Friday, October 21, 2011

Qaddafi's death and the Libya War

Another Bad Man is dead, this time Libya's Muammar Qaddafi. Time will soon tell whether that will bring something like peace to Libya or set the stage for a new phase in the civil war.

Here is a segment from RT's The Alyona Show featuring Robert Farley of the Lawyers Guns and Money blog discussing the Constitutional and practical issues around American intervention in the Libya War.

This is President Obama's announcement on Thursday 10/20/2011 of Qaddafi's demise with his framing of the American intervention:

The US intervention in Libya has not been popular at home. From George E. Condon Jr., Even Libya Victory Holds Little Promise for Obama's Success National Journal 10/20/2011:

"There was a good deal of interest in Libya during the first week of NATO bombing but relatively little since then," said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center. He said that in the week that rebels captured Qaddafi's compound, only 22 percent said they were following the story very closely.

And those who did follow Libyan developments were less than enthusiastic about Obama’s policy. A Fox News poll conducted Aug. 29-31 found that only 30 percent favored the U.S. military involvement. A majority of 55 percent opposed it, with 14 percent unsure. The opposition included 66 percent of independents, 58 percent of Republicans, and 50 percent of Democrats. More recently a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed 61 percent of the public views Obama’s foreign policies as favorable. The same poll shows they generally disapprove of his job performance.
The higher approval rate among Republicans is a reflection of Republican partisan politics. Our super-patriotic Republicans aren't as enthusiastic about what Bob Dole once infamously called "Democrat wars" as they were about Dick Cheney's wars.

Lindsay Graham, one of the Senate's War Trinity (along with Maverick McCain and Joe Lieberman), talked to McClatchy News about the partisan politics of the Libya War, as reported by William Douglas in Lindsey Graham says GOP opposed Libya mission because Obama was president 10/20/2011. Graham said, "Congress took an irrational view of the War Powers Act. I guarantee you that a lot Republicans who wanted the War Power Act invoked would not have asked for it to be invoked if President Obama were not president."

That's surely true. But the Madisonian conception of separation of powers counts on, among other things, crass political opportunism and institutional jealousy between Congress and the Executive to raise Constitutional issues. In the case of war powers, the courts have traditionally been hesitant to step in. So if Congress doesn't challenge the President for overstepping his authority in a military intervention, in becomes one more in a long series of precedents that puts the Congressional war powers as defined in the Constitution in de facto abeyance.

Charlotte Observer cartoonist Kevin Siers celebrated the death of Qaddafi this way:

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