War Powers Resolution: Libya

Letter From the President to Congress re Libya Operations

By Jack Goldsmith
Monday, March 21, 2011, 9:52 PM

Today President Obama sent this letter to Congress, “as part of [his] efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” about the recent operations in Libya.  After citing UNSCR 1970 and 1973, and explaining both the humanitarian and national security grounds for military action, the letter stated:

The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime's air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi's armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The President added, in WPR letter boilerplate, that he “directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to [his] constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”