President Barack Obama has once again flagrantly
violated the U.S. constitution by launching air strikes on Syrian
territory under the justification of an illegal framework and with no
Congressional input whatsoever.
In a move that threatens to enflame the entire region,
Washington launched a wave of Tomahawk cruise missile attacks against
ISIS targets late last night. Early reports indicate that eight civilians, including three children, were killed during an aerial bombardment on the city of Raqqa.
Despite the administration enjoying widespread support for its military campaign against ISIS, with nearly two thirds of Americans advocating
air strikes within Syrian territory, suspicions are rife that
Washington will subsequently turn its weapons against the Assad regime,
which it has been trying to overthrow for more than two years.
Whatever the necessity and justification of the campaign
against ISIS, Obama’s decision to once again ignore Congress, just as
he did before the ultimately disastrous attack on Libya, reinforces the
precedent of the White House launching military action with absolutely
no legal foundation whatsoever.
Shortly after reports of U.S. air strikes on Syria
emerged, Congressman Justin Amash also summed up the feelings of some
lawmakers to Congressional leaders’ failure to engage in a vigorous
debate about the new conflict.
Although Congress recently voted to approve a plan to arm so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels (many of whom are aligned with or have sold weapons to ISIS), lawmakers did not give the green light to launch air strikes.
“What Congress never did was to specifically authorize a war,” writes Lynn Sweet.
“The chain of events starting with Monday’s attacks in Syria may dilute
pressure for another authorization vote. No matter what happens in the
midterms, Congress may be hesitant to deny Obama war authorization when
in fact the U.S. is again at war.”
President Obama claims that he has legal justification
to attack ISIS based on the same 2001 authorization to use military
force (AUMF) that preceded the war on terror. However, as W. James Antle notes,
that law only covers “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
“On its face this is an implausible argument because the
2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda
fighting the United States,” Robert Chesney, a professor at the
University of Texas School of Law, told The Daily Beast. “Since ISIS broke up with al Qaeda it’s hard to make that argument.”
Prior to the attack on Libya, Obama brazenly undermined
the power of Congress by insisting his authority came from the United
Nations Security Council and that Congressional approval was not
necessary. “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question,” scoffed the President.
This time around, Obama hasn’t even bothered to get a
rubber stamp from the UN, nor has he even addressed the notion that
Congress should have a say in deciding whether America should commit
itself to another military campaign which could easily expand into a
full blown conflict given the Assad government’s vow that it will treat any U.S. military action within its territory as an act of war.
According to Congressman Walter Jones,
Obama’s failure to obtain Congressional approval for the 2011 attack on
Libya constituted “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under
article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
By once again snubbing Congress, Obama has brazenly violated the constitution and committed yet another impeachable offense.