Nicholas Freiling

In an attempt to circumvent the "War Powers" legal challenge President Obama is facing regarding his authorization of military action in Libya, Sens. John Kerry and John McCain are pushing a resolution that authorizes a limited role for US forces in North Africa. AP reports:

“Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, planned to introduce the resolution on Tuesday. McCain spoke about the measure on the Senate floor.

“He said the resolution would authorize President Barack Obama to advance U.S. national security interests as part of the international coalition challenging Moammar Gadhafi. The authority would be limited to a year.

“The measure would be a counter to efforts in the House to cut off funds for the operation.” This resolution is different than the weaker resolution the Senate pushed last month. It authorizes limited military activity for up to one year, recognizing that there is no reason to put US forces on the ground in North Africa.

This resolution positions McCain in stark contrast to many of his fellow Republicans who have expressed concern over the ambiguous US mission in Libya, especially in light of the budget/debt crisis. It is, however, in line with his harsh criticism yesterday of the emerging “isolationism” among Republicans, specifically among 2012 GOP presidential contenders. But in his criticism, McCain failed to address the reason for the recent "isolationist" trends among some Republicans, that being the high price tag on the many US foreign policy engagements.

Update:

Apparently, part of Sen. Kerry's justification for such a resolution is that US military action in Libya does not "rise to the level of 'hostilities'" as defined by the War Powers Act. Maybe that's true...but that does not mean that the ambiguous and indefinitely long mission is not costing American taxpayers $9.5 million every day.


Nicholas Freiling

Nicholas Freiling is a Townhall editorial intern.