Who Can Initiate War

Recent presidents have so mutilated the clear language of the Constitution as to the authority to make war that congressional pushback, even from the weak Congress we now have, was inevitable.   That pushback came in a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing when Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey inferred that the authority that he depended upon was not from Congress, as required in the U. S. Constitution, but from unelected UN or NATO authorities.  

Senator Jeff Sessions, Chairman of the Committee, then interviewed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and was given the same response.  Disbelieving what he heard, Sessions repeatedly inquired in different ways only to be given the same answer.  (See YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zNwOeyuG84)  Even the President’s voice did not appear to be as important as that of the UN or NATO.

Constitutional clarity is so strong with respect to Congress alone having sole power of war that it is hard to imagine that such statements are due to gross ignorance alone.  This is one of the most critical moments in U. S. History with respect to liberty.  If the Executive Branch of government can effectively remove the power to initiate war from Congress, giving it to itself, and then to some international coalition such as the U. N. or NATO, we essentially lose our sovereignty and our armies used as the policemen of the world.  

Would not the recipient of such power, the United Nations, not then become the dreaded world government?  Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution, preserving Americas right to fight whomever, would be effectively destroyed.


ACTION ALERT: Help Arizona Pass NDAA Nullification Bill Now

PHOENIX (March 23, 2012)  – The progress of an Arizona bill blocking compliance with federal agents attempting to enforce detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act has slowed in the House after quickly passing the Senate and moving out of one important House committee. If you live in Arizona, you can help it move forward. See Action items below.

SB1182 would “prohibit any agency of the state from providing material support for or from participating in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Public Law 112‑81, against any citizen of the United States.”

Last week, the bill passed out of the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee by a 6-3 vote keeping it on track for final House approval. But the bill still needs passage out of the House Rules Committee before moving on to a House Caucus for a second reading. If it passes that, it will proceed to the Committee of the Whole for debate and then on to a final vote.

As of March 22, SB1182 was not slated for consideration by the Rules Committee or on the Caucus calendar. Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate that that House Speaker told bill sponsor Sen. Sylvia Allen that he will move the bill forward. But the House Speaker and Senate President tend to hold legislators’ favorite bills in order to have something to blackmail them with when the legislator considers the budget. “Vote for this budget or I’ll kill your bills!”  The Arizona budget reportedly remains stalled at the moment, increasing the likelihood leadership will hold bills that they know the members especially want.


An Administration Gone Rogue

by Ron Paul

Have certain parts of the Constitution become irrelevant, as a former Republican leader once told me at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing? At the time, I was told that demanding a Congressional declaration of war before invading Iraq, as Article I Section 8 of the Constitution requires, was unnecessary and anachronistic. Congress and the president then proceeded without a Constitutional declaration and the disastrous Iraq invasion was the result.

Last week, Obama administration officials made it clear that even the fig leaf of Congressional participation provided by the 2003 “authorization” to use force in Iraq was to be ignored as well. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated clearly and repeatedly that the administration felt it was legally justified to use military force against Syria solely with “international permission”.

Such “international permission” could come by way of the United Nations, NATO, or some other international body. Secretary Panetta then told Senator Sessions that depending on the situation, the administration would consider informing Congress of its decision and might even seek authorization after the fact.

While Senator Sessions expressed surprise at the casual audacity of Panetta in making this statement, in reality his was just a bluntly stated explanation of what has been, de facto, the case for many years. When President Obama committed the US military to a pre-emptive war against Libya last year, for example, Congress was kept completely out of the process. Likewise, military action in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and so on, proceed without a Congressional declaration.