By Fred Lucas
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Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), campaigning for president on Sept. 21, 2008, in Charlotte, NC.. (AP photo/Chuck Burton)
(CNSNews.com) - As a presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) emphatically stated that the Constitution does not give the president the authority to unilaterally authorize a military attack unless it is needed to stop an actual or imminent attack on the United States.
Obama made the assertion in a Dec. 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe when reporter Charlie Savage asked him under what circumstances the president would have the constitutional authority to bomb Iran without first seeking authorization from Congress.
“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,” Obama responded.
“As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States,” Obama continued. “In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch.”
Obama did not seek congressional authorization before joining allies, including Great Britain and France, in taking military action against the regime of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi in order to establish a no-fly zone over that country. The action was approved by the United Nations Security Council but not by the U.S. Congress.
In a followup question in its December 2007 interview, the Boston Globe asked Obama if the Constitution gave the president the power to disregard a congressional statute putting some type of limit on the way troops could be deployed. Here, too, Obama deferred to the constitutional authority of Congress.
“No, the President does not have that power,” Obama told the paper. “To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.”
John Greenewald, Jr.
The Black Vault Website Owner / Operator
April 9, 2009
He is on a real fine line as to IF actual US citizens are at risk in Libya. It has immediatly turned from a no fly zone into a supporting role for the rebels, which was a forgone conclusion. You can not go half way on these things, because its impossible. Once you are in the game, the game is on, and anyone who thinks eventual committment of ground troops will not happen is fooling themselves. In addition Obama had plenty of time to goto the Congress, since he procratinated so long. They should have been first, followed by the UN. Instead he went to the UN and bypassed his own system. It was a blunder, and may be more of an impeachable act than you ever saw from Clinton or Bush.
EVeryone chanted, "No more of Bush", when McCain/Palin ran, and the voters wanted this man. In his 2 years, he has appolgized all over the world for the USA, Blundered the affairs with Russia and Iran with direct contact that was rejected, Spend far more than Bush increasing the deficiet, and now this blunder. The voters asked for it, and now they have 2 years of failure. Bush is looking better and better everyday IMHO.
Sorry, but this President is worse than Jimmy Carter ever was tanking the economy, and even worse the way he is making the USA weaker and less credible than any President ever. What Commander in Chief tells the Enemy the date we will leave Iraq, and on the first Day tells Kadafy, "don't worry, we won't send any ground troops in."
What he should have done is gone to Congress, get all his legal Ducks in a row, taken the full command, and led Kadafy know all options are open.
April 9, 2009