From the Editors of the Washington Post: The Obama administration’s depiction of its Libya venture as too halfhearted to be covered by the War Powers Resolution contains an unfortunately large dollop of truth. President Obama’s commitment is sufficiently halfhearted to undermine the NATO alliance. It is sufficiently halfhearted, and confused in its statement of purpose and its connection of ends to means, to give Moammar Gaddafi hope that he can hang on. It is not, however, so halfhearted as to justify the administration’s evasion of its legal duties under the war powers law. . . .
We believe that an honest appraisal of the activities that the United States continues to engage in would put the administration squarely within the purview of the War Powers Resolution. By the administration’s own account, these include airstrikes aimed at “suppress[ing] enemy air defense,” “occasional strikes by unmanned Predator” drones, and intelligence and logistical support that aid other NATO members in carrying out their strikes.
We supported Mr. Obama’s decision to join NATO allies in the U.N.- sanctioned effort to keep Libyan strongman Gaddafi from slaughtering his people. The president is right to sustain the effort until a regime less dangerous to its own people is installed, and he would be wise to heed U.S. allies and join in the effort more robustly. But it strikes us as fatuous to argue that the United States is not engaged in hostilities, given that the NATO bombing campaign could not be taking place without active U.S. support. (photo: French Ministry of Defense/Reuters)