BY WESLEY P. HESTER
Outgoing U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., is introducing legislation that would require Congressional approval ahead of military action in response to crises in other nations.
The legislation would block the president from making unilateral decisions to use military force for humanitarian interventions, where U.S, interests are not directly threatened as in the recent Libya operation.
It would also require that Congress debate such a request from the president within a matter of days.
“Year by year, skirmish by skirmish, the role of the congress in determining where the U.S. military would operate, and when the awesome power of our weapon systems would be unleashed has diminished,” Webb said in announcing the bill on the Senate floor.
Webb, a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, said his legislation would address the “loophole in the interpretation of our Constitution” and “serve as a necessary safety net to protect the integrity and the intent of the Constitution itself.”
A decorated Vietnam Marine veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy, Webb was critical of the president’s handling of the U.S. role in Libya, filing a resolution that said the administration had “failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests” for involvement.
Webb has also introduced a bill that would require President Barack Obama to issue a report to Congress on all known opposition groups in Syria as violence continues there.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would require an assessment on the size and security of conventional and non-conventional weapons stockpiles in Syria and the types and sources of weapons flowing to opposition forces.
“I have repeatedly warned against precipitant action in Syria without taking into account all the ramifications,” Webb said in announcing that bill.