One of the most outspoken critics of President Barack Obama has been conservative talk show host Mark Levin. But on his Tuesday evening syndicated radio program, Levin stuck up for Obama — at least as far as his right to use U.S. military force against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.
The president has had his share of critics on the issue of using military force in recent days – both on the right and the left, and some have even questioned the constitutionality the intervention. However, according Levin’s interpretation of the president’s constitutional authority, a formal declaration of war from Congress is not required for him to proceed with strikes against Libya. (h/t The Right Scoop)
“You know, some of you aren’t going to like what I have to say because I don’t believe in politicizing the Constitution,” Levin said. “I believe the Constitution is the rock of the society. All this talk about the attacks on Libya are unconstitutional because we don’t have a declaration of war – that’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous. There are many occasions where we don’t have a declaration of war because a declaration of war would require that we use all of our might to destroy our enemy. So you can be involved in certain battles or military activities that would not require a declaration of war. You can look throughout American history to prove the point. You can actually look at the conduct of the Founders when they were in government, soon after the establishment of our government. Just be very careful about your arguments and think them through for a principled point of view. Don’t listen to Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, unless you want to be entertained. Stick with the Constitution.”
Levin explained Congress could ultimately stop the military action against Libya if it wanted to – by defunding the war effort. However, he said neither Speaker of the House John Boehner, nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has shown any indication they want to do so.
“What amazes me is – is Congress passive, or is Congress dormant?” he said. “Congress could meet tomorrow and cut off funds – tomorrow, if that’s what Congress wants to do. Has Boehner proposed an emergency session of the House of Representatives, to cut off funds? No. Could he? Yes. Would he get the votes? I don’t know, but he could try. Could Harry Reid do the same? Yes. Will he? I don’t know. He could try. So it’s not like Congress is without recourse.”
But the Founders never intended for Congress to be in charge of exercising war powers, said Levin. In a situation where the security of the country is at stake, Levin said the Founders knew that swift action would be required — and not a decision by committee.
“The Founders, if you look at history and look at the debates – oh yes I have. They did not want Congress in charge of war-making,” Levin said. “They debated that as a matter of fact. They discussed it and they rightly decided we cannot have a committee of representatives in the House and senators in the upper chamber in charge of wars – too many opinions, too many factions, too much debate, particularly when the nation’s national security is at stake.”