When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they made it clear that the only time the president would have the authority to use military force without prior authorization from Congress was when, as James Madison recorded in his notes from the Constitutional Convention, it was necessary to "repel sudden attacks."
It was thus fittingly symbolic that when Barack Obama announced he had ordered the U.S. military to intervene in Libya's civil war, he did not do so from the Oval Office or the well of the U.S. House of Representatives, but from the capital city of Brazil.
In that speech, delivered March 19, 2011, Obama repeatedly used the first-person pronoun, I, in explaining who had decided America would intervene in Libya.
"Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians," Obama said.
"I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice, and it's not a choice that I make lightly," said Obama.
On what authority had I, Barack Obama, taken America into war?
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