The Republican Party says that it supports the Constitution. Except when it doesnt. Like reclaiming the power to start wars from the president. The Libyan war is illegal. President Barack Obama failed to get a congressional declaration of war, as required by the Constitution. And declaration means more than just saying it is so. In the case of war, declaration means authorizing the president to engage in hostilities. There are exceptions, but none apply here. One is that the military action is defensive. Thats obviously not the case in Libya. No one in that nation has attacked or even threatened the US Another exception might be a limited action for limited purposes not calculated to create a state of war. A rescue mission of Americans amid chaotic strife in another nation, perhaps. That doesnt apply here either. The US has been at war for more than nine weeks, killing Libyan soldiers and destroying Libyan military materiel in an attempt to oust the existing government. Even setting aside the Constitution, the war is indisputably illegal. Although the former law professor who now sits in the Oval office chose to ignore the Constitution, he cited as authority the War Powers Resolution, which covers combat missions in the territory, airspace, or waters of a foreign nation. President Obama gave Congress notice of his decision to intervene in Libya. But any authority under the WPR expired more than two weeks ago. To justify breaking the law he explained that the US military was doing so little that it really didnt count as a war. This apparently is the itty-bitty exception to the Constitution and WPR. In the Senate Rand Paul and several others pushed to hold the president accountable, but the leadership has indicated no interest in acting. Moreover, a war-happy triumvirateJohn McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Liebermanhas been beating the war drums while advocating a resolution to support President Obamas unconstitutional war. Although the three journeyed to Tripoli a couple years ago to toast Moammar Qaddafi and discuss the provision of military aid, they recently discovered that he was an evil dictator who must be removed, the Constitution be damned. In the House a majority appears to have coalesced against the president. The House leadership promised a vote last week on a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Kucinichs measure would have demanded that the president withdraw within 15 days. Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) introduced a similar measure, insisting that President Obama win congressional authority or begin withdrawing by June 19. Rep John Campbell (R-Cal.) was even more forthright: We are in control in the House, and we want something on the floor. He demanded a resolution so the members could express to the president that 'you no longer have the authority of this Congress to conduct military operations in that country. The administration responded in characteristic fashion. Instead of attempting to make sense of a war that has lost any sense of purpose or legality, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that the Kucinich resolution was dangerous, even though the president said America was so minimally involved that the war didnt even count as a war. Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney said We believe that the policy is working, which merely proves yet again that, as Abraham Lincoln once noted, you can fool some of the people all the time. Nevertheless, the House GOP leadership promised a voteuntil it realized that Kucinichs pending measure would pass. Then House Speaker John Boehner turned tail, pulling the Kucinich bill from the floor and tossing the Constitution aside. His spokesman, Kevin Smith declared that Boehners intention is not to undermine the commander in chief when we have troops in harms way. But the president said no troops are in harms way. If troops really are in harms way, then Congress should speak. It is what the Constitution demands. It is what the War Powers Resolution expects. The speakers dumbest argument was that pulling out would undercut our allies who have stood by us in Afghanistan and other areas abroad. The US has stood by Europe, underwriting its defense for 66 years. It is time our prosperous, populous allies did their fair share by defending themselves and surrounding regions. Most have made only minimal contributions to Afghanistan and Iraq, and even then have done their utmost to make sure that their forces have engaged in only a minimal amount of combat. The US is expected to do everything everywhere. Libya, of far more interest to Europe than to America, is an opportunity to say no more. Why would John Boehner not uphold the law and Constitution? It appears that Speaker Boehner prefers to preserve the precedent of a president going to war unilaterally for the next Republican chief executive. However, even for the speaker doing nothing was not an option. Insiders anonymously admitted to lots of unrest on both sides of the aisle. So instead of doing what is right, Boehner drafted a thoroughly dishonest resolution to assuage congressional anger while protecting President Obamas lawlessness. The measure reaffirmed an earlier vote that ground forces were not to be deployed to Libya. Big deal. If Congress wont enforce its fundamental power to decide whether the war should be fought, why should the president treat seriously a legislative pronouncement against a ground war? He is likely to continue treating Congress with the contempt it deserves. The resolution declared that the United States Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States. But the Libyan war manifestly does not do so. Moammar Gaddafi is a nasty guy, but he has not and does not threaten America. Even the claim that he was about to massacre his own citizens was fraudulent. Then the resolution went on to demand a report explaining why the president dissed Congress by not seeking its authorisation; listing the administrations objectives, which the president and his officials had repeated many times over many weeks; and providing a long list of specific data, including costs, impacts, roles, and other bureaucratic minutiae of no practical use to anyone. Finally, the resolution declared that the President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya. Gee, no one would have known that had Congress not passed a resolution declaring it to be. Just like Speaker Boehners view of Congresss power to declare war: announce that a war is going on and then go home. This is leadership? Congressmen genuinely concerned about an unnecessary and illegal war should have voted down the Boehner resolution, which was pro-war and anti-Constitution. But last Friday the House defeated the Kucinich bill and approved the Boehner fake. The latter measure provided just enough cover for uncomfortable Republicans to allow them to avoid standing for the Constitution. Apparently the only problem in Libya seen by Speaker Boehner is one of communication: I think the president has a role to play here, and the president really does need to step up and help the American people understand these missions are vital to the national security interests of the country. No. What the president needs to do is stop committing the US to war illegally and unconstitutionally. The president also needs to stop committing the US to war for frivolous purposes, at a time when the military is overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the budget is broken beyond measure. President Obama once said no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. If he wont stop committing the US to unnecessary and illegal wars, then Congress has a duty to stop him. It should assert its constitutional powers. And it should cut off the money. The behavior of the House Republican leadership demonstrates why the Congress is held in such ill repute by the public. Taking power after a wave of anger at the polls last November, the GOP leaders remain prisoners of the politics of the past. They really dont care about the Constitution, the law, or the public. This is not the kings army, noted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.). This is an unconstitutional and illegal war. Voters should remember Speaker Boehners failure to defend the Constitution in November 2012. Forbes