No Congressional Approval?

Bush Aides Say Iraq War Needs No Hill Vote (washingtonpost.com)

Lawyers for President Bush have concluded he can launch an attack on Iraq without new approval from Congress, in part because they say permission remains in force from the 1991 resolution giving Bush’s father authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf, according to administration officials.

Could this be construed as blanket permission for any future president to wage war on Iraq? What about 100 years from now? When does the permission expire? Can he wage war on Iraq for any and every reason?

It seems to me that a reasonable interpretation would grant him authority to wage war for only the same circumstances surrounding the original grant of permission.

some House and Senate leaders appear determined to push resolutions of support for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when Congress returns after Labor Day

Good plan. Don’t wait for Bush to ask. Congress is constitutionally in charge of this. They should not wait, but simply assert their authority and either authorize or refuse to authorize a declaration of war or a lesser use of force.

If they authorize it and he strikes, then Congress has substantially regained its Constitutional authority (or at least appeared to). If they do not authorize it, and Bush strikes, then he should be impeached.

At the very least, Congress could pass a joint resolution clarifying that the 1991 authorization does not apply to this situation, and that Bush must seek new permission to strike.

“We don’t want to be in the legal position of asking Congress to authorize the use of force when the president already has that full authority,” said a senior administration official involved in setting the strategy. “We don’t want, in getting a resolution, to have conceded that one was constitutionally necessary.”

You people are supposed to be on the same side here! Why are you playing politics between the branches of government at this time?

The Constitution grants the president the duties and powers of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. But because of the framers’ concern that an unchecked executive might make war because of thirst for glory or personal revenge, they gave Congress the power to declare war. The result is a murky separation of powers that has led to arguments and even litigation between the White House and Congress.

Perhaps I’m just an idiot, but I don’t think this is “murky”. Congress has the sole authority to delcare war. Once war is declared, the President is the commander in chief. Naturally there are a few situations where we don’t have the luxury of waiting, but those are handled quite well by the War Powers Resolution.

IMO, Consitutional violations – such as a president initiating an attack without necessary congressional approval – is even more of a justification for impeachment than Clinton’s various offenses (which were also justifications). Congress has full authority to impeach, and if Bush disregards the Constitution then our Congress has a duty to remove such a dangerous person from office.

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One Response to No Congressional Approval?

  1. anna says:

    preach on, brother robert! =)

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