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OPINION: Congressman Goodlatte’s Weekly Column for June 11th, 2011

June 11, 2011

Ed: Below is Congessman Bob Goodlatte’s Weekly Column. We’re primarily a site about local politics, but state and national candidates and officeholders are welcome to send us articles and columns about any issues that are of concern to the people of Shenandoah County, as we feel citizens have a right to hear their comments. We want to provide a forum for candidates of all offices to reach out to the voters of Shenandoah County, as we feel this is something lacking in the current media paradigm. However, we still ask that citizen commentary be focused on local issues–there’s enough back and forth on national issues in the current papers. The below column does not neccesarily reflect the views of Shenandoah Sunshine or myself, nor should the publication of any candidate or officeholder’s words be considered an endorsement of their candidacy or the viewpoint they express.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s Weekly Column: June 10, 2011

Congress Must Demand Accountability on U.S. Action in Libya

Nearly three months ago U.S. forces, at the command of President Obama and without the consent of the U.S. Congress, began attacking targets in Libya controlled by Moammar Gaddafi.  I think most Americans, including myself, agree that seeing this tyrannical dictator and his regime of thugs removed from power would be a good thing.  However, I think most Americans, including myself, also feel strongly that American forces should not be committed to this kind of mission without the consent of the U.S. Congress.

President Obama cites the War Powers Resolution of 1973 as giving him the authority to commit U.S. forces to the mission in Libya.  However, the War Powers Resolution clearly states that the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief to introduce U.S. forces into hostilities can be exercised only when a declaration of war has been issued, specific statutory authorization has been given or in the event of a national emergency created by an attack on the United States or its forces.  The President has failed to define the mission in Libya and America’s role in achieving that mission before committing our military forces.

I have been alarmed by the President’s failure to comply with the War Powers Act and to define the U.S. mission in Libya.  This Congress must not neglect its responsibility and authority regarding the use of force, and so I am pleased that days ago this important issue was finally debated on the floor of the House.

I voted for the bipartisan resolution which demands that the President provide answers about our involvement in the conflict in Libya, including the President’s justification for not seeking Congressional authorization for this action. The resolution gives the President 14 days to respond to this request. The President should take very seriously this resolution. And our leadership in Congress should be vigilant to demand a full and clear response from the President.  This resolution also gives adequate notice to NATO and our other allies of the concerns of the House before the House takes further action and reaffirms the position of the House that there should be no troops on the ground in Libya.

House-passage of this resolution is an important first step in restoring the balance that our Founding Fathers envisioned, that our legislative and executive branches share the responsibility regarding the use of U.S. force.  However, this recent action taken by the House of Representatives should not be the last step.  In the coming days, the House must continue to hold the Administration accountable for the critical military decisions they made without consent from the Congress.

To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at


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