–Peter Deccy, Development Director
One thing the killing of Osama bin Laden accomplished is it put aside any shame that should rightfully be borne by NATO for the ghastly bombing of Saif al-Arab’s home this past weekend which killed al-Arab, the son of Moammar Gaddafi and three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren, ages 6 months to two years of age. Unable to win, unwilling to accept failure or pay a higher cost themselves, NATO tried to take Gaddafi out, missed and killed the innocent it insists it is there to protect.
By May 20, President Obama is required by the War Powers Act to seek Congressional approval for US participation in military operations against Libya. While the US has relinquished its lead role in the campaign, it remains a part of the coalition and US troops are still engaged in military operations. The War Powers Act allows the president to use military force for 60 days without congressional approval. The President must follow the law and if US forces remain involved, even peripherally after that date, the President needs Congressional approval.
The President has said Gaddafi has to go. Even though that is not the stated goal of the administration or its coalition partners, it’s hard to see how they will be satisfied with less. It already clear they underestimated Gaddafi’s support, the tribal allegiances at play in Libya and the ability of the opposition to sustain its cohesion and organized opposition.
NATO tried to end Gaddafi’s rule with one ‘precision’ missile attack and in my view, relinquished any claim to the moral high ground it may have been able to claim in the process.
The War Powers Act exists to prevent US involvement in open ended warfare where objectives are unclear and our interests and values are not served. Even though I suspect Congress would disregard this intent and extend US involvement in this sorry affair, I am even more concerned the precedent set by Congressional inaction sets the stage for future nightmares with even less legitimacy.
The so-called War on Terror has become our very own license to kill. Killing innocent people is the problem, not the solution.