President Obama's decision to wage war on Libya is unconstitutional, naive and hypocritical.
Our founders would be appalled that a president of the United States could launch the country into an armed conflict half a world away without a formal declaration of war by Congress, much less barely any discussion of it by the House or the Senate.
Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution is unambiguous: Only Congress has the authority "to declare war." James Madison warned that allowing the president to take the country into war would be "too much of a temptation for one man."
We, as Americans, need to face facts: We have a runaway executive branch when it comes to war-making.
And Obama appears naive in the extreme on Libya.
It is naive to expect U.S. involvement in this war to be over in "days, not weeks," as he said.
It is naive to expect that he can carry this out without using ground troops.
It is naive to wage war that is not in response to a direct threat to the U.S. national security.
It is naive to expect all of Libya to cheer as its country is being attacked by Western powers.
It is naive to expect civilian casualties not to mount as a result of his actions, which he said were designed "to protect Libyan civilians."
And it is naive to expect the world to go along with the ruse that this is not a U.S.-led act of aggression.
Finally, Obama's stated reasons for this war, which he refuses to call by its proper name, are hypocritical and incoherent.
He said "innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government."
That's also true of the people of Yemen, an ally of ours. The regime there just mowed down dozens of peaceful protesters.
That's true, too, of the people of Bahrain, another friend of ours. The ruling monarchy has recently killed a number of peaceful demonstrators there, as well.
Then there's the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our chief Arab partner and a profoundly repressive government, which just rolled its tanks into Bahrain to help put down a pro-democracy movement in that country.
There is no consistent humanitarian standard for Obama's war against Libya -- none whatsoever.
Obama has now pushed the United States to a place where we are now engaged in three wars simultaneously at a time when we have enormous domestic needs that are going unmet. It's getting to the point where war seems to be the only thing we make these days.
We need to stop meddling overseas and start solving our own problems here at home.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Judge's Ruling Buys Time for Labor in Wisconsin."
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