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Kucinich on Libya: “This is about stopping a war now”

Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic congressman from Ohio, is leading a biparistan effort to end the US military intervention in Libya. Earlier this month, he was instrumental in compelling Republican leaders in Congress to pass a resolution criticizing President Obama’s refusal to seek approval for the conflict from the Capitol. Now, he’s leading a group of ten members of Congress who are filing a lawsuit against the president’s disregard of the War Powers Resolution in continuing the conflict.

At 2:17 in the above clip, Kucinich says:

This is about stopping a war now. This is not an academic question. This is about the primacy of the constitution in the affairs of our nation.

And more. Democrats like Kucinich, and Republicans like Ron Paul, are each finding reasons to oppose the war: questionable constitutionality, the absence of moral authority, and the spiraling cost—$10 million per day, reportedly.

Yesterday, the White House tried to explain itself with some crafty reasoning that the War Powers Resolution doesn’t really apply in this case because of the nature of the conflict:

U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.

Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith isn’t buying it. Nor is Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman who is currently on the ground in Tripoli, and who rejects the report’s downplaying of the hostilities—or, excuse me, “kinetic action”:

The people of the United States are not getting the truth from the government or the media about the massive destruction in Libya, including the killing of civilians by the NATO bombing campaign. I am here in Libya and we can see the carnage.

Besides, as David Swanson points out, “The Obama report to Congress spends half its time claiming that the United States is not part of the NATO operation in any major way, and the other half warning that the NATO operation would collapse without the United States.” The report continues:

If the United States military were to cease its participation in the NATO operation, it would seriously degrade the coalition’s ability to execute and sustain its operation designed to protect Libyan civilians and to enforce the no-fly zone and the arms embargo[.]

At worst, a contradiction; at best, a convenient gray area for the White House. The report’s logic is troubling to those of us who have noticed how the technologies of war-at-a-distance—like drones, cruise missiles, and smart bombs—only makes killing easier for governments to justify. It also raises important questions about the nature of engagement in multinational military coalitions.

Swanson has organized a statement of opposition to Obama as long as he continues supporting the wars. And, meanwhile, more than a quarter of the Senate has called on the president to scale back operations in Afghanistan next month, as promised.