Advancing a Free Society

The President's campaign against Libya is constitutional

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Several days into a campaign of air and sea strikes against Libya, I agree with many of the arguments from critics of the intervention: President Obama acted imprudently in committing American forces to a conflict with an ill-defined national security justification. It is unclear how, on balance, a third war in a Muslim country helps our foreign policy goals. It is uncertain that the intervention will produce a regime more to our liking than Qaddafi's. It is hard to justify military action in Libya while the United States does not use military force in the face of brutal crackdowns by allies elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was especially unwise not to explain this action to the American people in advance or to better consult with and seek formal authorization, or at least political support, from Congress.

But that said, I depart from the critics of the Libya action, and fromSens. Obama and Hillary Clinton themselves circa 2007, and from the academic writings of Legal Adviser to the State DepartmentHarold Koh on this one point: I do not believe that the military action in Libya is unconstitutional.

Continue reading Jack Goldsmith at Slate...