May 19, 2011
Libya and the War Powers Act
By James Wilson

When launched our "Stay Out of Libya" campaign on March 15, President Obama hadn't yet dropped bombs on that nation.

In fact, we were optimistic that he wouldn't. President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates seemed reluctant to start this war, and we wanted to encourage members of Congress to speak out against war and counter vocal extremists such as Senators Kerry, McCain, and Lieberman. But on March 19 the President started bombing Libya, a country that didn't provoke or pose any actual threat to the United States.

Our position has been consistent since 2003, when a forerunner organization to Downsize DC created to oppose the war on Iraq.

Downsize DC supports a strong defense. But we DON'T support unnecessary wars. Not under Republican Presidents, and not under Democratic Presidents. We especially oppose non-declared wars which, by definition, are un-Constitutional.

This is what makes Obama's war against Libya particularly disappointing. He started a war on Libya without a declaration of war from Congress, or any authorization at all.

The President does have one paper restraint. Under the War Powers Act, military action initiated by the President must cease after 60 days unless authorization is provided by Congress.

The 60th day since President notified Congress about his attack on Libya will be TOMORROW, Friday, May 20th. I sent a letter to my representatives telling them to end it.

You may borrow from or copy this . . .

Friday, May 20 will be the 60th day since President Obabma notified Congress about his attack on Libya.

According to the War Powers Act, Congress must "authorize" this war or the President must end U.S. involvement within 60 days.

I don't even believe the War Powers Act is constitutional. Congress should authorize non-defensive military actions through a declaration of war BEFORE the first attack happens. Nevertheless, the War Powers Act provides some degree of accountability for the President.

But if Congress ignores the War Powers Act and doesn't hold President Obama accountable for this needless war, that will tell me one thing:

Congress is opposed to the Constitution and the rule of law.

President Obama hasn't made even ONE reasonable argument to explain how our attacks on Libya promote American security. Unprovoked foreign interventions only serve to impoverish America and encourage terrorist retaliation.

If you do not order President Obama to end this war, I will be persuaded that you despise the Constitution you swore to support and defend.


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James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director

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