David Kopel on the Legality of Obama's "Kinetic Military Action"


Denver University law professor and Reason contributor David Kopel thinks the United States should use military force to remove Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. But that doesn't mean that Kopel thinks President Barack Obama's "kinetic military action" passes constitutional muster. As he writes today at The Daily Caller:

Is President Obama's war against the Libyan government legal? It is arguably compliant with modern international law, because it has been authorized by the United Nations Security Council. Nothing in international law, however, can change the United States Constitution's procedures for when the United States can go to war — which require the consent of Congress.

It is preposterous to use a euphemism like "kinetic military action" and claim that the military campaign against the Gaddafi regime is not a "war." If any nation sent hundreds of missiles and bombs into the United States, all of them aimed at the American armed forces, the American people would of course consider this to be an act of war. And the stakes have increased with the authorization of covert operations within Libya by the president….

Most importantly, the United States is a constitutional republic and not an empire, and therefore the decision to go to war cannot be lodged in a single man, except in cases of emergency.