By Douglas V. Gibbs
One of my students from my Temecula Constitution Class contacted me by Email asking about Representative Walter B. Jones' resolution that states Obama's use of offensive military force without the authorization of Congress is an impeachable offense. The argument is from the oft used clause in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution which states that Congress alone has the power to declare war. According to Congressman Jones, Obama's authorization of military force in Libya was unconstitutional based on the Article I, Section 8 argument.
The problem is, if you study Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention, the debate during the convention on August 17, 1787 took into account a number of concerns and came to the conclusion that the President, as the Commander in Chief, has the authority to wage war without Congressional approval. However, that said, a number of checks are in place in case the President abuses that power.
Having the power of the purse, Congress is capable of defunding any military action by the President they do not agree with. The other check against the President by Congress is the power of impeachment. In other words, he may have the authority to wage war without a declaration of war (as Jefferson and Madison both did during the Barbary Wars), but if the Congress believes he is being abusive with that power, they can impeach.
Part of what is behind this resolution is also Secretary of Defense Panetta’s idiotic declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations.
Panetta specifically said, “Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would … come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress – I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”
In today's world, though the President is not constitutionally required to seek Congressional permission, it is the reasonable thing to do. Bush conferred with Congress before Iraq, and the democrats still tried to hammer him for the war. Obama has outright told Congress he could care less about what they thought of his actions.
As for Panetta's argument for international permission, I have never heard anything more idiotic in my life. These globalists actually place the opinion of international organizations over the consent of Congress, or the voice of the public. Yet, these are the same people that accused Bush of waging an illegal war even though he did have the blessing of Congress.
The impeachment won't go anywhere, however. The Senate will never go for it, and the timing during an election year is going to hinder the process, too.
Then again, this may be a great move by the republicans to point out how the Nobel Peace Prize winner likes to wage war, regardless of the opinion of Congress. The revolt of the voters on both sides of the aisle will definitely play in the favor of whoever the GOP Presidential candidate will be.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
Obama Impeachment Bill Now in Congress - World Net Daily
Obama Admin Cites 'Int'l Permission,' Not Congress, As 'Legal Basis' For Action In Syria - YouTube
Myth #25: The President Has to Ask Congress for Permission to Wage War Because the Constitution Gives The Congress The Authority to Declare War - Political Pistachio