“If we don’t want to follow the Constitution, then why do we have a Constitution?”
That’s the fundamental question about wartime governance that a defiant North Carolina congressman is now asking. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), in a brief interview with Breitbart News, says he’s upset with House Speaker John Boehner and with President Obama for not going through the constitutional process of seeking congressional authorization for war.
Rep. Jones says he was one of a dozen House members from both parties who wrote to Boehner and Nancy Pelosi a week ago asking that, when Congress reconvenes in November, they bring a bill giving the president congressional authorization for strikes against ISIS. So far, Jones complains, the letter has gone unanswered.
“I still believe sincerely that as we expand efforts that we should have a debate on the floor of the House, particularly with the incursion into Syria,” the North Carolina Republican told Breitbart.
“Those who wrote the Constitution warned us of these interventions around the world, even if we think they’re justified.”
One of the big reasons there’s been no serious move by congressional leadership to bring forward a war authorization vote, according to a number of astute observers, is that many lawmakers are happy to avoid the debate and the need to go on the record.
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Again, from the breitbart.com post:
Congress adjourned a week early for campaign season—politicians were supposed to be in Washington through this week, but many have expressed privately to various media outlets they are relieved they didn’t have to vote on military action in Syria against ISIS before campaign recess. But Jones said he’d support a move to call Congress back now to debate and vote on this matter—something Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are unlikely to do.
A piece on infowars.com reminds us that the Obama administration’s rationale for not seeking a declaration of war is that Congress already provided a green light for airstrikes by what it authorized 13 years ago…a highly suspect legal basis that critics claim is outdated and irrelevant.
…the Obama administration’s legal justification for military strikes inside Syria does not come from Congress, which was not consulted, nor does it even come from the United Nations, a fall back the Obama White House used following the 2011 bombardment of Libya.
Obama’s legal framework for the campaign against ISIS in Syria rests on a 2001 authorization of military force that expressly limits military action to be used against “those nations, organizations, or persons” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
With Al-Qaeda having divorced itself from Islamic State, ISIS has no connection whatsoever to 9/11, meaning Obama’s legal basis for the attacks inside Syria is non-existent.