It’s now almost two months since the sternest congressional resolution against Obama’s war in Libya and against the pathetic legal argument employed to circumvent the War Powers Resolution failed, losing out to John Boehner’s resolution asking Obama to pretty please explain himself. No additional resolutions have been drafted and efforts to prohibit funds towards the war effort have fizzled down to nothingness. The contrast between the relative uproar in the weeks after the initiation of force and the quiet subordination of now is really something to behold. It’s as if high crimes and misdemeanors committed by our nation’s highest officials are statutorily promoted to “legally permissible” after a few months. Criminality of those in power have swift expiration dates. Wars, however, do not.
One effort is technically still pending. That is the lawsuit that ten Congress members filed against the Obama administration for taking the country to war illegally. But according to a just-released Congressional Research Service report, these efforts are historically not fruitful:
[O]n eight occasions [“which concerned U.S. military activities in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Grenada; military action taken during the Persian Gulf conflict between Iraq and Iran; U.S. activities in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (prior to the congressional authorization); and U.S. participation in NATO’s action in Kosovo and Yugoslavia”] Members of Congress have filed suit to force various Presidents to comply with WPR requirements or otherwise to recognize Congress’s war powers under the Constitution…Although the courts have not ruled out the possibility that a conflict over the use of force between Congress and the President could require a judicial resolution, they have thus far deemed the matter to be one for the political branches to resolve.
So the only effort still ongoing to stop the Executive branch from acting outside the law is likely to be dismissed by the courts on jurisdictional or other grounds, if history is any guide. The entire political class and mainstream media have shifted the focus to the politics of recognizing the rebels as legitimate and rather chaotic, variously contradictory negotiations with them and the Gadhafi regime. Meanwhile, the American people have peaked in their boredom regarding Libya.
I wrote last week about how the national security state “absolutely relies upon the forgetfulness and apathy of the American people.” They certainly seem to be getting what they wished for.