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In response to a question from Rep. Michael Conaway (R.-Texas), Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a closed session of a House Armed Services subcommittee in October that the military cannot kill the terrorists who attacked the State Department and CIA compounds in Benghazi, Libya, because Congress has not authorized the use of force against those terrorists.

“Therefore, they will have to be captured,” Dempsey said in a transcript of the testimony released this week.

In 2011, by contrast, Obama did not defer to Congress — which represents the American people and is vested with the constitutional power to authorize the use of military force — when he ordered the U.S. military to intervene in Libya’s civil war. Instead he invoked the authority of the United Nations Security Council — where Russia and the People’s Republic of China have veto power.

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