Attack helicopters strafed suspected al-Qaida fighters in southern Somalia on Tuesday, witnesses said, following two days of airstrikes by U.S. forces _ the first U.S. offensives in the African country since 18 American soldiers were killed here in 1993.
As the Islamic Courts fighters fled, the United States placed the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower off Somalia's coast to help block al-Qaeda fighters from escaping by sea, according to the Navy's 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. The carrier joined at least a half-dozen U.S. and British ships in the area that are stopping and searching civilian vessels for terrorist suspects.
Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a 5th Fleet spokesman, said aircraft from the Eisenhower have flown intelligence-gathering missions over Somalia. The 60 planes aboard the Eisenhower include E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, which carry sophisticated radar and other sensors used to track enemy movements and direct U.S. attacks.
The AC-130 gunship used in Monday's airstrikes is too big to land on an aircraft carrier. A modified version of the propeller-driven C-130 cargo plane, the gunship carries weaponry that includes a 105mm howitzer, a 40mm cannon and a 25mm gun capable of firing 30 rounds a second. [My emphasis.]
Q Do the Democrats or any of the opponents have the executive authority to stop anything that the President is going to present? In other words, is he going to need to ask Congress to approve something?
MR. SNOW: Well, ultimately, anything you do has budgetary implications. I think there was a question earlier today, are we seeking resolutions, and that sort of thing — and I want to wave you off of that. What you do have, though, is basically budget is policy. So Congress is going to be engaged in the appropriations and authorization process and, you know, through those, they’re going to be debating a lot of things. And so that’s sort of par for the course.
Q But in terms of anything out of the Pentagon — the troops, deployment, any of the programs we initiate - the President, alone, has the authority to –
MR. SNOW: You know what, I don’t want to play junior constitutional lawyer on this, so let’s wait until we see what happens, if you have specific questions about constitutional authority. But, you know, Congress has the power of the purse. The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way.
The Congress shall have power...
...To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
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