It should come as no surprise that President Obama moved ahead with air strikes without congressional approval. While the Constitution divides power over foreign affairs between the executive and the legislative branches, in recent decades the executive has dramatically expanded its authority over military affairs. And despite the War Powers Resolution of 1973, most recent presidents have committed troops at some point without first consulting Congress.
What is perhaps being overlooked in this conversation, however, is President Obama’s disregard for the American public and its concerns about the country’s involvement in Libya. According to Rasmussen Reports, even after the missile strikes, only 34 percent of likely voters think the United States should get more directly involved in the Libyan crisis.
President Bush was criticized for continuing the war in Iraq despite not having the popular support. But, as Tim Carney wrote in the Washington Examiner yesterday, he at least gave a nod to the gravity of the situation “by solemnly addressing ‘my fellow Americans’ from the Oval Office.” At no time before or during the president’s trip to South America did he offer a clear explanation of America’s role – or its goals – in fighting against Qadhafi.