By Mike Lillis - 08/23/11 09:46 PM EDT
But critics such as Kucinich maintain that the administration violated the Constitution by launching the mission without congressional approval. In June, Kucinich spearheaded a bipartisan effort to sue the White House on those grounds.
The debate revolves around the decades-old question of how much power the White House has to go to war without explicit approval from Congress.
Under the Constitution, the authority to wage war falls squarely with the legislative branch. But a 1973 law — the War Powers Act — empowers the president to launch military operations unilaterally in the face of imminent threats.
It was the War Powers Act that President Obama invoked when he entered Libya in March. The law requires presidents to secure congressional authorization within 60 days, or withdraw forces within the next 30. Instead, Obama ceded control of the forces to NATO.
Over the weekend, NATO-backed rebel forces moved into Tripoli, Libya’s capital and the last remaining stronghold of Gadhafi supporters. By Tuesday, the rebels had stormed Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound, where they thought he was holed up. (There’s no sign he was there, according to various reports).
Kucinich said the rebels’ progress provides U.S. policymakers with an opportunity “to review the curious role of NATO and the future of U.S. interventionism.”
“The foreign policy objectives of the Obama administration are cloudy,” Kucinich said.
“Now that NATO, with the help of the U.S., has brought the rebels into the streets of Tripoli to fight, what follows? What’s the plan?”
The Ohio liberal is urging the end of America’s intervention in the conflict so those taxpayer dollars can be used to strengthen the economy at home.
“Resources which should be spent creating jobs in America are going to perpetuate war abroad,” Kucinich said. “Resources which should be used to build bridges in America continue to be used to bomb bridges elsewhere.”