When Bill Clinton launched military attacks on other countries, Republicans said he had no power to do so and would be wrong even if it were legal. They were opposed to “nation-building” — at least until George W. Bush started doing it, in which case it became fine. Under Bush, it was Democrats in the streets chanting, “Bush lied, people died,” and demanding an end to war. But now that Barack Obama is continuing policies that are pretty indistinguishable from Bush’s, I don’t see many Democrats in the street chanting.
On Friday, we had the news that President Obama ignored the legal advice given to him by the top lawyers in the Pentagon and the Justice Department saying that he had no legal authorities to continue attacking Libya without congressional approval starting about a month ago. (I’m ignoring the entire question of whether the War Powers Act is even constitutional.) Obama wanted to keep attacking the Libyan regime after the 60-day window allowed by the War Powers Act, so he just ignored it.
Well, it’s not entirely fair to say he ignored he. He merely redefined what he was doing. He claimed that the bombing the U.S. military was doing in Libya didn’t amount to “hostilities.” Just how many people do you have to kill before the action becomes hostile?