Why Talking About Libya Matters
The latest Obama Administration talking point is attempting to make the September 11th attacks in Libya a campaign issue. Both Stephanie Cutter and David Axelrod claim Mitt Romney’s camp is trying to “exploit” the tragedy by mentioning it on the campaign trail.
This obfuscates the problem. It’s not a campaign issue, but a policy issue. It’s still not known why there wasn’t enough protection at the compound, who denied requests for additional security and what intelligence agencies did or didn’t know at the time.
It also doesn’t answer why both the administration and the State Department decided to blame a non-existent “movie” on the attacks, when they apparently treated it like a terror attack from “Day One.” Despite the best efforts of the Administration and their surrogates, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice lied to the American people in various speeches and media appearances on the matter.
The biggest issue is how the original conflict came to be. According to “The Washington Post,” the Arab League and Libyan rebels requested U.S. involvement in March 2011 but the White House was divided. It was Clinton who convinced Obama to launch the airstrikes after several meetings in Europe.
Where was Congress in all this? Nowhere. The administration did the Libyan action without congressional approval. The President did inform Congress of what was going on, but there was no vote on the matter. The only congressional action was the Senate approving the non-binding resolution about a “No Fly Zone.” Outside of that, Congress wasn’t involved.
According to the U.S. Constitution in Article One, Section Eight, only Congress can declare war. The president doesn’t have the power to unilaterally make military decisions.
This is why Libya is an issue because it violated the Constitution.
Situations like this have gotten the U.S. in trouble before. The Korean War wasn’t approved by Congress and neither was the Vietnam War, despite the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Both conflicts ended badly for the U.S. with little or no gain. It’s possible the administration believed Libya was similar to the 1999 action in Yugoslavia but that obviously wasn’t the case. The September 11th attacks proved it.
A truly unconstitutional war has been compounded by a completely avoidable death. Saying it’s being exploited for political means only forwards the belief the administration is hiding something. Axelrod may be being a loyal soldier, but he’s showing the Obama Administration is behaving like poltroons for not tackling what happened in Libya head on.
It’s why Romney and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson can talk about the attacks without it being exploited.