Obama to Congress: By the Way, We’ve Moved on Libya

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(Wall Street Journal) — President Barack Obama Monday formally notified Congress the U.S. had begun military attacks on Libya, prompting complaints from lawmakers that the president waged war without congressional consent, appearing to contradict his own previous position.  In a letter to congressional leaders, the president said the U.S. had “commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council” and “to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya.”  Presidents over the decades have conducted military operations without prior congressional approval, including Harry Truman in Korea, George H.W. Bush in Iraq and and President Bill Clinton in Serbia. Congress in 1991 approved the Iraq military action, five months after Mr. Bush deployed forces to the region in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The military action in Libya, which Congress wasn’t asked to approve, irked lawmakers.  Sen. Jim Webb, (D., Va.,) said in an interview Monday with MSNBC, “We have not had a debate and I know that there was some justification put into place because of concern for civilian casualties, but this isn’t the way that our system is supposed to work.”

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