Representative Walter Jones (R) of North Carolina has introduced a resolution in the House that calls for the impeachment of President Obama should he fail to obtain authorization for the use of military force from Congress.
The resolution is meant to prevent the President from involving America in further illegal military operations, as he did in Libya.
President Obama, on several occasions, dismissed the notion that he was required to obtain authorization from Congress for the use of military force during the run-up to war in Libya. He stated that the extent of America’s involvement in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi did not require Congressional authorization: “So I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question.”
The resolution introduced by Rep. Jones comes on the heels of a statement made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 7th. In the following exchange, the Secretary was questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions as to whether the Obama administration would consult with Congress when considering further military action around the world:
Panetta was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions, “We spend our time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?”
The Defense Secretary responded “You know, 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.”
Sessions, taken aback, responded that he was “really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat. I don’t believe it’s close to being correct. They provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, the United States, throughout its history, has only recognized international law when convenient. The entire Bush doctrine of preemptive war is testament enough to that. What Panetta is actually expressing is that the Executive Branch will do whatever it damn well pleases. Representative Jones and his H. Concurrent Resolution 107 represent an attempt at checking an Executive Branch that is operating completely outside of Constitutional law (note that this unlawful conduct is in no way limited to the Obama administration). Considering the fact that war with Syria and Iran are looming large on the horizon, we hope it’s successful.
The text of HCR107 is as follows:
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 7, 2012
Mr. JONES submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.
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 I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.