Its been a while and a lot of things have happened since I last wrote you. The biggest items of which I want to talk about today is the involvement of the United States in Libya and the assassination of Osama bin Laden this past week by American military forces in Pakistan. In both cases, people on the political left and the right have questioned whether President Obama has the authority to do either of those things. Many politicians have been caught in their own words, from the past, regarding the authority the President’s authority as Commander-in-Chief of the military. This article will focus on several points regarding the President’s authority as top military commander in the U.S. First, did the President overstep his bounds when he authorized military strikes in Libya? Second, did the president have the authority to order the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden? As always the discussion will focus on his constitutional authority and its original intent.
Over a month ago the President Obama committed some of our military forces to be involved in the obvious civil war taking place in the North African nation of Libya. During the start of the new year many middle eastern Arabic nations and people have started to rise up and protest against their governments, with mixed results. Libya was one of them that quickly expanded into full on civil unrest and a civil war with citizens rebelling against their tyrannical leader.
First and foremost, the President has under his authority in the U.S. Constitution the power to command the U.S. military forces in any and all cases. This would be one of them. Whether you agree with it or not he has that power. Some people may bring up that he must abide by the War Powers Act, but that has never truly been enforced by the U.S. government. The main reason, people wonder about its constitutionality if it was enforced. It clearly violates the President’s power to command the military.
Do I agree with the President’s choice of getting us involved in another military conflict? No, but he has the authority to do so. He has not taken us into a war; he has committed a limited number of troops to a limited field of combat. The President was given this authority, like that of a monarch, so he can make the split second decision that must be made without long and drawn out debate, like military operations to protect the lives of innocent civilians. It may be getting us involved in a war that we don’t need to stick our nose in but every President has used this power in undeclared operations.
Side bar on the Iraq War: Regarding the last statement of the previous paragraph. Iraq does not count because Bush 43 actually did seek authorization from the Congress and they gladly gave it. Yes it was fouhgt on false pretenses, but if you look at the resolutions that went through Congress in late 2002 and early 2003 BEFORE we went into Iraq their were multiple reasons for why representatives on both the political left and right thought we should invade; weapons of Mass Destruction was only one of them.
This weekend President Obama authorize a strike against a compound in Pakistan believed to be housing the most wanted man alive, Osama bin Laden. It was carried out successfully with bin Laden being killed during the operation. Now everyone is questioning whether the President had the authority to order the death of the man. The simple answer to this question is yes.
Again the president has the military authority to order them into the field of battle, whether we agree with it or not. Osama bin Laden was a military target of our on-going conflict with the extremist members of the Islamic faith, know as al-Queda. Since it was a military operation against our current foe he had every reason to the operation and to order the possible kill shot.
Its about the Constitution people. We must learn to follow it and respect it even when it leads us to decision with which we do may not agree. If you don’t like the way a person interprets that authority or how they exercise that limited power then you can elect new representatives. I may not like the President authorizing our military’s involvement in Libya or in other nations, but he has the authority to do so and pay for the consequences at the ballot box.