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July 2011, Week 1

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Thu, 7 Jul 2011 01:57:03 -0400
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The US Must End its Illegal War in Libya Now

    President Obama has ripped up the US
    constitution for Nato's ill-considered Libyan
    adventure. Congress must restore sense

By Dennis Kucinich 
Guardian (UK) 
July 6, 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jul/06/libya-nato1

This week, I am sponsoring legislation in the United
States Congress that will end US military involvement
in Libya for the following reasons:

First, the war is illegal under the United States
constitution and our War Powers Act, because only the
US Congress has the authority to declare war and the
president has been unable to show that the US faced an
imminent threat from Libya. The president even ignored
his top legal advisers at the Pentagon and the
department of justice who insisted he needed
congressional approval before bombing Libya.

Second, the war has reached a stalemate and is
unwinnable without the deployment of Nato ground
troops, effectively an invasion of Libya. The whole
operation was terribly ill-considered from the
beginning. While Nato supports the Benghazi-based
opposition (situated in the oil-rich north-east), there
is little evidence that the opposition has support of
the majority of Libyans. The leading opposition group,
the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (which
had reportedly been backed by the CIA in the 1980s),
should never have launched an armed civil war against
the government if they had no chance absent a massive
Nato air campaign and the introduction of Nato troops.
Their reckless actions, encouraged by western
political, military and intelligence interests, created
the humanitarian crisis that was then used to justify
the Nato war campaign.

Third, the United States cannot afford it. The US cost
of the mission is projected to soon reach more than
$1bn, and we are already engaged in massive cutbacks of
civil services for our own people.

It is not surprising that a majority of Republicans,
Democrats and independents alike think the US should
not be involved in Libya.

This war is misguided. An invasion would be a disaster.
Nato already is out of control, using a UN mandate
allowing for protection of civilians as the flimsy
pretext for an unauthorised mission of regime change
through massive violence. In a just world, the Nato
commander would be held responsible for any violations
of international law. As a means of continuing the
civil war, Nato member France and coalition ally Qatar
have both admitted shipping weapons to Libya, in open
violation of the United Nations arms embargo.

In the end, the biggest casualty of this game of
nations will be the legitimacy of the UN, its
resolutions and mandates, and international rule of
law. This condition must be reversed. The ban on arms
supplies to Libya must be enforced, not subverted by
Nato countries. The US must cease its illegal and
counterproductive support for a military resolution
now.

The US Congress must act to cut off funds for the war
because there is no military solution in Libya. Serious
negotiations for a political solution must begin to end
the violence and create an environment for peace
negotiations to fulfil the legitimate, democratic
aspirations of the people. A political solution will
become viable when the opposition understands that
regime change is the privilege of the Libyan people,
not of Nato.

___________________________________________

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