Obama's unauthorized war on Libya costs $9,421,000 a day: Are you getting your money's worth?
The Obama administration is spending almost $9.5 million every single day to blow things up in Libya because the president has determined that is in the country's national interest, this country's national interest, not Libya's.
You may not have noticed the $392,542 flowing out of the national treasury every hour, day and night, since those first $1.5 million Tomahawks flashed from the launch tubes back on March 19.
But Libya's dictator Moammar Kadafi has. Not enough to quit, mind you, because he can hide while his troops do the dying and killing.
Kadafi's military might has been degraded sufficiently by allied missiles and bombs to perhaps create a long-lasting stalemate with rebel forces in the desert conflict that Obama initially promised House members would last a matter of days, not weeks.
Thirteen weeks later Obama, who was elected running against the war in Iraq, finds himself also embroiled in an escalating constitutional conflict at home over another war that he started while touring South America with his family in March.
You may recall that nine days later the Real Good Talker did what he usually does when attacked; he gave a speech to address the outcry over the sudden conflict without meaningful congressional consultation.
"When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act," the Democrat declared. The president made the case that Kadafi was a ruthless ruler, who vowed "no mercy" on his own protesting countrymen. Obama added:
We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen.
The trouble is that numerous bad guys are killing their own people all the time around the world. Syria comes immediately to mind as a place where government security....
How could the Nobel Peace Prize winner order a military intervention over a possible civilian massacre in Libya, which was not attacking the United States, but do nothing over an actual civilian massacre in Syria? And how exactly is avoiding a stain on the world conscience in the vital national interests of the United States?
Additionally, Capitol Hill and many Americans have the notion that....
.... Congress is responsible for declaring war. They cite the War Powers Act of 1973, a legislative legacy of the divisive Vietnam War, which was also prosecuted by a Democratic president.
That act, passed by a veto-beating two-thirds majority, sets numerous requirements for any president involving the U.S. military without congressional authorization or a declaration of war: There must be an "attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."
The president must notify Congress within 48 hours. And the White House has a total of 90 days to prosecute the conflict and withdraw without a declaration of war or legislative authorization.
Sunday is Day 90 of the Libyan war.
As Congress prepares to debate the new fiscal year's defense budget, House Speaker John Boehner warned the president this week he would be in violation on Sunday and mentioned cutting off funds for the mission. Cutting funds to troops, however, is extremely risky politically and unlikely.
The ongoing, deeply divisive debate originated with a lack of genuine consultation prior to commencement of operations and has been further exacerbated by the lack of visibility and leadership from you and your administration.
On Wednesday, Reps. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, and Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, both staunch war critics, sued the administration in federal court over what they call its unconstitutional prosecution of a war.
On the same day the administration delivered a package of materials to Congress maintaining basically that the conflict, which will have cost $1.1 billion by late September, is so limited and inconsequential that Obama does not need congressional authorization.
Lawyers for Obama, who is not the first president to ignore the War Powers Act, argued the Libyan operation is not so much war as normal military operations that sometimes might involve hostilities:
U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.
A Boehner spokesman called the White House response "creative arguments" requiring further study and ongoing consultations.
(Debate to Be Continued, No Doubt)
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters (Allied bombs blast government vehicles in Libya); Reuters (Kadafi greets Obama, 2009); Hassan Ammar / Associated Press (Rebels prepare for battle).