WASHINTON, March 7 – Under question from Sen. Sessions at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey indicated that “international permission,” rather than Congressional approval, provided a “legal basis” for military action by the United States.
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Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war.
It reads: The Congress shall have the power… To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution appoints the President Commander in Chief.
It reads: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;
We would like to examine this a little closer.
The Constitution clearly grants the Congress the power to declare war. This power is not shared with anyone, including the President.
However, as Commander in Chief, the President has the ability to defend the nation or to take military action without involving the Congress directly. This results in the essential ability of the President to order forces into hostilities to repel invasion or counter an attack, without a formal declaration of war. The conduct of war is the domain of the President.
The United States has involved itself in hostilities around the world without a declaration of war. In fact, Thomas Jefferson sent a squadron of warships to the Mediterranean to protect U.S. shipping against the forces of the Bey of Tripoli, much like our current presence in the Strait of Hormuz.
The President can react to acts of war in an expedient fashion as he sees fit without Congressional approval. But, what gives the President “legal authority” to engage in military actions around the world?
There is no occurrence in the constitution regarding international organizations, such as the UN or NATO, having legal authority over the United States to order our military into a conflict. This is not the first time President Obama is bowing to international authorities, wishing for the U.S. to be subservient as part of a One World Government.
Hopefully, America has learned its lesson about appointing a novice to a position of great authority. When considering a person for a position of authority, the Bible gives the following direction: “not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:6-7, NKJV)