Mar 232011
Authors: Courtney Stuard

The U.S., following the orders of a U.N. Security Council order, has joined with allies to stop Gadhafi’s attacks on civilians in Libya. The war was not predicated by a legal, constitutional declaration of war, rather it was a U.N. Security Council order which should never supersede the Constitution.

President Obama stands as a strong proponent for taking all necessary action to protect Libyan civilians. However, according to National Public Radio, at least 20 Democratic congressmen and women voiced extreme discontent — upset enough to talk of impeachment –– with the president’s backdoor decision to go to war with Libya.

Despite the presence of outright opposition from U.S. congressmen, as well as members of the international community, why is the U.S. still marching off to wage war?

Before Barack Obama was elected president he said “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The decision to go to war with Libya was made without formal declaration of war by Congress. The Constitution clearly states, in Article 1 section 8, that only Congress can legally declare war, not the president.

Then-Senator Obama seemed to have understood that it was unconstitutional to declare war when President Bush bombed his way into Iraq and Afghanistan, but now he has acquired convenient amnesia or has dramatically shifted his views on foreign policy.

Most importantly, Libya does not embody any substantial threat to the U.S. They have not, and arguably never could, muster up enough military might to mount an attack on U.S. soil.
Then what gives the U.S. the right to intervene into the affairs of another sovereign nation? Nothing.

A state is sovereign, meaning it has the authority to be independent from the influence of other states.

Historically, intervention in sovereign states has only bred hatred and violence because those being “helped” are instead dying from starvation and war. But President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton push for intervention under the auspices of humanitarian aid.

If aid is the true reason for intervention, then why the miraculous transition to benevolence toward Libyan civilians but not Tunisians, Egyptians, Yemenis or Bahrainis, who are being murdered by the state? The air raids that enforced the “no-fly zone” may have killed up to 50 civilians, according to Libyan news reports, but the allies deny the reports, claiming they are biased.

The war with Libya is not a part of the War on Terror. No clear course of action for intervention has been declared. No plan to remove Gadhafi from power has been announced. No plan to exit Libya has been charted. The goal of the “no-fly zone” was to “use all necessary means of force to protect Libyan civilians.” However, such nefarious goals may lead to another never-ending conlict, much like the war in Afghanistan.

Maybe the real reason for war in Libya lies deep beneath the surface, literally. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. imported approximately 25 million barrels of oil from Libya in 2010, which amounts to roughly $1.8 billion.

That may appear to be an inconsequential amount, but of the countries currently experiencing revolution, Libya is the only nation from which the U.S. imports a significant amount of oil.

Libya also has the largest known oil reserves in all of Africa and the ninth largest in the world as of 2007. Perhaps the other states experiencing revolution do not have enough oil for the U.S. to be concerned with the welfare of the state or its people.

Although it may be too soon to claim causation, no one can deny the historical and present correlation between willingness to intervene in a state and the presence of oil in that state.

Courtney Stuard is a senior journalism major. Her column appears on Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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