http://stevebussey.com/wp/2011/03/libya-obama-is-on-the-wrong-side-of-american-presidential-history/ March 25, 2011 Libya: Obama is on the wrong side of American Presidential History By Steve Bussey Presidents have often committed U.S. troops to combat operations between our founding and the birth of the UN, and since the end of WW II and the passage, over President Nixon’s veto, of the War Powers Act in 1973, without a declaration of war. So, how did they do it? President John Adams used the Navy with prior congressional authorization and no declaration of war to protect American commercial shipping from France in 1789. President Thomas Jefferson used the Navy and Marines in Tripoli in 1802 with prior congressional approval and no declaration of war. President James Madison used the Navy and Marines in Algeria in 1815 with prior congressional approval and no declaration of war. President Harry Truman broke with history when he committed troops to South Korea both before and after hostilities breaking out. Truman acted solely pursuant to a UN resolution. President Johnson stretched credibility with respect to his actions in Southeast Asia (Vietnam) in 1964 using the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, but at least there was something on which to hang his cowboy hat. President Nixon believed the War Powers Resolution violated the president’s constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief, and that he could simply continue President Johnson’s efforts in Vietnam. In a 1983 hair-splitting, move, President Reagan did not seek prior congressional approval for sending Marines into Lebanon, claiming it was not for “combat operations.” Rather, he argued, it was a peacekeeping mission. But, President Reagan and Congress did negotiate a hybrid version of the War Powers Act when American forces came under attack and were embroiled in hostilities in Lebanon. President George H. W. Bush sought and received prior congressional approval for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He did not seek or acquire prior congressional approval for Somalia, but like Reagan in Lebanon, Somalia was not “combat operations.” It was President Clinton who changed the nature of the Somalia operations from one of protecting UN food shipments to overt combat. President Clinton did not seek or receive prior congressional approval before committing U.S. military forces to Kosovo in 1999. President George W. Bush did seek and receive prior congressional approval prior to committing American forces to Afghanistan and Iraq. So, no matter where you stand on the president’s authority to commit American military forces to combat operations, it is very clear that President Obama is out of step with American historical precedent, as were two other Democrat presidents – Harry Truman and Bill Clinton.