August 29, 2013
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, stated the obvious on Wednesday — under the Constitution, only Congress can declare war.
Obama says he has not made a decision on attacking Syria.
Mr. Nadler’s concern was reflected in the following statement issued as Obama and a handful of warmongers, most notably Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Linsey Graham, prepared to attack Syria despite overwhelming opposition by the American people and Obama’s apparent vacillation:
The Constitution requires that, barring an attack on the United States or an imminent threat to the U.S., any decision to use military force can only be made by Congress — not by the President. The decision to go to war — and we should be clear, launching a military strike on another country, justified or not, is an act of war — is reserved by the Constitution to the American people acting through their elected representatives in Congress.
Since there is no imminent threat to the United States, there is no legal justification for bypassing the Constitutionally-required Congressional authorization. “Consultation” with Congress is not sufficient. The Constitution requires Congressional authorization.
The American people deserve to have this decision debated and made in the open, with all the facts and arguments laid out for public review and debate, followed by a Congressional vote. If the President believes that military action against Syria is necessary, he should immediately call Congress back into session and seek the Constitutionally-required authorization.
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner has called on Obama to provide a rationale for attacking Syria. Boehner and a growing number of other members of Congress are demanding an explanation ahead of a military attack. Obama needs to provide “a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action — which is a means, not a policy — will secure U.S. Objectives,” Boehner said in a letter to Obama.
“We should ascertain who used the weapons and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement. The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress, not the president,” said Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Wednesday.
Congress is currently on recess and will have the option of connecting to a briefing on Thursday by the Obama administration on the planned attack via a secured line.
Officialdom Admits No Evidence of Syrian Complicity in Chemical Attack Exists
Intelligence officialdom in the United States now believes the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on civilians is not a “slam dunk,” a basketball phrase used by former CIA director George Tenet in 2002 to describe Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that in fact did not exist and the government knew didn’t exist.
On Thursday, congressional committees were briefed on a report “thick with caveats” from the Office of the Director for National Intelligence making a case that al-Assad’s military used chemical weapons. Despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion earlier this week that it is “undeniable” al-Assad used chemical weapons, the report states there is no direct evidence the Syrian military is responsible for the attack.
“U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders, or even completely sure it was carried out by government forces, the officials said,” the Associated Press reports today.
The New York Times admitted the Obama administration faces “steep hurdles” as it “prepares to make the most important public intelligence presentation since February 2003, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made a dramatic and detailed case for war to the United Nations Security Council using intelligence — later discredited — about Iraq’s weapons programs.”
As usual, the New York Times is letting a demonstrated war criminal off the hook easy. Powell in fact knew Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and not only embellished dubious intelligence reports, but outright lied about them as Bob Woodward noted in his book, Plan of Attack.
If the New York Times is around in ten years – and it might go away because dead tree dinosaurs eventually reach their nadir – it will probably conjure up likewise excuses for Secretary of State John Kerry and his “undeniable” evidence that is now crumbling.