U.S. Congress Can End NATO’s Libya War Of Aggression

Kucinich should lead a fact-finding Congressional mission to Libya to see whether Libyans prefer the AU plan or NATO’s destructive war whose sole aim is to instal the pro-Western rebels.

[Black Star News Editorial]

Opposition to the United States’ unconstitutional involvement in the immoral Western war of aggression on Libya being carried out through NATO continues to grow among U.S. lawmakers. At the end of the new 90 day NATO cycle, the war would have cost U.S. tax-payers $1 billion.

Several Republican members of Congress recently sided with a Democrat on a bill that seeks to end an American role and one of those detailed the reasons for his objection on the pages of The Wall Street Journal this weekend.

NATO, especially on behalf of France and Britain, is trying to instal a pliant regime in Libya and has ignored a peace plan on the table that would end the war and usher democracy.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. was busy focusing on the war of aggression on Libya, conditions have deteriorated in both Yemen and Syria, where dictators actually unleashed the national armies, with tanks, machine guns and helicopters against civilians. Syria is now on the brink.

So why the fixation on Libya?

The political leader of the Libya insurrection Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Jalil, was Muammar al-Quathafi’s justice minister until early this year. In an interview with The Financial Times on March 14, 2011, he said new oil concessions would be granted based on the level of support each Western country provided the rebels in ousting al-Quathafi. Immediately thereafter Western countries led by France and Britain escalated attacks on Libya.

NATO hijacked what might have originated as a genuine anti-regime uprising and has now degenerated into a Western backed civil war.

U.S. lawmakers should force a halt to American participation. The U.S. pays almost 3/4 of NATO’s bills and without Washington sustaining the war, the combatants in Libya would be forced to come to the negotiating table.

On June 3, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 148-265 against a bill authored by Democratic lawmaker Rep. Dennis Kucinich–it demanded that the U.S. halt any involvement in the Libyan war.

The Kucinich measure would have passed had it not been for a devious ploy by Republican House speaker John Boehner. When he realized that enough Republicans were willing to vote with Rep. Kucinich, a Democrat, Boehner introduced his own bill.

Unlike Kucinich’s, the Boehner bill did not call for the withdrawal of U.S forces. It simply called for an accounting of the cost from President Barack Obama and an explanation from the president about the U.S. involvement in the Libyan civil war. So, lawmakers now had a face-saving option and many voted for Boehner’s watered down bill which passed 268-145.

Still, 87 Republicans voted for Kucinich’s bill, more than the 61 votes that he garnered from fellow Democrats. Ironically, Democrats –the so-called party of liberals– have now become the party of warmongers. Democrats condemned George W. Bush as a war criminal for launching the Iraq war eventhough unlike President Obama, Bush, to his credit did seek lawmakers’ approval.

At least Bush, at the end of the day, could argue that Sadam Hussein was a genocidal killer who gassed his own citizens. Even then Congress was still wrong to authorize the war, sold and justified by Bush on bogus “intelligence.”

As a candidate, President Obama was most vocal in criticizing Bush and Republicans for the Iraq war–in fact, it’s the main reason why he defeated Hillary Clinton for the nomination and eventually won the White House.

Now, President Obama is determined to pursue an unconstitutional and unjustifiable war on Libya. NATO bombardments have destroyed billions of dollars of Libyan infrastructure and without a doubt, given the intensity, killed innocent people.

Just as in the Iraq war, Western media outlets are not eager to assess or investigate the deaths of civilians in the Libya war. The war is also supported by newspapers such as The New York Times which became very critical of Bush’s Iraq war but whose editors now seem to have lost their minds and become cheerleaders promoting U.S. involvement in France’s and Britain’s imperial war on Libya. On this score the Times see eye-to-eye with the right wing editorial pages of The Wall Street journal.

Only the United States Congress has the authority to declare war. Should the president engage U.S. forces in combat, under the War Powers Resolution, he is required to seek Congressional authority within 60 days. The U.S. has been in the Libyan war for 85 days now.

Rep. Kucinich should revamp his bill and introduce it again. He will find many Republican allies who are outraged that President Obama has ignored the War Powers Resolution.

One such prominent Republican lawmaker expressed his anger on the pages of the June 11 – June 12 issue of The Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Dan Burton writes that President Obama “argues that he couldn’t consult with Congress because immediate action was needed to protect civilians from massacre. If true, a surgical engagement in Libya might be justified.”

Burton continues, “But the president’s claim is false. He spent one month consulting with NATO, the Arab League and the U.N. Security Council. This fact is inescapable. The president sought permission from foreign leaders but not the U.S. Congress.”

He continued: “On September 11, 2001, our nation was attacked. President George W. Bush still sought authorization from Congress before going into Afghanistan. Similarly, President Bush sought congressional authorization before invading Iraq. President Bush respected the authority of Congress and the limitations of the Constitution. President Obama does not.”

Burton, the Republican from Indiana concludes, “The Constitution is not a list of suggestions; it is the law of the land.”

Perhaps realizing that the U.S. Congress could eventually rein in the American military role, NATO has escalated bombing attacks on Tripoli and on al-Quathafi’s residence. NATO hopes to assassinate the Libyan before Congress can vote again.

What makes the NATO bombardments, described by Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a call to a “medieval crusade” even more reprehensible, is the fact that the African Union has presented a viable peace plan. The proposal has been ignored by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Western media.

The plan calls for a ceasefire, humanitarian relief, negotiations involving all Libyans for a constitution and democratic elections. Ironically, al-Quathafi has accepted this proposal, delivered to Libya by South African President Jacob Zuma, even though it might involve his being defeated at the polls.

NATO, the rebels in Benghazi and Washington have rejected the African Union plan — preferring war and more death and destruction in Libya.

Rep. Kucinich in addition to reintroducing his proposal should also lead a fact-finding Congressional mission to Libya to see whether Libyans prefer the AU plan or NATO’s destructive war whose sole aim is to instal the pro-Western rebels.

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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