OTHER VOICES

What took so long?

Posted June 08, 2011, at 7:02 p.m.

However clumsy, incurious and self-serving House Republicans have been about holding past administration’s accountable for foreign conflicts, their challenge of President Obama is on target.

Last week, the House reprimanded the president for his failure to secure the consent of Congress as the United States continues to support NATO operations against Libya.

One question: What took them so long? Here is what we concluded in March:

“President Obama owes a war-weary American public an immediate halt to the U.S. role in Libya, and a full explanation of how the U.S. went from geopolitical rhetoric to cruise missiles in a blink.”

The 1973 War Powers Resolution directs the White House to cease hostilities after 60 days if they have not been authorized by Congress. The deadline expired May 20 for the Libya campaign.

The vote Friday, with most all Republicans and 45 Democrats supporting the resolution, had its interplay of partisan politics. Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, had his own measure, which was attracting GOP support in the absence of a Republican statement. Speaker John Boehner ran to the front of the parade.

Obama might have imagined he was finessing his obligation to the American people and the law when he dropped the United States into a secondary role of intelligence and logistical support, and the use of armed Predator drones. Not acceptable.

The president is still putting U.S. personnel, resources and credibility into harm’s way, and he must get congressional approval to do so.

The notion that the GOP resolution, and the version by Kucinich, offer aid and comfort to the likes of Moammar Gadhafi is not compelling. The idea is he, and his ilk, will wait out deadlines. Respect for U.S. law is now based on the predicted behavior of despots?

Obey the law, Mr. President. Seek congressional support, or leave Libya up to NATO.

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