"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"From the Halls of Montezuma..."

The Obama administration's strategic air strikes on Libya's defense systems, according to director of foreign policy studies Christopher A. Preble, confirm the death of the Weinberger/Powell doctrine:

The doctrine that sought to prevent the United States from engaging in risky and counterproductive missions that had nothing to do with protecting U.S. vital interests (e.g. Lebanon 1983; Somalia, 1991; and Kosovo, 1999) is dead. Shovel dirt on it.... It goes too far to claim that the Libyan intervention killed the Weinberger/Powell doctrine. It was already dead, or at least very sick. But I see President Obama's latest decision as a clear indication that the relative wisdom and prudence of the Reagan/Bush I years is but a distant memory.

Not only was the president's decision unwise and imprudent—it was unconstitutional, says John Samples, director of Cato's Center for Representative Government:

President Obama told Congress that the use of force in Libya was intended "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya." But the framers did not empower the president to initiate war to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, deal with threats to international peace and security, or protect the lives of foreign nationals. The framers stated that the Constitution was instituted to provide for the common defense of We, the People, not the defense of people everywhere.

Vice president for defense and foreign policy studies Ted Galen Carpenter notes that there are other practical problems with the administration's decision to engage:

Even well-intentioned interference on behalf of the rebels is likely to raise suspicions in that country and throughout much of the Muslim world that Washington is trying to hijack the Libyan uprising for its own purposes. Given America's woeful reputation among Muslim populations, such accusations are inevitable and are likely to be believed.

Preble is the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, and Carpenter is the author of Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America. Don't miss Samples's podcast, "Tea Partiers, Wars and Fiscal Restraint."


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