Obama’s ISIS War is Not Only Illegal, it Makes George W. Bush Look Like a Constitutional Scholar…
Submitted by Michael Krieger:
Before I get into the heart of this piece, I want to once again applaud Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale, and author of “The Decline and Fall of the American Republic.” Mr. Ackerman has sustained a laser-like focus in recent years on exposing Obama’s brazen and unconstitutional penchant for illegal war-making.
I’ve highlighted his powerful opinion pieces on the topic twice before, first in the 2014 post, Obama’s ISIS War is Not Only Illegal, it Makes George W. Bush Look Like a Constitutional Scholar. Here are a few excerpts:
President Obama’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.
Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.
But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.
Not only was ISIS created long after 2001, but Al Qaeda publicly disavowed it earlier this year. It is Al Qaeda’s competitor, not its affiliate.
Mr. Obama may rightly be frustrated by gridlock in Washington, but his assault on the rule of law is a devastating setback for our constitutional order. His refusal even to ask the Justice Department to provide a formal legal pretext for the war on ISIS is astonishing.
Mr. Ackerman was back the following year with some additional words. From the post, The New York Times Admits – Despite Going to Congress, Obama is Still Defending Unlimited War Powers:
President Obama is going before Congress to request authorization for the limited use of military force in a battle of up to three years against the Islamic State. On the surface, this looks like a welcome recognition of Congress’s ultimate authority in matters of war and peace. But unless the resolution put forward by the White House is amended, it will have the opposite effect. Congressional support will amount to the ringing endorsement of unlimited presidential war making.
The problem is the double-barreled position advanced by Mr. Obama. He asserts that he already has sufficient congressional authority for an open-ended war with the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS. He bases this claim on an expansive reading of Congress’s 2001 resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to make war on Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. As long as this resolution remains on the books, Mr. Obama claims, he can continue fighting, even if Congress never agrees to a new resolution.
For political cover, Mr. Obama now wants Congress to grant him new authority, and yet he opposes repeal of the 2001 authorization in exchange for that new authority. Although he has pledged to refine, and ultimately repeal, the old resolution, he has failed to follow through on similar commitments in the past. If Congress contents itself with another empty promise, it is highly likely that the old act will remain on the books when the new resolution runs out in 2018. This will allow Mr. Obama’s successor to reassert his current position and continue fighting on the basis of the authority he inherited from the Bush era.
People who take the Constitution seriously, on both sides of the aisle, must not allow this to happen. They should insist on the repeal of the 2001 resolution and an explicit repudiation of the “associated forces” doctrine. Only then will the next president be required to return to Congress to gain its consent if he or she wants to continue the war past the 2018 deadline. If it fails to take a stand now, its sham debate will generate another destructive cycle of distrust that will further alienate Americans from their representatives.
Not one to give up, Bruce Ackerman is back in the news, this time emerging as a consultant to a lawsuit filed by Army Captain, Nathan Michael Smith, against President Obama for launching illegal wars.
The Washington Post reports:
An Army captain filed suit against President Obama on Wednesday, claiming that the president is engaged in an “illegal war” against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Nathan Michael Smith, who is deployed to Kuwait as an intelligence officer at Camp Arifjan, argues in the lawsuit that the president lacks the proper authorization for his campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, because he failed to get congressional authorization under the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
“In waging war against ISIS, President Obama is misusing limited congressional authorizations for the use of military force as a blank check to conduct a war against enemies of his own choosing, without geographical or temporal boundaries,” reads the lawsuit, filed by Smith and his counsel, human rights lawyer David Remes. Yale Law School professor Bruce Ackerman is a consultant in the suit.
“I began to wonder, ‘Is this the Administration’s war, or is it America’s war?’ The Constitution tells us that Congress is supposed to answer that question, but Congress is AWOL,” he said, according to the suit. “My conscience bothered me.”
The Constitution grants only Congress the authority to declare war, and the War Powers Resolution limits the president’s ability to deploy forces into hostile situations for more than 60 days without congressional approval, Smith argues. As a result, he was conflicted about the engagement.
The lawsuits rests on five counts.
First, Smith and his lawyers argue that Obama violated the War Powers Resolution, which requires that a president obtain congressional authorization for use of force within 60 days of deploying troops into a hostile situation.
Second, they say he violated the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution by failing to publish a legal justification for the conflict.
Third and fourth, they say Obama has exceeded his authority under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations of the use of military force. Finally, Smith and his lawyers say that Obama’s campaign against the Islamic State represents executive overreach under the Constitution.Smith asks that a judge declare the ongoing campaign illegal unless Obama obtains congressional authorization, and he asks that the administration cover his legal fees.
Finally, toward the end of this same Washington Post piece, we are informed of the following…
Just last month, Obama outlined plans to expand the military’s presence in Syria to as many as 300 troops in order to continue to apply pressure to ISIS, he said. Three service members have died in combat with the Islamic State.
So more boots on the ground, despite Obama repeatedly saying “no boots on the ground” (he said it 16 times). Remarkably, the U.S. State Department is now saying he never said that, which of course he did.
For some proof, watch the incredible video below.
If you’re going to lie, at least be good at it.
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