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:  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.

To protect the Constitution and to keep the Congress from having but a ceremonial jurisdiction with respect to war, as the General and Defense Secretary inferred, the House of Representatives is attempting to place the president on short notice that the next disregard of Congress would be grounds for impeachment.  Concurrent resolution H. Con. Res. 107 reads,  “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 1, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

This action has resulted, not only because General Dempsey and Defense Secretary Panetta have expressed a desire to take such power, but also because doing so has been the practice of the Obama Administration.  Congress was not consulted when American planes bombed Libya, or when President Obama, alone, authorized Special Forces to inter Central America last fall, or his authorizing drone strikes in several middle-eastern countries killing designated individuals—all such have traditionally been considered acts of war. 

Certainly these would be treated as acts of war were they perpetrated on U.S. soil by another country.

This action is especially timely as war proponent John McCain is now advocating that we enforce a no fly zone over Syria—another act of war on yet another country.  Moreover, we continue to provoke Iran in an attempt to get it to make a response worthy of our (or Israel’s) warplanes.  Where do we get authority to bomb other countries at executive will?  Certainly not from the people, or their Constitution.

Please encourage your three members of Congress to protect the Constitution.  Are they on board with this warning to this president and all who follow him?  Are they cosponsors of this resolution?  No issue is clearer than this one as to whether they support the Constitution or do not.  Congress alone should decide when and if our sons and daughters are placed in harm’s way.  Anyone supporting this transfer of power from Congress should be removed from power by your vote this November or, if president, and it happens again, impeached, regardless of political party, as soon as possible.  After all it is about your liberty.

Harold Pease

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