Romney, Candidate for King, Denies He Would Need Congress’s Approval for War

John Glaser, June 18, 2012

Making the rounds is this clip of a Face the Nation interview with Mitt Romney. In it, he declares the Constitution irrelevant and argues he alone can make the decision to use military force against Iran.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, just consider for a moment that the Republican nominee can now openly say that as president he can make war without the consent of Congress. That’s what passes for a campaign pledge from the Grand Old Party’s leadership in 2012.

Obama also believes in the president’s ability to make war on his own, despite laws mandating he seek the consent of Congress. But at least Obama does it in secret or by proxy. That said, the Obama administration, terrible as it is, has expended considerable political capital in staving off a US-Israeli war on Iran. Obama officials, from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, have been paraded in front of Congress for months emphasizing their estimate that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention to do so. Then Obama secretly contacted the Supreme Ayatollah through Turkey’s prime minister in a diplomatic fashion. He then released to the press the results of a Pentagon war simulation which demonstrated that war with Iran would result in the outbreak of a regional conflict which would be almost impossible to contain. The administration did this while getting hammered by the GOP candidates and the Israeli leadership.

As Pillar has written, Iran has “ample reason” to believe, “ultimately the main Western interest is in regime change.” I believe that too. But as of right now, it appears the Obama administration views the military option as too costly. Even establishmentarian voices, like Aaron David Miller, who I’ve personally witnessed saying “a unilateral attack [on Iran] would be totally discretionary. It would be a war of choice,” not of necessity. George Perkovich of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace interjected Miller’s statement for emphasis on what an unprovoked military strike actually is, saying “it would be illegal.”

Daniel Larison writes that Romney excerpts like this make it clear what kind of president he would be. “No one should have any illusions about how Romney would conduct foreign policy if he is elected,” he argues. Maybe. It’s also possible that Romney would conduct foreign policy indecipherably from Obama and is just saying this to show he is tougher and get Republicans to vote for him. Either way, watching Romney talk about foreign policy makes one thing abundantly clear: he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.




8 Responses to “Romney, Candidate for King, Denies He Would Need Congress’s Approval for War”

  1. Why walk right into possible impeachment…. WTF…!!!!!! Another cowboy……. "Bring it on…!!!!"

  2. He then released to the press the results of a Pentagon war simulation which demonstrated that war with Iran

  3. "That said, the Obama administration, terrible as it is, has expended considerable political capital in staving off a US-Israeli war on Iran."

    Agreed. While a Democrat, I'm appalled at the Obama admin's foreign policy. But unfortunately it appears to be at the most reasonable end of the spectrum of views held by the Establishment.

  4. One thing that has been left out of this piece is the pernicious effect of precedent. One of the big arguments aimed at Democrats who supported Obama's unprovoked and unilateral attacks on Libya was that even if you (for some ungodly reason) trust Barack Obama to go to war on his own initiative, it establishes a powerful precedent for every President after him.

    That's basically what Romney is saying now. Listen to the words. "At this stage…" "The President has this power now…"

    To trust one President with a power is to trust EVERY President with the same power. We reap what we sow.

  5. You know the whole voting for the lesser of two evils strategy, yes well it stinks as a strategy, but in addition I seem incapable of coming to a conclusion on who the lesser of two evils even is. I change my mind on who the lesser evil is every few days. There's President I can murder anyone with a drone, and then there's would be President war with Iran. I don't know who the lesser evil is anymore! My mind can't even function anymore with these choices.

  6. By the way these types of warnings are things people should take deadly seriously. Obama himself signaled his true intent while running in 08. He was militaristic in his campaign discussions of Afghanistan and said he would escalate that war, he voted for FISA. He gave warnings on what he really was (granted noone knew he would be quite *this* bad).

    Now Romney is making it clear as day not to expect peace or respect for the Constitution (he doesn't respect the balance of powers even for warmaking, what makes you think he will respect the bill of rights, he's already come out in favor of the NDAA). And what they actually do in power is often even worse than what they say.

  7. The direct inference he made was that the Presidents had the power now not to have to ask congress, when was the constitution changed and where do I get this new copy so I can update my legal library!

    Bin Ladin lost his personal battle but won the War for AlQaeda took a basically country of law and made it a multiple regime country that now breached its own Constitution the trreaties made in accordance with that Constitution and Domestic law made under that Constitution.

    The fools that started this Bush Cheney Rumsfeld Bybee Yoo etc etc should all be seized and brought up on charges of High Treason and International War Crimes, Only when America starts its realisation that it has become a country of War Criminals will it return to a path of redemption as the Premier state of a country of Law in this world!

  8. [...] if Mitt’s own musings about not needing the consent of Congress to go to war weren’t enough of a hint that a Romney [...]