I’m not finding in President Obama’s remarks the part where he seeks approval from Congress for military operations in Libya. Last time I checked the Constitution, the Security Council doesn’t get to authorize that.
Rich is right that this is Kosovo II. But Kosovo I is not a precedent — it is an example of illegitimate use of force. Congress refused to approve it. As I’ve argued before, I think it was proper for the courts to decline to resolve this political tug of war between the political branches, but that did not validate Clinton’s actions. And certainly Kosovo was not thought a precedent when the Bush administration decided to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Notwithstanding that those situations actually involved vital U.S national security interests, congressional authorization was sought and obtained before our armed forces were dispatched.
In Libya, by contrast, there are no vital U.S. security interests. That argues more for seeking approval from the representatives of the people being asked to foot the bill, not less.
More on this in tomorrow’s column.