Although I wouldn’t go so far as saying I’m endorsing the military action in Libya, do read Juan Cole (emphasis in the original):
United Nations allies France, Britain and the United States took the lead Saturday evening in imposing a no-fly zone on Libya. French and British fighter jets flew dangerous missions, given that the anti-aircraft batteries of the pro-Qaddafi forces had not yet been knocked out. Then the United States launched a barrage of 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, targeting Qaddafiâ€™s anti-aircraft installations. Apparently this role of taking out Qaddafiâ€™s air defenses is the primary one envisaged for the US, after which it will fade into the background and allow other UN allies to take the lead. In Paris, the Qatari foreign minister announced that Qatari jets would join the mission, but did not say when. …
… Ironically, actual anti-colonial movements such as Algeriaâ€™s FLN or National Liberation Front back in the late 1950s and early 1960s often attempted to elicit the intervention of the United Nations. In that regard, the elation of the Benghazi crowds at the UNSC resolution authorizing a no-fly zone stands in a long tradition of seeking succor from oppression from the international community.
Moreover, the impetus for the no-fly zone came from the Arab League, full of what used to be called Third World states. It was tabled at the UNSC by Lebanon and supported by Bosnia, Nigeria, Colombia and South Africa. As for â€˜crusades,â€™ it is not an accusation that can plausibly be launched against the Arab League, full of Muslim states, or, indeed, against Bosnia or the current Lebanese government or religiously plural Nigeria.
Michael Moore can bellyache all he likes, but I think that if the impetus did indeed come from the Arab League, and as it is a UN action more than a US action, the action in Libya really isn’t anything like Iraq. Further, I don’t think the U.S. is in a position to sit out of a military action that so many allies seem determined to pursue.
I read in The Hill that “A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya.” This is something that needs to be questioned. However, I struggle to remember the last war that began in an unquestionably constitutional way. World War II, maybe?
As I understand it, however, the President’s actions in Libya so far are entirely within the current War Powers Act, at least as other recent presidents have interpreted it. I think it would be grand if some future and less wingnut-riddled Congress revisited the War Powers Act and reined it in quite a bit. However, screaming that the President deserves to be impeached, as Dennis Kucinich is doing, for authorizing a military action that laws of Congress (arguably) allow him to authorize is, um, stupid. You can’t impeach a president for doing something that Congress has said president may do. Maybe Congress should impeach itself first.
See also Earl Ofari Hutchison.