Monday, March 21, 2011

Intellectual Honesty Requires That We Don't Act Like Liberals About the War in Libya

Ronald Reagan bombed Libya. Bill Clinton bombed Kosovo. George W. Bush bombed Afghanistan and Iraq. Now Barack Obama is bombing Libya. There are good conservatives calling this an illegal war and calling on the President to get Congressional approval. Let's slow down here. We don't like the way Obama is running the country. We are against him politically. That's fine. Let's be intellectually honest.

As commander in chief, the president has the explicit authority to order military action. He does have to come back to Congress to get approval at some point (the War Powers Act set a time frame for that, but the War Powers Act was a politically motivated law that pits the legislative branch against the executive branch rather than to create cooperation between the two branches of government at time of war). Congress has every right to demand that the President get its approval. But it's not an illegal war.

If we had to take out a Chinese military installation to prevent a missile launch on America, is the president committing an illegal act by not getting Congressional approval while he acts quickly to defend the country?

When Republicans authorized military action, the Left went nuts screaming "War Powers Act, War Powers Act." Now that a Democrat has done it, some want to scream the same thing. Let's step back and realize that the problem is not that Obama has taken military action (we should be somewhat happy that at least he had a set enough to do that), the problem is he is still an incompetent president.

The focus of the argument should be on the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. Is our "boy president" okay with authorizing military action, but not okay on defining a military objective to remove Gaddafi? Therein lies our problem.

Nickeling and diming how much it costs to launch a cruise missile and playing the War Powers Act card is not helpful. Remember, a Republican president is going to have to make a similar decision down the road. Let's not be hypocrites. A hypocrite is a liberal who screams bloody murder at George W. Bush, yet remains silent when Obama does it. We are conservatives. We believe in the use of the American military for defending our interests as a last resort when lives are at stake.

If Gaddafi is not removed from power and we've wasted all this fire power before turning it over to other countries to lead, it's Obama's fault. Let's not be wrong on the initial principle about the justification for going in. Using a basketball analogy, Obama has every right to take the shot. If he misses it, we don't change the three point rule.

It's a close call. But it's possible to be for the action in Libya and still be against the President's lack of articulating an end game. The liberals can justify it on humanitarian grounds. This writer simply justifies it because as has happened before and as will happen again, a Republican president will also have to invoke his or her right to authorize military action. In order to not be a hypocrite, I'd rather say yes to principle and not jeopardize that principle should Obama screw this thing up. We've been hamstrung since Vietnam because of this.

Besides, establishing a no fly zone is something conservatives have called for.

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