Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

War Powers and Iraq

The war powers act needs to be revisited by the new Congress. Ref

* * *

Section 9: Even if a court finds some of the war powers act illegal, all other sections are enforceable. DoJ Staff cannot assert the entire act is illegal unless the Court, Article III, outside the Executive Branch, makes this conclusion.

The President has a specific ministerial duty, unrelated to issue of power, requiring him to forward to Congress reports every 60 days.

* * *

Congress has the power to force the President to end US combat operations within 60 days:

Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States.

3 does not apply, there has been no attack;

1 does not apply, there has been no declaration of war by Congress.

The only way this armed activity will continue is if Congress chooses to extend appropriations beyond what Congress said it had the power to do: Force the President to end combat operations in 60 days.

* * *

Time for Congress to put up, or shut up:

1. Where is the joint resolution calling for the President to end within 60 days -- what the Congress apparently says is not appropriate?

2. What is the reason Members of Congress have chosen to ignore the War Powers act, or not work with the GOP Members of Congress to imposes these conditions on the President?

3. If Congress, when it faces a President, who puts himself above the law, is not willing to enforce the law, why do we need a US government?

* * *

The argument, "We don't want to risk a Constitutional confrontation with the President over the war powers act" is not an argument, but an excuse not to confront what the President has done:

- Waged war without a declaration of war;

- Used combat troops in a situation the Congress does not support;

- Used the fact that combat troops are stuck in a mess he crated to circularly argue, "We need to provide more funding."

This is non-sense.

* * *

Going forward, the debate should shift from why Congress is or isn't enforcing the law or Constitution, to how We the People are going to prevent this from happening again.

___ What is to be done when the President wages illegal warfare, and refuses to cooperate with Congress on threats to shut off funds?

___ What happens, despite illegal warfare, the President says that the illegal activity must continue, or Congress will "face a backlash for not supporting the troops?"

___ What is to be done when illegal activity is not confronted, but the US Congress agrees, directly or indirectly, not to enforce the Geneva Conventions?

* * *

Some Solutions

Create a New Constitution which

A. Divides the American government into five regional districts, and eliminating the possibility that a single President over any of the five can amass power to force the other four to cooperate;

B. Permits US citizens to legally redefine their allegiance to a new nation, and permit them to lawfully request a humanitarian intervention to end this non-sense;

C. Permits US citizens to lawfully enact through new legislation bills that would appoint new leadership, judicial offices, and other elected officials which would awfully target Members of Congress, court officers, and executive branch personnel who were not taking actions to end illegal combat;

D. Assigns powers and duties to the governors to lawfully cooperate with themselves when the US Congress, Members of the President's Cabinet, and other US government officials engage in illegal warfare;

E. Permits US citizens to legally disband Congress when the US Congress and President jointly agree to ignore the will of We the People and continue engaging in illegal warfare, not preventing unlawful warfare, or not holding the US leadership to account for reckless use of American combat forces in non-military problems including civil affairs.

F. Legally delegates recognizable powers and rights to foreign fighters to lawfully target for war crimes prosecution Members of Congress, Executive Branch personnel, and DoJ Staff counsel who refuse to end illegal support for combat operations which are above and beyond what Congress and We the People are willing to support.

G. Legally strips the power of the President to assert that he is Commander in Chief, and creates a third Executive Department which is solely for one Commander in Chief, which has no relationship to domestic affairs; and creates a second Executive leadership position for foreign affairs.

H. Before Combat operations commence, especially in wars of choice, where there is no compelling debate, post-combat plan, or a public review of how the planned combat will be fully supported, all personnel including civilians involved in that planning may be legally prosecuted for war crimes.

* * *

The above requirements are not new. They have been well publicized with the New Constitution. Nor are the standards different than what exists under the Geneva Conventions.

The Conventions require the occupying army to provide for the safety and security of the occupied people. There is a time limit.

Once the US government argues that the Geneva Conventions do not apply, and that Iraq is responsible for security, then the US government must accept that reality and no longer have a role. However, as long as the US is going to assert that it does have a role in Iraq, then the US is responsible for the results.

These are issues of international law. The DoJ approach has been to wave the flag arguing that the President, as commander in Chief, cannot have his power thwarted. incorrect. The Constitution expressly delegates through Article I Section 8 the power of Congress to make rules, support the armed forces, and provide for their funding.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there any provision which permits the President to ignore the Geneva Conventions. Rather, the opposite is true: The oath expressly binds all US government officials to the Conventions through the Supremacy Clause.

* * *

What You Can Do

Send a notice to your elected officials and encourage them to re-open the files on the War Powers act, Oath of Office, Geneva Conventions, and the power of Congress to put limits on the President.

No President is delegated any power to ignore Congress, especially when the law prohibits the use of US combat forces for non-military related purposes, or when there is a civil uprising which the military is unable to control.

There is no ambiguity in the Geneva Conventions. Abuse is not permitted. American civilians are not required to assent to Congressional or Presidential excuses to wage war.

Our Constitution is based on the idea that war debts are conscious decisions, not something that will be rubber stamped by a Congress who says they're concerned, but does nothing to end what is not working.

No President has the power to keep doing what fails. It is the responsibility of the Congress to end within 60 days what is not working; or make a finding that it will support the combat operations; or that the Congress will find a New President who will implement workable plans.

The US Congress recognizes changes are possible in Iraq. Congress must make a case for why the same changes are not possible in the Oval Office with a removal decision.

* * *

If the US government does not want to manage these issues, We the People can find a new system of US government oversight that does what this Congress and President have jointly agreed not to do – ensure the US Constitution and rule of law remains in a superior position, not ignored with non-sense excuses.