In the best line of a lackluster campaign Bob Dole challenged the voters who were swallowing the liberal line of the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media. At the time they were carrying the water for Bill Clinton in the 1996 election. By that time Mr. Clinton’s Bimbo Eruptions and complete lack of ethics had become common knowledge but the unengaged in fly-over country were lapping up the Clinton mantra “Character Doesn’t Matter” and preparing to not vote in droves.
Today we face a crisis that is more pertinent to the beating heart of American liberty than whether or not the President is or is not a morally challenged serial abuser of women or what “is” means. Today we again face a challenge that was also presented to us by Mr. Clinton twelve years ago when he waged in an unconstitutional wag-the-dog air war against Yugoslavia that even some of his supporters speculated was more about diverting attention from his Oval Office escapades than anything else.
This re-run of Clinton’s war by decree prompts this writer to ask: Who has the right to commit America to war? Who has the right to send our soldiers into harm’s way? Does America go to war by the act of Congress or by the whim of the Executive?
In this matter, which strikes at the heart of the American Experiment no one in Congress, except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, two polar opposites from the right and the left, had the integrity to ask these questions. The media totally abdicated its watchdog role. This is a matter that should be at the forefront of the consciousness of the American people. We should have risen up and demanded an explanation. But instead, since our Congressional leaders ignored it and the media treated the only two elected officials who did speak out as if they wore aluminum hats, our fellow citizens hit the mental snooze button, and rolled over to watch a reality show so they could ignore reality.
On March 19, 2011 President Obama’s administration declared war on Libya by launching 112 Tomahawk missiles at targets within the country. I say the administration declared war because the United States Congress was not consulted. Congressional leaders weren’t even advised of these acts of war until 90 minutes before the bombs started falling. And this was not really consultation. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said “I wouldn’t call it consultation as much as laying it out.” He [President Obama]had spent time consulting with the U.N. and the Arab League but he couldn’t be bothered with consulting the United States Congress? Which brings me back to the quote from Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage?”
The Constitution in Article One Section Eight ever wary of giving the executive too much power gave Congress the exclusive power to declare war. Ever since Harry Truman decided for domestic political reasons to call a war in Korea that cost 54,229 American lives a Police Action our Presidents have followed the guns and butter policies of peace at home and war abroad. However; Johnson, Bush I, and Bush II sought and received Congressional approval before committing America to war in all but name. Only “Where is the Outrage” Clinton presumed to have the power to wage war by Executive Order.
Today we are faced with an out of control administration that believes it can involve America in a war on the whim of the executive instead of the act of Congress. They pointed towards the War Powers Act as a fig leaf to cover their actions. This administration is headed by a lawyer and filled with lawyers, and yet they presumably did not know that the War Powers Act specifically says, “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” And it is clear that not one of the three circumstance explicitly named by the Act applied to the situation of our attack upon Libya.
The President has said he doesn’t need Congressional Approval, Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media repeats that the President has the authority, and the Justice Department says the president has all the authority he needs for the war in Libya.
However, due to President Obama’s clear circumvention of Congressional approval and his egregious and erroneous appeal to the War Powers Act, I am stating categorically that his attack upon Libya is an abuse of executive power and an unconstitutional action. This is not my opinion alone. Many Americans from constitutional law experts to his own liberal Democrats are beginning to say the same thing, which brings me back to the quote from Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage?”
If this is a blatant abuse of power and an unconstitutional act leading to war I also say this rises to the level of an impeachable offense. In this I find myself standing for the first time with the most liberal Democrats. And in another departure from tradition I am also in agreement with Vice President Joe Biden when he said, “launching an attack without congressional approval is an impeachable offense.” No matter what the administration says, no matter what the media says, we the people need to hold those who would violate the constitutional limitations of our government to account or they will continue to transgress the limits and do whatever they want.
In another quote that seems as relevant today as it was fifteen years ago Senator Dole asked, ”When do the American people rise up and say, ‘Forget the media in America! We’re going to make up our minds! You’re not going to make up our minds!’ This is about saving our country!”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.