Former Senator James Webb Rebukes Obama over Libya "Humanitarian Intervention"
May 20, 2014 • 10:40AM

Former Democratic Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) renewed his attack on Obama's intervention of Libya yesterday, saying that Obama, and the country, lack a clear sense of what our national security interests are.

"I don't think we've ever, in our history, had a situation where a President unilaterally interjected our military into an area where we recognized the leadership," Webb said about Obama's Libya intervention. "We recognized the government at the same time we were bombing it...We had no treaties in place that impelled us to do it; we had no Americans at risk. We were not preempting a potential attack. There was nothing other than this very vague concept of 'humanitarian intervention,' which, if you turn a President loose with that, could mean anything under the sun. And it wasn't just the Administration, because at that time the Democrats in the Senate didn't want to embarrass the President. They wouldn't act on it either."

Webb was referring to the fact that he had co-sponsored a resolution challenging the constitutionality of Obama's military attack on Libya, which the Senate refused to take up. He later unsuccessfully introduced legislation to block "humanitarian intervention" unless U.S. interests were directly threatened.

In an article last year in the National Interest (March-April 2013), Webb wrote: "Under the objectively undefinable rubric of 'humanitarian intervention,' President Obama has arguably established the authority of the president to intervene militarily virtually anywhere without the consent or the approval of Congress, at his own discretion and for as long as he wishes. It is not hyperbole to say that the President himself can now bomb a country with which we maintain diplomatic relations, in support of loosely aligned opposition groups that do not represent any coalition that we actually recognize as an alternative. We know he can do it because he already has done it."

In yesterday's interview on the Diane Rehm show, on the Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU, Webb would not rule out running for President in 2016, saying he is considering what to do next, and declaring: "I am not going to say one way or the other."