State Department Defends Libyan War to Senate Foreign Relations Committee


The Senate Foreign Relations committee heard testimony today on the president’s mission in Libya. Harold Koh, State Department counsel told the committee that the 1973 War Powers Resolution does not apply to the U.S. military intervention in Libya. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541-1548) is a federal law intended to check the power of the President in committing the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of Congress. The resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution this provides that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The White House and State Department have asserted for weeks that the mission in Libya is a NATO led mission and does not meet the resolutions definition of war due to the limited exposure of US armed forces in the mission.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), explained to Koh the president's decision to intervene without congressional support was a "fundamental failure of leadership that placed expedience" before constitutional responsibility. "There was no good reason why President Obama should have failed to seek authorization" and that the administration displayed, "lack of constitutional discipline" in this case.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a mark-up hearing on the Libya War Authorization at 2:30 EST. The hearing will be aired live @