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Washington D.C. – The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Taskforce call on Congress and the president to immediately end our war in Libya. The U.S. has been engaged in hostilities for over 90 days without congressional approval, which undermines not only the powers of the legislative branch but also the legal checks and balances put in place nearly 40 years ago to avoid abuse by any single branch of government.
By Mike Ferner, Interim Director, Veterans for Peace
Begging your forbearance, I just had to take a break from ongoing administrative duties here at the VFP office to respond to the most recent in a long string of grotesque outrages.
I'm referring to the Obama administration's response to a federal lawsuit filed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich and 9 other Members of Congress contending the Libyan adventure is unconstitutional, as well as a letter from House Speaker Boehner warning the President to observe a deadline in the War Powers Act and get Congressional approval for invading Libya.
The administration's response to Congress -- and I am not joking or borrowing a line from the Daily Show -- is that Mr. Obama can spend a billion dollars bombing the daylights out of Libya based on nothing more than his own authority because:
· it falls short of a “war” in the constitutional sense.
Here's what Congress members should back:
Ten Cosponsors for Kucinich-Amash Libya Defund Amendment
Washington D.C. (June 22, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the war in Libya, and Michigan Republican Justin Amash who has also been a vocal opponent to the war, are officially introducing an amendment to the FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill to cut off funds for the war in Libya.
Other cosponsors include Congresspersons Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Peter Stark (D-CA) and Ron Paul (R-TX).
“The war in Libya is illegal, unconstitutional and unwarranted. It is critical that Congress move forward to exercise its power of the purse and cut off funds for the war,” said Kucinich.
Prior to consideration of HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 in May, 2011, Kucinich offered an amendment to end the war, but it was blocked from floor consideration. Since then, appropriations bills have been thus far considered under a rule that allows all amendments.
The following is a dangerous position taken by Congressman Kucinich in that, by choosing the lesser of two evils, he nonetheless would help Congress go on record as agreeing that certain military actions are not "hostilities" or subject to Congressional authorization. In contrast, the worse of the two evils, the resolution authorizing the war, fails to establish any precedents other than the usual one of an irrelevant Congress pretending to matter and endorsing crimes after the fact.
Washington D.C. (June 22, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the war in Libya, is today urging Members of Congress to support a resolution modeled from a Kucinich resolution to end the war in Libya. He sent the following letter to colleagues:
June 22, 2011
This week, pursuant to resolutions crafted by Speaker Boehner, you will be given two options on Libya. One would continue the war in Libya. The other would withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities.
The first resolution would authorize the war to continue for at least another year, at a potential cost of billions.
The second resolution is not perfect, but represents our best chance of creating conditions that lead to the end of the war. While it is modeled after my resolution calling for full withdrawal, it allows the United States to provide “non-kinetic” intelligence and operational support for NATO, while making it clear that the United States will not take over the war as European support continues to diminish.
The second resolution will not end the war immediately, but it will prohibit the Administration from expanding U.S. involvement in the war.
Other nations lack the United States’ capabilities to continue the war. Other nations are losing support for the war from their public. The withdrawal resolution would prevent this Administration from causing the U.S. to take over the war in Libya as other nations step back.
I urge you to vote NO on the resolution which authorizes the war in Libya and continues the war for another year. I urge you to vote YES on the resolution which orders the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in Libya. This is a defining moment. Let us use our constitutional authority to bring an end to a war.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress
Washington D.C. (June 21, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the illegal, unconstitutional and unwarranted war in Libya, today distributed the following leaflet to his colleagues ahead of the consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations bill:
1. It is unconstitutional. Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the war power. The President has made it clear he believes he does not need Congressional consent to conduct this war. If Congress does not challenge this war, there will be more wars to follow.
Dave Crouch looks at War is a Lie by David Swanson, a new book about the stories our rulers tell to sell their imperial projects
Does this sound familiar? A dictator is massacring his own people. He is a threat not only to the region, but also to us here in Britain.
He has weapons of mass destruction.
Something must be done—urgently. While we hesitate, children are dying. People are being hideously tortured. They are defenceless. They are pleading for us to act.
We have the technology to ensure swift and clean victory. The choice is civilisation or barbarism.
With overwhelming firepower and precision bombing, we can stop this tyrant. There is no alternative.
These were the lies peddled to the British public in 2003 when Tony Blair dragged us into the disastrous war in Iraq.
NATO Bomb Kills Civilians in Tripoli
“A Political Settlement May Be the Only Way to Truly Protect Libyan Civilians”
Washington D.C. (June 20, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, urging accountability for NATO’s recent attacks which resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians.
“In light of this event, I reiterate my request that the United Nations (U.N.) take immediate steps to ensure that member states, acting in Libya under NATO and pursuant to a U.N. mandate to protect civilians, are held accountable for possible violations of international law and pertinent U.N. Security Council resolutions,” wrote Kucinich.
Kucinich also enclosed a copy of a blueprint for peace and self-determination in Libya as a proposal to begin negotiations on a political settlement that would end the conflict which continues to put civilians at risk in Libya.
“It is vital that NATO work with the U.N., its member states and the international community toward a politically negotiated end to the conflict. Indeed, a political settlement may be the only way to truly protect Libyan civilians from harm and bring an end to a protracted conflict. To that end, I have enclosed a structured series of steps patterned after the African Union effort which can serve to end the conflict,” wrote Kucinich.
See a signed copy of the letter here.
And least we not forget the millions of refugee's created in our names, the U.S., over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as area's of Pakistan!
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - NATO said Saturday it mistakenly struck a column of Libyan rebel vehicles in an airstrike near an eastern oil town two days earlier and expressed regret for any casualties that might have resulted.
The alliance has accidentally hit rebel forces before in its air campaign to protect civilians in the civil war between Moammar Gadhafi's military and the fighters trying to end his more than four decades in power. The rebels have also complained that NATO's strikes have not helped them gain decisive momentum against the Libyan leader's better trained and equipped military, which still has firm control over most of western Libya. The rebels control much of the east.
The alliance statement gave no figures on casualties from Thursday's airstrike, but said it regretted "any possible loss of life or injuries caused by this unfortunate incident."
For years there was debate on Capitol Hill over whether or not Congress could end a war by cutting off the funding. Despite the Constitution's clarity, and the clarity of numerous precedents, Senator Russ Feingold was obliged to hold hearings to explain to his colleagues what the power of the purse is. That debate is over.
Those who pretended for years they didn't have the power to cut off the dollar spigot have dropped the pretense. Now it's purely about whether they have the will. The reason for this shift, of course, is that they are actually close to having the will.
On May 26th the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 416 to 5 an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 sponsored by John Conyers and 17 other congress members that (if left in by the Senate) blocks the use of any funds in that act to put US troops or contractors on the ground in Libya.
Weaknesses of this move include:
Parallels Kucinich Analysis of War Powers Resolution
Obama Overruled Pentagon Definition of War
Washington D.C. (June 18, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who along with 9 other Members of Congress has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the President’s violation of the War Powers Resolution regarding the war in Libya, today made the following statement after The New York Times reported that the Pentagon’s general counsel and the acting Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised President Obama that the war in Libya does constitute ‘hostilities’ as applicable to the War Powers Resolution.
Under the Pentagon and Justice Department's legal interpretation of the War Powers Resolution, the President, after May 20, would have either had to end U.S. involvement in the conflict, reduce the mission or get Congressional authorization to continue.
Duplicitous Congressional Posturing on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
In Washington, hypocrisy and duplicity substitute for resolute action to obey international and constitutional law. In fact, they're mere artifacts long ago discarded to advance America's imperium.
All Washington's wars are illegal. International law permits them only in self-defense. Constitutional law only lets Congress, not the president, declare or wage them overtly, covertly or any other way for any reason unless America was attacked.
Moreover, the principle of non-intervention (a cornerstone of international law pertaining to national sovereignty) prohibits meddling in the internal affairs of other countries as stipulated in the UN Charter's Article 2 (7), stating:
Michael Munk sent this Email:
Don WV of West Virginia wrote to the NYTimes June 17 in response to its revelation that Obama
rejected the advice of this Office of Legal Counsel in refusing to ask Congress to vote on his Libyan war. With a straight face, Obama claimed that it depended on what "hostilities" are.
"On April 26, the Defense Department designated troops operating in Libya, Tunisia and a portion of the Mediterranean Sea as eligible for imminent danger pay of $225 a month, retroactive to March 19, which was the onset of Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector. According to the Pentagon, such a designation applies to "foreign areas where U.S. military personnel are
subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions. Maybe the White House can help Congress understand why U.S. troops are entitled to combat pay absent "hostilities!!
Amendment Would Cut off Funds for Libya War
Washington D.C. (June 17, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led House opposition to the unauthorized war in Libya and filed a complaint in federal court to challenge the war, will again offer an amendment to the upcoming Defense Appropriations bill to cut off funds for the continuation of the war.
“This Administration brought our nation to war without Congressional approval or the support of the American people. When Congress demanded an explanation, the Administration tried to argue that bombing operations and support of other countries’ military operations in Libya, which cost almost $9.5 million per day, do not constitute war. In a direct challenge to Congress, the Administration is continuing the war despite its inability to provide a constitutional or legal justification for bypassing Congress. Congress must use its constitutional authority of the power of the purse to end this war.
When a national television program this week needed to find a spokesperson for the right of presidents to launch wars without congressional authorization, it turned -- to the great shame of us University of Virginia alumni -- to Robert Turner. He is the co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law.
The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.
Here's the key section from Wednesday's report to Congress:
On Wednesday in federal court, 10 members of the U.S. Congress sued President Obama in an attempt to end U.S. involvement in a war in Libya.
These are the plaintiffs: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Dan Burton (R-IN).
According to a statement from Congressman Kucinich:
Members of Congress to Announce Federal Lawsuit Concerning President Obama, the Libyan War and the American People
***TIME CHANGE: 12:00 PM ET***
Washington D.C. (June 15, 2011) – Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Walter Jones (R-NC) will tomorrow lead a bipartisan group to file a complaint in federal court concerning President Barack Obama, the war in Libya and the American people.
Date: June 15, 2011
Location: Courthouse Steps, 333 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20001
Kucinich, Jones and fellow members will make remarks on the steps of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia following the filing of their lawsuit. They will be available for questions at that time.
And now we're over a decade of oh so many lessons not learned and in not one but two theaters of with a third front being bombed and invaded right next door to one of the two and joined with NATO in bombing another that the previous administration had brought the leader of back into the fold after years of calling him a terrorists supporter and supporting terrorists criminal acts!
As we were coming out of Vietnam, especially in the end of, the Country with almost one voice said they'd "never forget the lessons of!" that lasted oh probably five minutes or, even without cable then, a couple of news cycles as we've seen during this whole past decade. The War Hawk Neo-Cons thought they had the lessons, not the real lessons of wars of choice, needed to occupy and control an invaded country, well a decade plus later DeJa-Vu all over again.
Four days before President Obama made the unilateral decision for war with Libya, under the innocuous banner of a humanitarian NATO action to prevent civilian deaths, the African Union met in Ethiopia to discuss Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi’s proposal to unite the African continent with Arab states in a confederation called the United States of Africa. Both our president and the lapdog U.S. press failed to inform the American people why this just might be of interest to them.
Gaddafi’s plan calls for a common African currency. The Libyan dinar would become the African dinar with more than one billion people and many of the top oil producing countries using it. Libya, with 143.8 tons of gold worth $6.5 billion and the world’s ninth ranked oil reserves, just may have the resources to pull this off.
Read the rest at: http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/2152
“There is a difference between diplomacy and threats.
Remarks from a plenary at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here, and for having invited me to a similar conference five years ago. Maybe in 2016 we can meet under better circumstances. I'm especially glad to have come back to Europe because George W. Bush can no longer do so. He recently canceled a trip to Switzerland because an indictment for torture awaited him there.
It is an honor to speak together with Tony Benn, Lindsey German, Sanasino Al-Yemen, Mohammed Kozbar, and George Galloway, whose wonderful TV show I was on yesterday.
Remarks from a session at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here. And it is an honor to speak together with Steve Bell and Kevin Ovenden, and I'm sorry Joe Glenton was unable to be here. Kevin and I will be on "The Real Deal" with George Galloway tomorrow, so please watch.
Afghanistan was supposed to be the campaign promise that President Barack Obama actually kept. He said he would escalate that war and enlarge the military and strike into Pakistan, and sure enough he did. But he made another promise since the election that we actually want him to keep, and he's going to violate it before the next election. Clearly we need an activist force apart from elections to address this.
Sens. Webb, Corker Introduce Joint Resolution on Libya Operations
Requires Administration to justify actions, prohibits troops on ground, calls for Congressional authorization of continued operations
Washington, DC—Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today introduced a joint resolution requiring the Administration to provide a detailed justification of U.S. operations in Libya and prohibiting the deployment of U.S. troops on the ground there. It further calls on the President to request authorization for the continuation of U.S. involvement in NATO activities and states that Congress should fully debate such a request expediently. Nearly 90 days after the initiation of force in Libya, such debate has not occurred.
Libyan Peace Must be Based on National Unity, Not Domination
Washington D.C. (June 7, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose pivotal involvement in the House of Representatives has resulted in bi-partisan efforts to impose Constitutional restraints upon the President’s exercise of war power in Libya, today put forth an 10 point plan for peace with the intention of beginning a discussion among the diplomatic community and interested parties. The plan, a result of more than a month of consultations, would provide the principles for a blueprint that includes an immediate cease-fire and transition to a stable, democratic Libya.
See the Kucinich Plan here.
UPDATE: HRes292 passed. HCR51 failed.
The U.S. House of Representatives today will vote on two resolutions.
H.C.R. 51 sponsored by Dennis Kucinich would -- if also passed by the Senate -- have the force of law and end the Libya War. If this does not pass, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said on the floor this morning, there are no circumstances in which a president will not be able to go to war at his/her whim.
Fearing that Kucinich's resolution might pass, Speaker John Boehner has introduced H.Res. 292, a toothless resolution that would not carry any force and not even go to the Senate for a vote. This resolution admits that the war is unauthorized but does not end it or even suggest ending it.
Congress members are speaking in support of congressional power but bowing to partisan power and presidential power. They need to hear from you.
Call (202) 224-3121
Tell your representative you want a lawmaker, not a court jester.
A Vote to Permit the Continuation of an Illegal War is a Vote Against the Constitution
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today sent the following letter to colleagues encouraging them to support his legislation to end the war in Libya:
You will be asked to vote on two resolutions; H.Con.Res. 51 and a resolution offered by Speaker Boehner, H.Res. 292, both of which address U.S. military involvement in Libya. While H.Res. 292 is not at odds with H.Con.Res.51, it is not a substitute for my resolution and does not have anywhere near the same impact. There are clear differences and it is imperative that members clearly understand them because a consequence of voting for one (H.Res. 292) and not the other (H.Con.Res. 51) is an endorsement of the illegal and unconstitutional action that has been taken by the White House.