War Powers Resolution doesn't apply to Libya, key official says
June 28th, 2011
11:35 AM ET
11 years ago

War Powers Resolution doesn't apply to Libya, key official says

Washington (CNN) - A top State Department legal adviser told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday that the 1973 War Powers Resolution does not apply to the U.S. military intervention in Libya - an assertion sharply disputed by many members of Congress.

Harold Koh argued that the measure is not applicable because America's role in the NATO-led mission is limited in terms of its scope, means, exposure of U.S. forces, and chances of escalation.


Filed under: Dick Lugar • Libya • President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Pawlenty: Obama has 'failed' in the Middle East'"

    Minnesota: Pawlenty has "failed" Minnesota.

    Studiously ignoring that THE MN GOV'T IS SHUTTING DOWN, eh CNN? Gotta prop up the GOP's candidates as much as possible so you have your "interesting" presidential election field to discuss, right? Wherever would be without the 24/7 "news" cycle?

    June 28, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "placed expedience" before constitutional responsibility."

    You mean like the conservatives on the SCOTUS?

    June 28, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Isn't Sen. Lugar one of the voices who called for swifter action back in March; go in with boots on the ground? Sen. Lugar is placing politics ahead of the security of the nation and our allies. This issue over the WPA is one for the courts to decide. The US does not have boots on the ground. Our forces are part of forces previously authorized to work with NATO forces as NATO commanders see fit. This is one for the courts to decide.

    June 28, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. maf

    What part of UN resolution does Sen Lugar not understand? If it was Bush, they would have asked "why not more"?
    2012 is on the way, hope the Republicans have their resumes in order, they have not added to the job pool and will be looking for one in a tough market! KARMA for the party of NO!

    June 28, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. diridi

    this guy is a real idiot....that's all. GOP does not have any kind of stance, except blaming every thing on Obama. Do some one say that it is the biggest mess created by GOP idiots for thirty years...... Nasty Animals of GOP thugs.. I pity. Obama2011.

    June 28, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Sen. Lugar's comments are designed to get the Tea Party led Right Wing Inquisition off of his back. The Inquisiors are gathering signatures on pledges to not ever increase revenues and other forms of non-compromise. Please note that the Senator offers no domestic solutions. Please, do not blame the Senator for this. The Inquisitors prohibit their members from speaking their minds or expressing original opinions. All statements must come from the pre-approved playbook of talking points.

    June 28, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. gt

    stay out ...we dont belong there ...no more wound , dead service men.. no more waste of money.. chest beaters who want war .. you go enlist ...

    June 28, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Gee, Dick, where was your righteous indignation when Saint Ronald of Reagan attacked Libya in 1986? I was in the Navy back then and didn't hear a peep from you or any other Republican about it. Where was your righteous indignation when you found out you were hoodwinked by Dubbya because there were no WMDs, just Chalabi pressing for a free pass back home to avoid prosecution for bank fraud in 7 different countries? Where was your outrage when you found out that our troops had Osama bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, but were ordered to pull back by then SecDef Rumsfeld?

    No answer? Than please keep your Holier-Than-Thou attitude out of this.

    June 28, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Candide

    Just looking at this guy the words "leadership" and "moral integrity" instantly come to mind.

    June 28, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. David S.

    Sorry, Mr. Lugar...but you are sorely mistaken.

    The "failure" would have been to stand idly by waiting for the current do-nothing congress to make up their minds...all the while allowing Gaddafi's forces to massacre thousands & wipe the city of Benghazi from the map.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    June 28, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. The Clear Thinking Independent

    I`d say the President has FAILED to get a single American soldier caputures, wounded, or KILLED in Libya.

    He has succeeded in restoring America`s global stature as a Superpower than can convince Canadians, European, Arab & African nations to not only oppose, but to contribute significant forces, to oust tyrannical dictator in power for 42 years.

    Obamals "failure" in this way is virtually unprecidented. Reagan couldn`t do this. Daddy Bush built coalitions – but the US did the heavy lifting in Dessert Storm. And we all know Baby Bush [aka the Cowboy] didn`t build coalitions.

    Obama has revealed the impotence of the GOP-controlled Congree on foreign affairs. He has taken "Foreign Affairs" off-the-table in the election. He has failed to be a Republican punching bag.

    Kadaffhi will be removed from power likely with a push from the Russians. Yep, the President has failed alright.

    June 28, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. GI Joe

    He Hell No Caucus in the House and the back-stabbers in the Senate are losing all common sense. They have sold out to the highest corporate bidder.

    June 28, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Steve

    Another old fool who doesnt undcerstand the War Powers Act or our responsibilities to our allies according to treaties signed prior to the War Powers Act. Maybe he should familiarize himself with section 8 of the WPA, then maybe he might say something intelligent but since the logic would be against his current stance he wouldnt believe what was written anyway.

    This old fool wouldnt know what our responsibilities are or what we have signed or what our duties are. He should just fade away into history, like most ineffectual ignorant leaders do.

    June 28, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. once upon a horse

    seems as though one the the Republicans have done since 2009 is unite to be against EVERYTHING this president has done. And even if they have to flip/flop their views to do it. They have done that as well being for something before the president agreed with them, then once he does they are against it. If they had worked on getting jobs as hard as they have not worked with Obama we might not have 9% unemployment.

    June 28, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. ConservaFASCISTS

    You are "sticking a stick in the eyes of Congress," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, told Koh.
    I personally am glad with the President's decision to intervene in Libya. Congress can't even agree that tax increases are required to bring revenue into the Treasury, how can we expect a resolution on War Powers from a dysfunctional Congress. Congress is broken!

    June 28, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Why congress spending time on Libya just to kill this calendar year they don’t want tackle big issues next year election year another excuse

    This is the way they work on taxpayer money

    June 28, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. New Age Independent

    "The administration has repeatedly asserted that the U.S. role in Libya does not meet the law's definition of hostilities. The president reportedly overruled contrary legal opinions put forward by both the Pentagon and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in declining to seek congressional authorization of the mission. "

    Obama has clearly stepped over his authority by ignoring Congress in this instance. His actions are most certainly in violation of the War powers Act. If Bush had pulled this stunt, Liberals would be rioting in the streets, yet the Democrat double standard is full in effect here. It's pathetic!

    June 28, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. DA

    DUH!!! You would think many of those so call rep and senators in congress with law degrees would know that!!
    @New Age Independent.... do you really think the President (Who use to teach Constitutional law mind you), who has at his disposal the AG and other top legal officials at his disposal would do this without their consul first? Dude use a little common sense sometimes and stop letting the media and those seeking political gain to influence what I hope are some dormant god given talent...jeez!!!

    June 28, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Chas in Iowa

    No boots on the ground , no war. The GOP had best get on with what they were sent to Washington for, remember jobs?
    They were not sent to be obstructionists, they were not sent to further the GOP agenda, they were not sent to spout GOP rhetoric, not tax breaks for the wealthy.....................jobs. When will you idiots get it,... JOBS!

    June 28, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Panda

    If you people would actually READ the War Powers Act. It SPECIFICALLY states in section 1547 (d) that the EXISTING TREATIES ARE UNAFFECTED BY THE WAR POWERS ACT. Since the United States is not attacking Libya on its own, and is working with NATO (which the United States is a part of), the War Powers Act does not apply (since NATO was established before the War Powers Act).

    June 28, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. New Age Independent

    @DA Clearly you did not read my post fully. The Pentagon and Justice Department BOTH counseled the President in this matter. He chose to ignore that council and violate the law. This has nothing to do with Constitutional Law. This is about the War Powers Act, of which he is clearly in violation. I'm sorry that you are so blinded by your partisanship that you cannot see the issue as it exists.

    June 28, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |

    Have people forgotten that President Obama is a constitutional attorney, and that he taught it?
    Anything to distract from the jobs you promised, eh GOP?

    June 28, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Harold Koh argued that the measure is not applicable because America's role in the NATO-led mission is limited in terms of its scope, means, exposure of U.S. forces, and chances of escalation.
    All totally irrelevant. Nothing but red herrings.

    Are US military forces involved in dropping bombs on, firing missiles at or shooting bullets at another country? YES, YES, and YES. Obama and his zombie supporters do not consider the laws of this country to apply to them.

    June 28, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    How is this Libya situation any different from the US sending drones into Pakistan, which no one in Congress complains is a violation of WPA?

    June 28, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. mmm

    What country am I in? All I here from the Dems are excuses, lack of morals & blame games. Ask, do U want 2 keep Being part of the problem or Part of the Solution.

    June 28, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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