Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news: June 25, 2011

25 June 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Top U.S. Admiral: NATO Goal Is To Kill Gaddafi, Put Troops On Ground
  • Legal Acrobatics, Illegal War
  • Bulgaria Could Host U.S.-NATO Interceptor Missile Elements
  • NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability Event Held In Poland For First Time

Top U.S. Admiral: NATO Goal Is To Kill Gaddafi, Put Troops On Ground

CBS News
June 24, 2011

Top U.S. admiral: Goal in Libya is to kill Qaddafi
By Ken Millstone

It has been more than three months since President Obama told the nation that the U.S. was launching a humanitarian military mission in Libya, one that would last ‘days, not weeks.’

The mission was clear: ‘We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal – specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya and whose goal was to protect Libyan civilians in imminent danger in Benghazi.’

In the following weeks, Mr. Obama stressed that, although it would be desirable for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to step down, the U.S. would not pursue regime change.

‘I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake,’ Mr. Obama said March 28. ‘If we tried to overthrow Qaddafi by force our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission or risk killing many civilians from the air.’

Someone should tell the president’s military commanders.

The top U.S. admiral in the NATO-led Libya war told a congressman last month that NATO is indeed trying to kill Qaddafi, Foreign Policy reports:

‘House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner (R-OH) told The Cable that U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command in Naples, Italy, told him last month that NATO forces are actively targeting and trying to kill Qaddafi, despite the fact that the Obama administration continues to insist that ‘regime change’ is not the goal and is not authorized by the U.N. mandate authorizing the war.’

Turner also said Locklear told him that the Libya mission will require troops on the ground if and when Qaddafi falls, another scenario that Mr. Obama explicitly (and repeatedly) ruled out in March.

Of course, Turner’s (and Locklear’s) admission does not necessarily mean that U.S. troops would be committed or that U.S. is leading mission to kill Qaddafi because NATO – with extensive U.S. involvement – is now running the Libya operation. But it certainly provides fuel for critics who expressed early skepticism about any U.S. engagement in Libya and about the purported goals of the ‘humanitarian’ mission.

The revelation comes as the House voted Friday to reject two competing resolutions on Libya – one backing a continued engagement in the face of mounting congressional condemnation and another that would have cut off most funding for the war in an even harsher rebuke. Congressional critics on both sides of the aisle are angry that Mr. Obama entered the war without approval from lawmakers – required under the decades-old War Powers Resolution except when the U.S. has been attacked or is under imminent threat.


Legal Acrobatics, Illegal War

New York Times
June 24, 2011

Legal Acrobatics, Illegal War
By Bruce Ackerman

-Allowing the trivialization of the War Powers Act to stand will open the way for even more blatant acts of presidential war-making in the decades ahead. Congress must confront the increasingly politicized methods White House lawyers are using to circumvent established law and stop them from transforming it into an infinitely malleable instrument of presidential power.

New Haven: It has now been over three months since the first NATO bombs fell on Libya, yet President Obama has failed to request Congressional approval for military action, as required by the War Powers Act of 1973. The legal machinations Mr. Obama has used to justify war without Congressional consent set a troubling precedent that could allow future administrations to wage war at their convenience — free of legislative checks and balances.

When Mr. Obama first announced American military involvement in Libya, he notified Congress within 48 hours, as prescribed by the War Powers Act. This initiated a 60-day period, during which he was required to obtain approval from Congress; if he failed to do so, the act gave him at most 30 days to halt all ‘hostilities.’

Last Sunday was the 90th day of bombing in Libya, but Mr. Obama — armed with dubious legal opinions — is refusing to stop America’s military engagement there. His White House counsel, Robert F. Bauer, has declared that, despite the War Powers Act, the president can continue the Libya campaign indefinitely without legislative support. This conclusion lacks a solid legal foundation. And by adopting it, the White House has shattered the traditional legal process the executive branch has developed to sustain the rule of law over the past 75 years.

Since the 1930s, it has been the job of an elite office in the Justice Department — the Office of Legal Counsel — to serve as the authoritative voice on matters of legal interpretation. The approximately 25 lawyers in this office write legal opinions after hearing arguments from the White House as well as other executive branch departments.

But not this time. After Caroline D. Krass, acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, told the president that he had to abide by the act’s requirements, the White House counsel decided to pre-empt the Justice Department’s traditional role. As the war powers deadline approached, Mr. Bauer held a series of White House meetings at which he contested the Office of Legal Counsel’s interpretation and invited leading lawyers from the State Department and the Pentagon to join him in preparing competing legal opinions for the president.

This pre-emptive move was not unprecedented. During George W. Bush’s administration, shortly after 9/11, the White House counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, led an ad hoc war council that included State and Defense Department officials. It was in this hyper-politicized setting that John Yoo, representing the Office of Legal Counsel, prepared his notorious ‘torture memos’ for President Bush’s approval.

The players are different this time around, but the dynamic is the same. Mr. Obama is creating a decisive and dangerous precedent for the next commander in chief, who is unlikely to have the Harvard Law Review on his résumé.

[F]rom a legal viewpoint, Mr. Obama is setting an even worse precedent.

Although Mr. Yoo’s memos made a mockery of the applicable law, they at least had the approval of the Office of Legal Counsel. In contrast, Mr. Obama’s decision to disregard that office’s opinion and embrace the White House counsel’s view is undermining a key legal check on arbitrary presidential power.

This is a Beltway detail of major significance. Unlike the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, the White House counsel is not confirmed by the Senate — which means that the president can appoint whomever he likes. Some presidents have picked leading legal statesmen like Lloyd N. Cutler, who served both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. But others have turned to personal friends to fill the office. In such cases, it is especially difficult for the White House counsel to say no to a top presidential priority on the grounds that the law prohibits it.

Mr. Bauer is not the only administration lawyer to conclude that the billion-dollar bombing campaign in Libya does not amount to ‘hostilities’ under the War Powers Act. The State Department’s legal adviser and former Yale Law School dean, Harold H. Koh, has also taken this position. This is surprising, since Mr. Koh’s legal scholarship over the years has been highly critical of presidential overreach on matters of national security, emphasizing the importance of Congress’s constitutional powers over war and peace.

If the precedent Mr. Obama has created is allowed to stand, future presidents who do not like what the Justice Department is telling them could simply cite the example of Mr. Obama’s war in Libya and instruct the White House counsel to organize a supportive ‘coalition of the willing’ made up of the administration’s top lawyers. Even if just one or two agreed, this would be enough to push ahead and claim that the law was on the president’s side.

Allowing the trivialization of the War Powers Act to stand will open the way for even more blatant acts of presidential war-making in the decades ahead. Congress must confront the increasingly politicized methods White House lawyers are using to circumvent established law and stop them from transforming it into an infinitely malleable instrument of presidential power.

If Congress does not act, the Constitution’s command that the president ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed’ will become nothing more than an unfulfilled hope on an old piece of parchment.

Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, is the author of ‘The Decline and Fall of the American Republic.’


Bulgaria Could Host U.S.-NATO Interceptor Missile Elements

Sofia News Agency
June 24, 2011

Bulgaria to Host Elements of NATO Missile Defense if Turkey Refuses

Bulgaria is likely to host elements of the US/NATO missile defense system in Europe instead of Turkey if Turkey refuses to host them, according to Bulgarian Deputy Defense Minister Avgustina Tsvetkova.

Turkey’s position about hosting elements of the US and NATO missile shield, most likely its radar system, should be clear by the fall of 2011, Tsvetkova told journalists in Pamporovo Friday. Should Turkey decide against hosting part of the missile defense, then Bulgaria could start talks with NATO to host the same elements, she explained.

Tsvetkova did say that for the time being there are no plans to station elements of the US and NATO missile defense system in Europe on Bulgarian territory. She reiterated the official position of the government, which insists that Bulgaria’s entire territory must be covered by the future missile shield.

The past few months since the NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010 took a decision to adopt the project for the US missile system in Europe as an Alliance-wide shield have seen occasional reports that Bulgaria might host elements the radar of the system.

The original missile defense in Europe plan of George W. Bush administration provided for stationing interceptors in Poland and the radar station in the Czech Republic. The modification of the plan by the Obama Administration switched it to sea-borne missiles and, later on, locations in southeastern Europe. Initially, there were reports and expectations that Romania and Bulgaria will replace Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.

During its summit in November 2010 in Lisbon, NATO agreed to adopt the previously purely US missile shield project as its own. The summit did cast some serious doubts over Turkey’s participation in the missile defense system because it insisted that its Muslim neighbor Iran should not be mentioned as a source of threat in the respective documents, and eventually prevailed.

In May 2011, the US State Department and Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that the interceptor missiles of the future NATO/US missile shield in Europe will be stationed at the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal, Romania.

The System employs the SM-3 interceptor (also referred to as the ‘Aegis Ashore System’) while the deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe as part of the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) – the US national contribution to a NATO missile defense architecture.

The US Ballistic Missile Defense site is approximately 430 acres (175 hectares) and is located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu.

Deveselu is about 50 km away from the Romanian-Bulgarian border. The closest Bulgarian location is the village of Zagrazhden between the towns of Oryahovo and Nikopol.


NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability Event Held In Poland For First Time

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
June 22, 2011

ACT conducts NATO CWIX 2011 at JFTC

For the first time in its history, the NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability exploration, experimentation and examination exercise (CWIX) was held at the Joint Forces Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland from 30 May to 16 June 2011.

CWIX 2011 is the largest event JFTC has hosted to date and the intense coordination between the ACT CWIX Team, JFTC, the local NCSA team and Host Nation Poland led to a flawless execution.

During the execution period, about 900 participants representing seventeen NATO nations, three Partnership for Peace Nations, one contact nation, seven NATO Agencies and one Centre of Excellence (CoE) worked on improving the interoperability of NATO and National Command AND Control (C2) Systems. During peak days, about 650 people were present at JFTC to participate in or observe interoperability testing.

NATO CWIX 2011 attracted 104 C2 systems (an increase from 96 systems in 2010) and conducted 4316 tests over a two week period. The Coalition Information Assurance Team (CIAT) noted that there were more than 900 network hosts on the exercise network.

NATO CWIX broke ground in several areas this year. A few accomplishments in these areas are mentioned below:

Afghan Mission Network (AMN) related testing: One of the current AMN testing objectives is to make it possible for forces in Afghanistan to plan and do the targeting of missions without delays caused by manual transfer of data between systems. While further testing is still required, NATO CWIX successfully demonstrated that it is technically possible to exchange data between complex systems and disparate databases. The Joint Fires Focus Area significantly improved the capability to automate the one-way exchange of target data from USA systems to NATO systems. In addition to targeting, 23 AMN-related systems were tested for battle space management interoperability. All of the results will be forwarded to the appropriate working group in order to be certified and validated.

Cross Component Interactions: For the first time Cross Component interactions (e.g. Air Task Orders, Close Air Support etc.) were conducted to avoid the traditional Air/Land/Maritime stove piped focus.

Geospatial: NATO CWIX Geospatial testing continues to expand. The goal for this year was to have a single source location for all geospatial data using an enterprise service bus. This capability allows all users to access all geospatial data without having to query different national systems. This capability proved to be a big success and it showed that technically this can be done.

Logistics / Movement & Transportation (M&T) / Medical: For the first time, Logistics, M&T and Medical interoperability was tested at NATO CWIX from an Information/data exchange point of view. HQ SACT sponsored the involvement of NC3A developed logistics and medical prototype software tools and their availability acted as a hub around Nations and NATO could construct test cases for the exchange of data. At CIWC 2011 it was proven that automatic data transfer from 3 National Systems to the NATO Operational Logistic Chain Management prototype and then to the Joint Common Operational Picture was possible.

NATO CWIX is crucial for NATO and Nations to test systems before deploying them in real operations and to get ready for NRF certification…

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