The President of the United States often faces unforeseeable dilemmas that demand tough decisions based on reliable intelligence. The recent events in Libya presented President Obama with such a scenario. But how our Commander in Chief chose to handle this new dilemma raises serious questions about his understanding of constitutional checks and balances.
Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi is every bit the madman Ronald Reagan once said he was, but are the rebels adherents to Jeffersonian democracy or Bin Laden’s radical jihad?
In 2007, then-candidate Obama said that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
I agree with candidate Obama. Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to heed his own advice. He has ignored our constitution and engaged us in a military conflict without congressional debate and approval.
The subtext to the President’s speech concerning Libya tonight was “What if we had done nothing?” But a better question might be, What if helping Libya’s interest actually hurts America’s interests? What if we are sending our military to places where we might actually be helping the same terrorists we fight in other countries or potential future terrorists?
It’s time that we re-examine these policies by once again consulting the Constitution on such matters and the common-sense principles that made this country great. We can no longer afford to spend what we don’t have. And we can’t afford to address every other nation’s problems before we can address our own.
Over the coming days and weeks, Congress will force President Obama to confront these questions. Our brave young men and women have answered the call of duty time and time again over the past decade.