AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to David Gray Adler, Richard Pious, and Robert Spitzer for valuable suggestions on this article. Some of the analysis in this article is drawn from Fisher's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 28, 2011, http://loufisher.org/docs/wplibya/libyasenfr.pdf.
The Law: Military Operations in Libya: No War? No Hostilities?
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2012
© 2012 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Special Issue: The Presidency and Economic Governance in Hazardous Times
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 176–189, March 2012
How to Cite
FISHER, L. (2012), The Law: Military Operations in Libya: No War? No Hostilities?. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 42: 176–189. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2012.03947.x
- Issue published online: 23 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2012
The Obama administration produced two remarkable legal opinions about the use of military force against Libya. A memo by the Office of Legal Counsel reasoned that the operations did not amount to “war.” Later, after military actions exceeded the 90-day limit of the War Powers Resolution (WPR), President Obama was advised by White House Counsel Robert Bauer and State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh that the operations did not even constitute “hostilities” within the meaning of the WPR. This article examines those interpretations and other legal arguments by the executive branch, including the claim that the military actions in Libya had been “authorized” by the UN Security Council and North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.