Kucinich Says President Obama Needs Congressional Authorization for Libya No-Fly Zone

By John R Parkinson

Mar 18, 2011 5:51pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is calling for the recessed Congress to come back into session after President Obama announced that the United States will support a United Nations-approved no-fly-zone over Libya.

Kucinich, an outspoken opponent to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in a statement that the president does not have the Constitutional power to unilaterally declare war and called on House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to immediately call the Congress back into session “to decide whether or not to authorize the United States’ participation in a military strike.”

“While the action is billed as protecting the civilians of Libya, a no-fly-zone begins with an attack on the air defenses of Libya and Qaddafi forces. It is an act of war. The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war,” Kucinich, D-Ohio, wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders Friday afternoon. “Whether the U.S. takes military action is not for the UN alone to decide. There is a constitutional imperative in the United States with respect to deciding to commit our U.S. armed forces to war.”

“Both houses of Congress must weigh in,” he added. “This is not for the President alone, or for a few high ranking Members of Congress to decide.”

But the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told ABC News Friday afternoon that he did not believe Congressional authorization is necessary for U.S. involvement, and credited the president for opening up a White House national security briefing today to Congressional leaders from both parties.

“I don’t think he needs it,” Rogers said. “I think that he was smart to bring up members of Congress – both parties, put us in the Situation room, and talk about what he’s planning to do, to try to build Congressional support; I think that was the right decision. We do have to be in this together, there’s a lot going on in the world, the United States is in a lot of places right now, we need to do this together if we’re going to do it at all.”

Earlier Friday afternoon, President Obama issued an ultimatum to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to immediately implement a ceasefire in all parts of Libya and allow international humanitarian assistance or risk military action against his regime.

"These terms are not subject to negotiation," President Obama said from the East Room of the White House Friday. "If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences and the resolution will be enforced through military action."

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