THE BLOG

Why the War in Libya is Wrong

05/25/2011 11:00 am ET | Updated Jul 25, 2011

Flashback to the campaign trail - December 20, 2007:

"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."

That wasn't me. It was candidate Barack Obama. But now in Libya, President Barack Obama is continuing a war that lacks Congressional approval and constitutional authority. Our Constitution clearly states that the United States Congress has the power to declare war. The President does not. And the War Powers Act requires him to seek Congressional approval within 60 days of conflict -- that was last Friday. We've heard nothing. If the President won't follow the Constitution and if he won't follow the War Powers Act, Congress will simply have to defund his intervention.

This is an urgent matter. There are several initiatives underway which you need to know about.

1. House Concurrent Resolution 51 directs the President, pursuant to the provisions of the War Powers Act, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.

This is a resolution I introduced on Monday, May 23, 2011. The matter will come to the floor for a vote anytime within the next 13 legislative days. Sometime within the next two weeks. Please Sign And Circulate The Petition Calling For An End To The War In LIbya.

2. Through careful gathering of information, I have been able to ascertain the principles which would successfully end the conflict in Libya, bring the opposing sides together and put a united Libya on a path toward democratic reforms. I will soon present the plan in the form of a congressional resolution.

3. I offered an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill which would defund the war against Libya. The rules committee did not accept my amendment because it was duplicative of another amendment by Rep. Scott Garrett. I have pledged my support to Mr. Garrett's amendment. Congressman John Conyers has an amendment which blocks the introduction of ground troops into Libya. I support Mr. Conyers' amendment.

4. I have been in discussion with Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina relative to taking legal action to protect the Constitution.

While the White House spins its intervention as protecting the civilians of Libya, a no-fly-zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya and Gaddafi forces. It is an act of war. The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. Although the United States by far pays the largest percentage of NATO's military bills (25 percent), the President wants to depict this as NATO's action.

You decide which country has the ability to stop this war: The Guardian UK datablog just published information that shows that 93 percent of all cruise missiles used to attack Libya come from the US. A full 66 percent of personnel involved in the war against Libya come from the US. 50 percent of all war ships off the Libyan coast come from the U.S.

Fifty percent of all aircrafts used to attack Libya come from the U.S.. War from the air is still war. And whether the UN and NATO support our intervention is irrelevant -- the President still needs to follow our Constitution. And Congress must end this war.

I have said this clearly in the past, and I'll say it again: Violating the Constitution is an impeachable offense. Whether its President Bush or President Obama, it's that simple. That Congress will not attempt to impeach the President does not eliminate the considerable political consequences that his administration will bear over the coming months. Especially when it becomes fully understood that the war was not necessary and that both sides in Iraq are prepared to move toward a peace agreement. (More about that later). In the meantime we must come together as a nation to end the war against Libya and stop the expansion of war in the region.

This war is not only unconstitutional; it's not in America's interest. Why would the Administration, during the current contentious debate over deficits and budget cutting plunge America into still another war, especially since America will spend trillions in total for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and incursions into Pakistan?

And what worries me most of all is that the President must know this. The oath the President -- a constitutional scholar -- took was to, above all else, "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." He has failed to do this.

The last thing America needs is to become further embroiled in yet another intervention in another Muslim country. Even France and the UK, who we joined to attack Libya, have according to the Telegraph in the UK "softened demands that Col Gaddafi give up power before ceasefire talks can take place." If France and the UK are moving toward a negotiated peace settlement, then the United States still has time to lead the way, order NATO to withdraw and end the conflict. First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq. Then bombs began to fall in Pakistan, then Yemen, and now bombs falling in Libya.

The American people have had enough of war creating more enemies abroad while killing our domestic agenda here at home. Our nation simply cannot afford another war, economically, diplomatically or spiritually. Congress must find its voice and the American people must call upon Congress to take the Administration off the war path. This week the McKeon Amendment will expand the power which President Bush claimed so that President Obama or his successors could have expanded war powers and a blank check to wage war anywhere.

So, where do we go from here? Congress can defund efforts through the Garrett Amendment, or stop an expansion of the war under the Conyers Amendment.

I'm going to need your help to force a war power's vote on removing the Armed Forces from Libya. And I will need your support for the peace plan which I will bring forward very soon. We must act. Senate leaders have said that next month they will bring forth a resolution to give the president an ok for the war (three months after the fact!) Ultimately it will be you who will help add the power of the people to bring pressure to the White House. Please sign this petition then forward it to your friends and family and ask them to get involved.

-Dennis Kucinich