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But do I think that our actions in anyway violate the War Powers Resolution, the answer is no.  - Barack Obama

THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS AND NATIONS SUPPORTING THEM:

       The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

The President has constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations.

The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.

War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto. The War Powers Resolution has been violated in the past by President Reagan in regards to the aid to the Contras in Nicaragua and by President Clinton in 1999, during the bombing campaign in Kosovo. All incidents have had congressional disapproval, but none have had any successful legal actions taken against the president for violations. All presidents since 1973 have declared their belief that the act is unconstitutional.

Under the United States Constitution, war powers are divided. Congress has the power to declare war, raise and support the armed forces, control the war funding (Article I, Section 8), and has “Power … to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution … all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof”, while the President is commander-in-chief of the military, “when called into the actual Service of the United States” (Article II, Section 2). It is generally agreed that the commander-in-chief role gives the President power to repel attacks against the United States and makes the President responsible for leading the armed forces. In addition and as with all acts of the Congress, the President has the right to sign or veto congressional acts, such as a declaration of war.

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Library of Congress »

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.


S.J.Res. 23 (107th):

A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

9/14/2001. Authorizes the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons.
States that this Act is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution.

Is There a War Powers Act on the Books or Not?

Love the War Powers Act or hate it, it’s the law of the land. There are those who believe the War Powers Act is unconstitutional — such as all recent presidents — and the Obama administration has refused to say whether it believes the WPA is constitutional.

But the fact that a lot of people think a law is unconstitutional does not necessarily make it unconstitutional. (Right now, many people think Obamacare is unconstitutional (I most certainly do!), but five Supreme Court justices ruled otherwise.) If it is indeed unconstitutional, it would be good to get the Supreme Court to sort this out tout de suite. Because if it isn’t, it has been violated fairly regularly, and we will see it violated again soon.

The War Powers Act doesn’t allow a president to use force absent authorization from Congress unless there is a “national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or “possessions” (treasures, i.e. resources), or its armed forces” — a threshold Syria simply does not meet. If Assad’s forces shoot at our ships offshore, Obama can rain hell down upon him, but absent that “national emergency,” he has to go to Congress — as President Bush did for Afghanistan and Iraq.

From August to October 2003, President George W. Bush sent 200 Marines to Liberia without authorization from Congress, but that was in response to our ambassador’s requesting assistance to help noncombatants, including American citizens, get out of the country. Similarly, U.S. military forces helped evacuate nearly 15,000 American citizens from Lebanon during July and August 2006. Both Congress and the Supreme Court would probably easily agree that evacuating U.S. citizens from a combat zone qualifies as a national emergency.

We have some members of Congress insisting that the law is the opposite of what it is. Representative Pete King (R., N.Y.) told BuzzFeed, “We should not be talking about or insisting on congressional approval.” King added, “If he wants to get approval from Congress, he can, but he does not have to.”

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So how does the United nations fit in? After all, that is one of the cornerstones of their “Purposes and Principles.”

Charter of the United Nations: Chapter I: Purposes and Principles

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Charter of the United Nations: Chapter I: Purposes and Principles

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
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Watch this video! U.S. Proxy War against Syria – YouTube

Syria calls on UN, Security Council to shoulder responsibilities

In a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, Syrian U.N. envoy Ambassador Bashar Jaafari called on “the U.N. Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria”

He called on the Security Council to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy.”

Ja’afari said Kerry had “adopted old stories fabricated by terrorists” based on fake photos from the internet.

Resources:

The President’s Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations

Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001; 107th Congress

Jim Geraghty – Is There a War Powers Act on the Books or Not?

War Powers Resolution

Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001; 107th GovTrack.us

War Powers Act Doesn’t Apply for Libya, Obama Says

Obama Lies: Syria Rebels and Al Qaeda Do Have Chemical Weapons

Russia, US Nearing Proxy War in Syria – Arutz Sheva Israel News

Blame Congress on war powers

Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2013

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