One Man’s Power

Jun 17 2011 @ 12:22pm

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James Fallows argues that Obama is wrong about Libya. Brushing aside the legal technicalities, Fallows warns that "the major threat to our politics, is that once again we are going to war essentially on one person's say-so":

[A]fter three months of combat, and after several decades of drift toward unilateral Executive Branch action on matters of war and peace, Obama is doing a disservice to the nation, history, and himself by insisting that the decision should be left strictly to him. If the Libyan campaign ultimately "goes well," he will not in any way lessen his own political and historic credit by having involved the Congress. If it goes poorly, he will be politically safer if this is not just his own judgment-call war. More important, in either case he will have helped the country if his conduct restores rather than further weakens the concept that a multi-branch Constitutional republic must share the responsibility to commit force. We can only imagine the eloquence with which a Candidate Obama would be making this exact case were he not in the White House now.

Actually, it couldn't be more eloquent than this:

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.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.

That was candidate Obama. Hs current position is as ludicrous as it is unprincipled.

(Photo: A US 'Predator' drone passes overhead at a forward operating base near Kandahar on January 1, 2009. By Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.)