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Mr. Kucinich has accused the president of violating the Constitution, which gives only Congress the power to declare war, and the Wars Power Act, which requires the president to seek congressional authorization 60 days after the start of military operations.

In the face of Col. Gadhafi’s resilience, NATO is presenting an upbeat story on each day’s bombings, focusing on strikes that prevent the military from killing civilians.

NATO air operations have maintained an intense tempo in Tripoli,” said Wing Cmdr. Mike Bracken of the British Royal Air Force. “Precision strikes continue on pro-Gadhafi forces and facilities which threaten the civilian population.”

NATO has adopted a policy of “Gadhafi must go” but has denied it is specifically targeting him.

Stephen Biddle, a military analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, seemed to predict the current war status in an assessment of air power written more than a month ago.

“Western air power can easily annihilate Moammar Gadhafi’s modest air force and prevent him from using massed armor and artillery in the open,” he said. “But once the dictator’s forces move into populated areas and resort to fighting among the civilian population, the utility of air power diminishes rapidly.”

With NATO promising to protect civilians, Mr. Biddle said, “a dictator willing to mix ruthless fighters with innocent noncombatants poses serious challenges to limited applications of precision air power.”

Libya’s former top oil official, Shokri Ghanem, turned up in Rome on Wednesday to say he had defected from the Gadhafi regime because of the “continuous” bloodshed and warfare in his homeland. His whereabouts had been unknown for several days.

“I left the country and decided also to leave my job and to join the choice of Libyan youths to create a modern constitutional state respecting human rights and building a better future for all Libyans,” said Mr. Ghanem, noting his resignation as chief of Libya’s National Oil Corp.

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.