Jacob Sullum on Obama's Lame Excuses for Going to War Without Congressional Approval



A few years ago, when President Obama unilaterally decided to get involved in Libya's civil war, he argued that he did not need approval from Congress because bombing military targets did not constitute "hostilities" under the War Powers Resolution. That argument was so laughable, Jacob Sullum writes, that it was rejected even by the war's supporters in Congress and the press, not to mention Obama's own Office of Legal Counsel.

For a while last week, Sullum says, it seemed the Obama administration was trying out a variation on that claim as an excuse for the newly expanded military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly refused to call a war. But the White House quickly corrected Kerry: This is a bona fide war—just not the sort that Congress has to declare.