By Paul B. Johnson
Positive outcome, questionable path. That's the reaction of Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th, to the apparent overthrow this week of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Coble was one of 10 Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill who filed a legal action this spring against President Barack Obama over the White House's decision to intervene against Libya without military authorization from Congress. Coble and the other plaintiffs argue that the president unfairly bypassed Congress to authorize military force
earlier this year.
In launching air strikes against Libya, the White House maintains that the president was justified intervening -- in cooperation with European countries and other nations -- to prevent a bloodbath as Gadhafi forces fought the Libyan rebels. The legal action against the White House was
taken under the War Powers Act, which requires the president to get congressional authority on military hostilities within 90 days of an action. Coble told The High Point Enterprise on Wednesday that he's not
suggesting Obama was reckless by supporting the rebels' military campaign to oust Gadhafi. But Coble said he still maintains the president should have received the approval of Congress in the Libya intervention. Rep.
Mel Watt, who wasn't part of the Libyan congressional lawsuit, said his biggest
reservations about the military intervention involve the unknowns about the rebel factions. The U.S. government has helped depose Gadhafi without knowing whether the government that replaces his regime will have positive ties with America. "We don't know who the rebels are or what they stand for," said Watt, D-12th. Watt said that the president did achieve his goal of removing Gadhafi. "To the extent that that was the strategy, the president seems to have succeeded. The question is what's next," Watt said.