By Sam Youngman - 03/21/11 07:45 PM EDT
President Obama told congressional leaders that he ordered strikes on
Libya under his Constitutional authority as commander in chief.
As Democrats and Republicans alike publicly question Obama's authority to order the strikes, the president sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlining the mission and declaring his authority.
At the close of the letter outlining actions the U.S. military has undertaken in recent days, Obama said that he "directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive."
"I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution," Obama wrote. "I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action."
Boehner said over the weekend that the president has a responsibility to be more clear with Congress and the American people about what the specific goals of the mission are.
Obama said in the letter that the strikes "will be limited in their nature, duration and scope."
"The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya," Obama wrote. "United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster."
"Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime's air defense systems, command and control structures and other capabilities of Qadhafi's armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas," Obama wrote.
"We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973," Obama said.