War Powers, Impeachment, Syria and Kony
March 13, 2012 by Sam Rolley
Outside of conservative media, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the President should not consult the Congress but look to the globalist power of NATO and the United Nations for direction when deciding to openly engage in foreign war went largely unnoticed.
Questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) about what legal authority the Administration of Barack Obama has to intervene in Syria as it did it Libya, Panetta made one thing remarkably clear: The Administration answers not to the American people, the Congress or the Constitution, but to NATO and the U.N.
“We’re worried about international legal basis, but nobody worried about the fundamental Constitutional legal basis that this Congress has over war,” Sessions said. “We were not asked, stunningly, in direct violation of the War Powers Act, whether or not you believe it’s Constitution [sic], it certainly didn’t comply with it. We spend too much time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. Do you think that you can act without Congress to initiate a no-fly zone in Syria without Congressional approval?”
In answer, Panetta said that the Federal government would first seek permission from International authorities and alert Congress only after the fact.
View the video below for a video of the hearing:
Most Americans, like Sessions, likely would be outraged to know that the Administration takes its marching orders from international interests. But, as Republic Magazine notes in a recent article, this is nothing new:
On December 20, 1945, Truman signed a measure entitled the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (UNPA), which effectively abolished Congress’s constitutional function in declaring war. Under the UNPA, the U.S. President can “negotiate a special agreement or agreements with the Security Council” concerning the use of American military personnel and facilities for UN “peacekeeping” and “peace enforcement” missions.
UNPA has been used by Truman and his successors — most recently by George W. Bush and Obama — to violate Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 — which grants Congress sole power to declare war — and engage the United States in perpetual and unConstitutional war.
Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul was outraged by Panetta’s assertions and responded on Friday:
For President Obama’s head of the Defense Department to state that international permission, rather than congressional approval, is what would be needed as a legal basis to initiate a no-fly zone over Syria flies in the face of the guidelines established by our Founders… But such actions should no longer come as a surprise. During the conflict in Libya last year, we saw exactly what this President thinks of following the rule of law. President Obama consulted NATO, the United Nations, and the Arab League for permission and authorization to use U.S. military force against Libya. But he utterly ignored the one body that has the legal authority to grant that permission—the U.S. Congress. That was, and still is, unacceptable.
Another lawmaker, Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) is also angered by Panetta’s remarks and introduced a resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 107) declaring that the President should be impeached for using the military without the consent of Congress.
The resolution, which is currently in the House Committee on the Judiciary, reads:
Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Amid controversy over whether the United States will involve itself in further military adventurism with or without the consent of Congress, new problems are emerging in Afghanistan where the Nation is already at war. Details emerged Monday about an American soldier (some reports indicate more than one drunk American soldier) massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children, as they slept in their homes before torching their bodies. According to The Associated Press, the Taliban have vowed revenge on the United States for the attack, and officials say that the incident will likely damage the relationship between the U.S. and the Afghan puppet government.
Anti-war advocates such as Paul point out that the United States’ failed military adventurism is clearly evidenced by Iraqi backlash against Western ideas, instability in Libya and the horrific actions carried out by some battle-weary and desensitized troops in Afghanistan.
Despite the evidence, propaganda is leading a growing number of Americans and American lawmakers to believe that the United States must intervene elsewhere in order to create a more perfect world. A Syrian rebel going by the name “Syria Danny,” who makes weekly appearances to beg for U.S. military intervention in the country, was recently caught on camera orchestrating gunfire to be heard in the background before the interview began. The Hollywood elite and their puppet masters are also trying to drum up support for further U.S. adventurism in central Africa — where Obama sent 100 U.S.troops last year to Uganda — with an Internet campaign focused on African warlord Joseph Kony. The campaign features an emotional documentary called “Kony 2012” that tells of how the warlord uses children to build his armies and likens him to Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. Critics say further U.S. actions in the region would equate to colonialism.
Ugandan journalist Angelo Izama writes, “Many African critics unsurprisingly are crying neo-colonialism. This is because these campaigns are disempowering of their own voices. After all the conflict and suffering is affecting them directly regardless of if they hit the re-tweet button or not.”