This is pretty disturbing news coming from the New York Times, a paper which is finally starting to focus on abuse of power in the Obama administration. So the Office of the General Counsel, backed up by Obama's own Attorney General and the Pentagon's General Counsel all said that our Libya intervention counted as "hostilities" and therefore would require Congressional approval to continue past May 20th. Did Obama listen to them? Of course not. He found other lawyers that gave him an analysis that allowed him to do whatever he wanted and just followed them. This is all highly irregular and really stinks to high heaven. Clinton's head of the Office of Legal Counsel is quoted as saying "“Decisions about the lawfulness of major presidential actions should be made by the Department of Justice, and within the department by the Office of Legal Counsel, after consultation with affected agencies." Which kind of makes sense from an ethical standpoint right? The Attorney General is the Chief Compliance Officer of the United States, therefore the chief executive shouldn't be over-ruling him just because he can. It's as if Obama thinks he is some kind of monarch who can do whatever he wants by divine right or something. Maybe this is why he is not releasing his transcripts? Perhaps he failed constitutional law? I'm not even sure he did so well even in middle school civics class.
Obama seems to have a history of this type of behavior, that "I'm the President and I can do whatever I want." Remember when he told the GOP "I won" during negotiations over the failed stimulus? Remember when he told McCain "the election is over" at the Healthcare Summit? Or when he said he didn't want the GOP "to do a lot of talking"? As if getting 52.9% of the vote allows him to get unlimited power and the right to shut up the opposition (which he continues to try to do, e.g. his proposal to require government contracts to disclose their political donatons in order to allow him to blackball GOP firms). He doesn't seem to understand that we are not an absolute monarchy, we are a constitutional republic with checks and balances and that while the majority rules, the minority still has rights. That the President can't actually start wars without Congressional approval and UN Security Council Resolutions, while giving cover from an international law perspective, do nothing to make our intervention legal by US legal standards.
We're at the point where even Dennis Kucinich is praising Bush for going to Congress to approve our interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and slamming Obama for not doing the same with Libya. I remember when protesters were calling our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "illegal", though in fact both of them were perfectly legal under both US and International law. It actually took a liberal like Obama to get us involved in an "illegal" war.