Obama Faces Growing Threat of
Impeachment over Libya War Violations
June 20, 2011 (EIRNS)—Talk of impeachment is again in the air in Washington, triggered by President Barack Obama's flagrant violation of the War Powers Resolution, and the U.S. Constitution itself, with his Libyan war adventure. As Lyndon LaRouche has put it, Watergate II is in process. And it couldn't come a moment too soon, given the necessity to remove British puppet Obama in order to get the urgently needed Glass-Steagall resolution through Congress.
Under the United States Constitution, the President is Commander in Chief of the armed forces, but only Congress can declare war. In the climate of Watergate, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (WPR) in 1973, which requires the President to report to Congress immediately upon the introduction of U.S. military forces into "hostilities," and then requires the President to obtain Congressional authorization within 60 days, or else he must withdraw U.S. forces within 30 days after that.
Obama ordered U.S. forces into action, including air strikes against Libyan targets, on March 19, and Obama submitted a report to Congress on March 21, explicitly pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. But as the 60-day deadline approached, the White House made it clear that Obama would not seek Congressional approval, using the sophistical arguments that NATO had taken over command of the operation, and that the U.S. role was "limited." A number of commentators noted that, by refusing to seek Congressional authorization, he was going further than any other President in ignoring the WPR. Although all previous Presidents had questioned the constitutionality of the WPR, all had in fact sought Congressional approval or authorization of significant military actions—exactly what Obama was refusing to do.
Indeed, on April 8, a former Justice Department official in the Reagan Administration, Bruce Fein, issued a proposed Article of Impeachment against Obama for launching the Libya war without Congressional approval. As the 60-day (May 21) deadline came and went, resolutions were filed in Congress to cut off funding for the Libya war, and institutional voices—such as Sen. Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized Obama for not seeking Congressional authorization under the WPR for the Libya operation.
In a slap in the face to Congress, the White House submitted a 32-page memorandum to House Speaker John Boehner on June 15, filled with detailed facts about the alleged "humanitarian" reasons for the Libya intervention. In one paragraph, the memo asserted that Obama does not need Congressional authorization under the WPR because the action was taken under the authorization of a United Nations Security Council resolution which limits the scope of military operations, and that the U.S. is only playing a "supporting" role for the NATO coalition.
On June 17, it was disclosed that Obama had overridden the advice of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and the Pentagon's top lawyer who advised the President that the WPR was in effect and that he must comply with it. The OLC is the office charged with providing legal advice to the President, and normally, its opinions are binding on the White House.
But not this White House. Instead, Obama chose to accept the advice of his political crony, White House Counsel Robert Bauer, and the State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh—a leading proponent of "humanitarian intervention" and the "responsibility to protect" in violation of national sovereignty, an attitude strongly also held by two other top Obama advisors, Samantha Power and the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.
The repercussions of Obama's blatant violation of the WPR and the Constitution will be unfolding in Washington over this and coming weeks.