The Power To Make War


Amy Davidson wonders why Obama is reluctant to get congressional approval for the Libyan War:

Is it because he thinks that he can’t get their approval (which should cause him to ask why), because he thinks it’s just a lot of trouble (so are a lot of things worth doing, not to mention ones the law requires of us), or because he’s caught in some web of self-delusion—since he’s not the sort of President, or person, who gets involved with wars, this can’t be one? (It is generally a bad sign when policy decisions provoke politico-psychological speculation.) Or is it a matter of principle—a belief that Presidents shouldn’t have to ask Congress for permission for anything short of D-Day? That might be the most dangerous answer of all.

Ackerman takes "the most cynical interpretation":

Maybe Obama would welcome congressional interruption of the war. That would give him the exit strategy he's so sorely lacked for Libya from day one.

Meanwhile, in the country we're not at war with, a coalition airstrike killed 15 today, including three children.  Campbell Clark sees civilian deaths as the main threat to the mission's success:

The military mission in Libya that began as the enforcement of a no-fly zone and has escalated to heavy air strikes is now facing a test of international and public support: not because of a high death toll of Western combat troops, as in Afghanistan, but because of another toll that goes with air strikes – civilian deaths of the Libyans whom the mission is mandated to protect.

Over in Yemen, Sadeq al-Ahmar, a former Saleh ally and influential tribal leader, calls on Saudi Arabia to prevent Saleh's return, saying it would lead to "sedition and civil war."  Gregory Johnsen warns against the US drone war in this context:

If the US continues to pursue this same flawed strategy it will continue to get the same flawed results – more AQAP recruits and a stronger, bigger organization.  And eventually it will expand this war into something it can't kill its way out of – intensifying or doubling-down or whatever you want to call this new development will yield the same, only more so.

(Photo of a US Predator drone by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.)