Liberals outraged by Libya intervention

April 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- Liberal Democrats, key to Barack Obama's election as U.S. president, are some of the loudest critics on his strategy on Libya, a review of reaction indicates.

Floor speeches, committee hearings, even legislation, have been used by congressional liberals to voice outrage over the administration's decision to send U.S. forces to help Libyan rebels oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi, The Hill reported Friday.

"In two years we have moved from President [George W.] Bush's doctrine of preventive war to President Obama's assertion of the right to go to war without even the pretext of a threat to our nation," Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, an anti-war liberal, said Thursday during a House floor speech. "This is a clear and arrogant violation of our Constitution. Even a war launched for humanitarian reasons is still a war -- and only Congress can declare war."

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said Congress and the White House have argued for years over the division of power in wartime, but "the Constitution grants sole authority to the Congress to commit the nation to battle in the first instance."

With Gadhafi threatening to attack protesters, international forces -- first led by the United States and now by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- launched air and sea assaults to establish a no-fly zone and weaken the Libyan military. Obama explained his decision on Monday, saying it was based primarily on humanitarian grounds.

Wednesday's classified briefing from administration officials didn't ease liberal concerns about how the operation began, either, The Hill reported.

"It still needs authorization," Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., said after the briefing.

House liberals also are backing a Republican bill that would remove all funding for the intervention until Congress authorizes it, The Hill reported. Democratic Reps. Kucinich, Pete Stark of California and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts are among the co-sponsors.

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