The U.S. is mostly providing intelligence, surveillance and recon in Libya…right? No. We’re doing all that, and then we’ve also flown 801 strike sorties (“132 of which dropped ordnance”) since March 31st. The point to note here is that the administration claims the 1973 War Powers doesn’t apply to our involvement in Libya, because our involvement is limited, but we learned this week that not only are U.S. NATO resources being used, under a U.N. resolution, but F-16s have entered the conflict from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.
“American strikes are limited to the suppression of enemy air defense and occasional strikes by unmanned Predator UAVs against a specific set of targets.” The report also says the U.S. provides an “alert strike package.”
Dalrymple named the Air Force’s F-16CJ and Navy’s EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft as the primary platforms that have been suppressing enemy air defenses.
However, those F-16s are not solely drawn from units based in Spangdahlem, Germany, or Aviano, Italy. The service has reportedly deployed U.S.-based units to Europe to conduct these operations.
Earlier this month, Malta Today reported that two F-16s from the 77th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Wing, made emergency landings on the island. The 20th Fighter Wing is based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula says it is not unusual that we are “participating,” because we are members of NATO, but what is unusual is that we are participating in actual bombings not planned and carried out by U.S. commanders. Staring that fact in the face is the 1973 War Powers Resolution which requires that the President seek permission from Congress for the combat activities we are involved in, or withdraw troops within 30 days:
“It’s not necessarily a violation of the War Powers Resolution,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap, now associate director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, and visiting professor of the practice at Duke University School of Law. “[But] it does raise questions about the scope and intensity of our participation versus how it’s been represented.”
Others disagreed. The president is in clear violation of the War Powers Resolution, said Robert Turner, co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia. Under the legal definition of hostilities, even providing logistical support or intelligence data qualifies as such, he said, never mind firing missiles from Predator UAVs or F-16 fighters.
The Obama administration says the War Powers Act doesn’t apply to Libyan hostilities because…the U.S. role is limited. Read the entire story at AirForceTimes.