No vote could spark constitutional crisis if White House launches attack anyway
Paul Joseph Watson
September 4, 2013
Current indications suggest that Congress could reject the Obama administration’s draft resolution on Syria, setting up a potential constitutional crisis if Obama goes ahead and launches the attack anyway, as Secretary of State John Kerry has clearly suggested will happen.
According to a whip list compiled by the Hill, while the Senate vote to authorize the attack is already in the bag, 44 members of the House are either “no” or “leaning no” compared to just 17 who are “yes” or “leaning yes”. 31 Congressmembers are “undecided” or “unclear,” according to the Hill.
That leaves a further 343 members of Congress who have yet to take a public stance on the issue, although with national polls of Americans clearly showing that a majority oppose the strike, negative sentiment towards the idea of launching an attack seems to be the dominant factor.
“Most House Republicans who have taken a stance are vowing to vote no, or are leaning no,” the report notes. Despite receiving the backing of leadership allies like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, the consensus is that Obama faces an “uphill battle” to convince Congress as a whole.
According to Congressman Justin Amash, a staunch critic of military intervention, his visits with constituents have revealed, “Almost unanimous opposition to U.S. strikes.”
“It’s running at almost 100 to 1 against strikes in terms of people contacting me,” Amash told CBS affiliate WWMZ-TV. “It’s pretty overwhelming. I think it’s pretty solidly against military strikes.”
Other House members, such as Rep. Eric Swalwell, have remarked that they cannot vote for the Obama resolution because it is far too broad and greases the skids for boots on the ground and open ended war throughout the region.
A great deal of this opposition could of course be fairly easily overturned if we were to be presented with another convenient chemical weapons attack or a strike on US interests blamed on Assad before the vote takes place.
However, as we highlighted on Monday, both Secretary of State John Kerry and another State Department official have indicated that Obama will go ahead with military intervention anyway even if Congress does not give the green light.
“We don’t contemplate that the Congress is going to vote no,” Kerry asserted on Sunday, adding that Obama has the right to order attacks “no matter what Congress does”.
Kerry restated the same position yesterday during his confrontation with Senator Rand Paul, prompting Paul to respond, “You’re making a joke of us, you’re making us into theater.”
Obama has also insisted that he has the authority to launch the attack without Congressional backing, emphasizing once again that the whole process appears to be little more than a fig leaf or mere window dressing for a decision that has already been made.
The Obama administration’s apparent disregard for the fact that the founders intended war powers to be firmly within the control of Congress is setting the stage for a major constitutional confrontation the likes of which America hasn’t witnessed for decades.
Let us recall the words of James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, who stated, “In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature.”
Should Congress reject the authorization to launch the attack on Syria and the White House, as it has promised, goes ahead and orders the strike anyway, a constitutional crisis could be sparked and at the very least there will be calls from Republicans to begin impeachment proceedings against Obama, just as there were when he failed to obtain Congressional approval for the attack on Libya in 2011.