Argument: US merely supporting NATO; War Powers inapplicable
- Debate: Legality of US intervention in Libya - pro argument.
Obama Administration letter to Congress justifying Libya engagement, June 15th, 2011: "The President has honored his commitment to focus the preponderance of our military effort on the front end of operations in Libya, using our unique assets to destroy key regime military targets and air defense capabilities in order to establish a no-fly zone and enable protection of civilians as part of the enforcement of UNSCR 1973. These actions set the conditions so that, after a limited time, command of these operations transferred to NATO. Since that April 4 transition, U.S. military involvement has been limited to a supporting role, enabling our allies and partners to ensure the safety of Libyan civilians."
[...] U.S. Support to NATO Mission Acting under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, and as part of a multilateral coalition with broad international support, Operation ODYSSEY DAWN (OOD) was launched on March 19, 2011, to protect the Libyan people from Qadhafi’s forces. Responsibility for leading and conducting this mission — now called Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR (OUP) — transitioned on March 31 to an integrated NATO command, with all operations fully under NATO by April 4. The focus of OUP is to protect civilians and civilianpopulated areas under attack or threat of attack. The mission continues to concentrate on three elements: enforcement of a naval arms embargo, enforcement of a no fly zone, and actions to protect civilians from attack or the threat of attack. The Department of Defense is providing forces to NATO in support of OUP. U.S. armed forces now provide unique capabilities to augment and support NATO and coalition partner contributions. These capabilities include the following: electronic warfare assistance; aerial refueling; strategic lift capability; personnel recovery and search and rescue, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support; and an alert strike package. The United States is also augmenting the NATO Peacetime Establishments at the three NATO Headquarters with a number of additional U.S. military personnel. The additional strike assets described above are on continuous stand-by alert status to augment NATO and coalition forces if their capacity or capability were to be deemed inadequate by Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and those assets were subsequently authorized for use by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
A list of specific United States military assets is provided in a classified annex.
As President Obama has clearly stated, our contributions do not include deploying U.S. military ground forces into Libya, with the exception of personnel recovery operations as may be necessary.
As articulated at the NATO Ministerial discussions on June 8, the decision has been made to extend the operation for another 90 days, from June 27, 2011, until the end of September 2011. This sends a clear signal that NATO will stay the course and will keep up the pressure necessary to bring this crisis to an early conclusion.