Time Running Out in Libya?

Even defenders of broad presidential prerogatives are starting to conclude that Obama’s war in Libya violates the original legal justification for it offered by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Department of Justice.

Briefly put, the OLC said the Libyan war was not a war because the operation would be limited as to means, objectives, and duration. Thus, the OLC argued, neither the Constitution nor the War Powers Resolution constrained the president’s prerogatives.

The objective has changed from protecting civilians to regime change. The war itself has gone on now for as long as the unauthorized war in Kosovo in 1999. Jack Goldsmith concludes: “as the days drag on, and as our deep involvement persists, it becomes harder and harder to represent that this mission is limited in nature, duration, and scope.”