Kucinich pushes for peace in Libya

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"The president violated the Constitution, by taking us to war without asking us," he told The Hill. "He also violated the War Powers Act. And NATO has been in active violation of the UN mandate.

[Global: Libya]


In an interview with The Hill, Kucinich said his bill would offer a peaceful alternative for political reform in Libya, where the government of Moammar Gadhafi is in a civil war with rebels. The U.S. has been involved in NATO air strikes on Gadhafi troops.

Kucinich said a key element of his proposal is to begin a political dialogue that leads to democratic reforms in Libya. But he said this can only happen along with an end to military operations.

"There has to be a verifiable cease-fire," Kucinich said. "NATO has to stop. And the U.S. and other allies have to stop the attacks." Kucinich's new bill follows his introduction of a privileged resolution that would call on the United States to end its military presence in Libya. Kucinich is hopeful this resolution can be taken up on the House floor by mid-June and said he will soon discuss with Republican leaders the chances of having a floor debate on that resolution.

Kucinich is also pushing for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week that would block the funding of military activities in Libya. As Kucinich's own amendment was not made in order by House Republicans, he said he will support a similar amendment offered by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).

But it remains unclear whether any of these lines of attack can work, as House Republican leaders have yet to indicate whether they have any interest in policing the Obama administration's decision to engage in military operations in Libya. Kucinich said this week's vote on the Garrett amendment will be a good indication of how badly House Republicans would like to exert their influence on Libya.

For Kucinich, the issue is cut and dried. "The president violated the Constitution, by taking us to war without asking us," he told The Hill. "He also violated the War Powers Act. And NATO has been in active violation of the UN mandate.

"And so you have a carnival of lawbreaking going on, among international players, which I think in the end endangers NATO itself," he added. "There are so many international players here with their own objectives that this starts to look like a game of clue."

Within the U.S., Kucinich believes the administration has violated the War Powers Act by going to war in the absence of an imminent threat to the U.S. and has further violated it by failing to seek congressional approval after a 60-day period outlined in the WPA.

Kucinich said he has no explanation of why there is not a broader interest in Congress in using the WPA as a check against the administration's actions. There is some interest, as evidenced by Garrett's amendment and complaints on the House floor over the past few weeks.

As recently as Wednesday morning, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) also lamented the lack of congressional input into Libya, as did Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who said, "I've had enough of this state of permanent warfare."

Kucinich is hopeful U.S. efforts in Libya will ultimately have to be pulled back as these sentiments grow, and because of their growing cost.
"I think this thing's going to collapse because of the cost of it," he said. "We're on a very tight budget, with a huge deficit, and we're preaching fiscal austerity to everyone, but not practicing it."

For more on the interview please see
www.thehill.com


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