Susan Rice Wants Congress to Have the War Powers It Was Denied in 2011

Matthew Petti

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice thinks the next Democratic president should ask Congress about its national security concerns, a stunning reversal from when she pushed former President Barack Obama to attack Libya without the permission of Congress.

Rice, the UN Ambassador who oversaw Obama’s invasion of Libya before becoming national security advisor, was instrumental in pushing Obama towards a military intervention against the Libyan government in 2011 without consulting Congress. Trump administration spokesman Hogan Gidley has used the Libyan intervention to justify the assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani without congressional approval, which brought America and Iran to the brink of an undeclared war.

Rice spoke alongside a group of high-powered White House alumni at a Wednesday conference on “The First Hundred Days” of a post-Trump presidency. The former Obama administration heavyweights proposed a host of tweaks to fix a policy process that has been ignored by the famously freewheeling President Donald Trump. But their most significant proposal was giving Congress back its constitutional role in questions of war and peace.

Former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough summed up the mood at the Center for American Progress conference: The Republicans screw stuff up, and we have to fix it.

Rice said that the next administration will have to show “real respect for the other branches of government, almost overcompensating” for the sake of the “long-term health of our democracy.”

She added that congressional Democrats were in a “pent-up fury” about being sidelined on the recent escalation with Iran, and the next administration would have to be “very committed” to “resisting the temptation” to take advantage of norms eroded under Trump to push its own policies.

Other high-ranking Obama alumni agreed on the need to go through Congress, even though their own administration had been reluctant to ask the legislative branch to authorize the use of military force.

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