US now in Libya illegally

Taiwan Sun
Sunday 19th June, 2011

•  Legality of US military engagement in Libya challenged
•  President may no longer have authority
•  US involvement has surpassed 90 day cut-off

The Obama administration has defended the legality of US military engagement in Libya.With Sunday marking 90 days since President Barack Obama notified Congress about American involvement in military action in Libya, the window for securing further congressional approval for the operation has expired.

Under a law enacted in 1973, US presidents have 60 days to secure congressional authorisation for major foreign military engagements.

There are additional 30 days in which the president should withdraw if no authorisation or extension is granted.

The administration has argued the United States is only playing a support role in a NATO operation with no troops on the ground.

Meanwhile, NATO has suggested a weapons systems failure led to civilian casualties in a Sunday strike in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The alliance has reported an intended target was missed and a residential area hit instead.

Libya’s government claimed several civilians were killed in the operation.

Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, a NATO commander, later said: “NATO regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives and takes great care in conducting strikes against a regime determined to use violence against its own citizens. Although we are still determining the specifics of this event, indications are that a weapons system failure may have caused this incident.”

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