By John T. Bennett - 03/21/11 10:33 PM EDT
A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee escalated his party's attacks on the Obama's administration's military action in Libya, calling the move unconstitutional.
“The United States does not have a King's army," Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in a statement released Monday evening. "President Obama's unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution."
Bartlett lashed out at Obama for opting against getting lawmakers' OK before using "military force against a country that has not attacked U.S. territory, the U.S. military or U.S. citizens."
Obama notified lawmakers of his authorization for the mission in a letter.
Bartlett's statement was the harshest yet from House Republican leaders, who are lining up against the Libyan operation.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) issued separate statements Sunday afternoon questioning the administration's goals in Libya.
Some senior Senate Republicans, including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), have said they support sending U.S. forces to Libya to help set up and maintain a no-fly zone.
In the statement, Bartlett called Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a tyrant who has mercilessly attacked his own people.
But for Bartlett, that is not enough to justify U.S. military intervention.
"It is self-evident that the tragic situation in Libya is not an emergency since the Obama administration sought and obtained support from both the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council to authorize military force against [Gadhafi]," Bartlett said in the statement.
The veteran lawmaker also panned the administration for taking the time to organize more than 20 nations for the no-fly zone mission, but not to gain congressional approval.
Bartlett also sought to place the responsibility for the operation squarely on the president's doorstep.
"Failing to obtain authorization from the U.S. Congress means that President Obama has taken sole responsibility for the outcome of using U.S. military forces against [Gadhafi] onto his shoulders and his administration," Bartlett said.