prohibit funding for U.S. involvement in military operations in Libya. I urge you to support this amendment.”