Impeachment: Congress Fires Opening Shot Across Obama’s Bow.

John Walsh, August 31, 2013

“Mr. President, in the case of military operations in Libya you stated that authorization from Congress was not required because our military was not engaged in “hostilities.” In addition, an April 1, 2011, memorandum to you from your Office of Legal Counsel concluded:…”President Obama could rely on his constitutional power to safeguard the national interest by directing the anticipated military operations in Libya—which were limited in their nature, scope, and duration—without prior congressional authorization.’”
We view the precedent this opinion sets, where “national interest” is enough to engage in hostilities without congressional authorization, as unconstitutional.

Text from letter of Rep. Scott Rigell (R, VA) to Pres. Obama
Signed by 140 Reps, including 21 Democrats

The letter of Scott Rigell (1) to Barak Obama has exploded on the scene with its opening words:
“We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
“While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”

With these perhaps historic words the Congress has begun to claw back its Constitutional right to decide issues of war and peace. Significantly the letter comes from a Republican lawmaker, and it is clearly a tribute to the leadership of the libertarians in the Republican Party, most notably Ron Paul, Justin Amash and Rand Paul.

But the situation is grave enough, possibly leading on to a World War, that 21 Democrats have challenged the President and their Party bosses to sign the statement. They are moving beyond partisanship as Ron Paul did in challenging George W. Bush on the war on Iraq.

If that were all that the letter said, it would be momentous enough. But the statement goes further and labels Obama’s cruel war on Libya as “unconstitutional,” because it was done without so much as a nod to Congress. In the end no lawyer and no court, not even the Supreme Court, can overrule Congress when it decides what to do when it considers a serious presidential action as “unconstitutional.” In Libya Obama usurped the powers of Congress. If Congress takes the next step and determines that such an action rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” then it is an impeachable offense.

It is not hard to see the implications of the warning to Obama that the Representatives are issuing in raising Libya. If Obama attacks Syria, that will be the second offense, greatly strengthening the case for impeachment.

The implied threat of impeachment is of utmost importance because the President, long become an Emperor, will heed no warning unless it is backed by threat of punishment.

So far so good. But unfortunately Rep. Barbara Lee did not sign Rigell’s letter but instead drafted another and circulated it (2). Crucially this letter carried no mention of the Libyan war and the violation of the Constitution it represented. It garnered an additional 22 signatures, all Democrats, over and above those who signed onto Rigell’s letter. (At least one Republican Congressman’s office stated that they received no Dear Colleague letter from Lee on her letter so perhaps it went only to Dems.) This is very disturbing since back in the day of the Iraq war, Barbara Lee led resistance to Bush and backed John Conyers’s promise of a impeachment hearings for Bush in 2006, a promise Conyers promptly broke on getting re-elected. Now in the age of Obama, is Lee changing from an opponent of war into a partisan hack? This writer contacted Lee’s Washington and California offices seeking clarification. But the staff was unwilling to comment and the communications staffer did not return either an email or phone call.

In one way Obama’s assault on Libya and now on Syria is worse than George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. Bush at least took the time to lie to Congress. But such a lie to Congress is an indictable offense, and the lie is easily demonstrable if Congress marshals the likes of a Watergate hearing. So an impeachment move against Obama is also an opening for a move to indict Bush. And perhaps the unconstitutional assaults of Clinton on Sudan and Yugoslavia will be revisited. One can only hope.

It is time for all antiwarriors to champion the idea of impeachment and push for it now. The slogan might well be, “Impeach Obama. Indict Bush.” It will not happen unless we demand it. And if we do not, we are acquiescing to endless war and possible disaster for the world.

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com
He is a founding member of ComeHomeAmerica (www.ComeHomeAmerica.US). The CHA statement of opposition to the Syrian intervention can be seen at the web site just cited.

(1) http://rigell.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=347024
(2) http://lee.house.gov/sites/lee.house.gov/files/Lee%20Letter%20to%20President%20Obama_Syria.pdf




45 Responses to “Impeachment: Congress Fires Opening Shot Across Obama’s Bow.”

  1. [...] Print This | Share This | Send a letter to the editor | Letters | Antiwar Forum [...]

  2. Wake up, America. You are in the middle of a nightmare.

  3. With Syria's military (and the opposition) probably becoming more and more rogue, unchecked and mismanaged, with the increasingly obvious deteriorated state apparatus, the remains of a social order is on the verge of a deep bloody chaos. Saddat has lost control a while ago, the troupes being somewhat managed by external advisers which worked wonders.

    Even hunting down the chemical unit and set an example (which is what I suppose the USA is trying, a manhunt) will not change as much as they might think. And they won't be only ones on their tails. Get in line!!!

    Perhaps it will be now more about who can steal the credit for capturing or killing the commanders involved. Not only the US has something to prove…

    Bottom line is that the pro-Assad Syrian people just as all Syrian people might have to wake up, slowly, to the reality that they might be winning a war but that their state is kaput under the appearances and won't be repaired. This realization needs to be slowly because tensions could make the chemical attack look like a minor footnote in the violence which then takes to the streets!

  4. interestingly, the only real ‘proof’ is an intercept of a
    panicked senior syrian officer calling a subordinate in a
    (alleged) chemical weapons unit asking who fired. or so
    we are told. pretty lucky the call was on an unsecure line.
    strangely, the call has not been released to the public.
    you’d think something this important, this ‘evidence’
    would prove obomba’s slam dunk. of course, assuming the
    intercept is legitimate, the actual translation would go
    something like this: “hey, (arab-sounding name), i just
    saw on CNN there was a chemical attack outside of damascus.
    any idea what the heck they’re talking about?”

  5. Woah. Something is stirring. Maybe Presidents the world over will be put on notice that just because they can push the button of a tremendous killing machine financed by the sweat and blood of the taxpayers, they should do so. (Can anyone tell me what the special interests of France are here … old Syrian liaisons?)

    But

    > possibly leading on to a World War

    I read the Russians are not hot on blowing too much materials on this show.

    So, until someone comes up for transforming Syria in a Swiss Confederation of non-warrying states one shouldn't put the hand into the wringer. Not sure Israel or Turkey's idiots in chief would be pleased in any situation.

  6. Former colony – given to them after WWI as the Ottoman Empire was distributed to surviving European powers – really a 100 year old French clusterfuck

  7. [...] would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ We can be thankful that at least 161 members of Congress recognize their responsibility to hold the [...]

  8. The Issue here and the subject is about the IMPEACHMENT!
    Of course he should be impeached. Not only for the reasons stated above, but
    for acting in the interest of a foreign state, Israel. He couldn't care less about the
    American people, who overwhelmingly oppose this military assault. And surely,
    he absolutely doesn't care about the Syrian people. The only reason for this provocation is
    to weaken IRAN. for the good of the pariah state of Israel. The case could be made if our
    Congress could get their act together, that Americans could live in extreme danger if they choose
    to travel to any country. Israel and the USA are the most hated countries in the WORLD.
    He is a ROGUE PRESIDENT. Congress has to stop OBOMBA.

  9. Like e try thing the French touch, it went to hell very quickly They sould stick to wine, bread, and cheese – all excellent. They sould stay away from trying to rule the world and making cars

  10. I note the word "probably" in your first sentence. Mismanaged? Quite the opposite. At the beginning of the summer, German intelligence stated that, by the end of the summer, the Syrian Arab Army would announce its victory of the taqfiris (imported terrorists). This doesn't sound like a "mismanaged" military.

    Also, as regards damage to the social order, the Syria people are TREMENDOUSLY unified behind their government. Also, from Day 1, the Assad government has offered amnesty to any of those that were fighting against the government. And that amnesty offer has paid off BIG time, especially recently. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of fighters have gone over to the government's side, AND they are now fighting WITH the Syrian Arab Army.

    One big reason for this is that they have become appalled by the utter brutality of the taqfiris. And now, the beef they had had with Assad doesn't look so bad after all. Assad is now on strong solid ground, contrary to your implications.

    The Syrian state, contrary to your [speculative] assertions is intact and strong. Russia has already committed itself to help re-build Syria, once the war ends. We hope that the U.S. Congress will reject Obama's call for war.

    It is quite interesting that, now that the end of the summer has arrived, and the SAA has been routing the taqfiris, here comes this charge that Assad used chemical weapons. This seems like nothing more than the creation of an EXCUSE to thwart Assad's impending victory over the taqfiris. It's very obvious.

    Any violence that "takes to the streets" will be the violence of a UNITED Syrian citizenry against the taqfiris, and against any group, of any country (including the U.S.) that continues to attempt to destroy Syria. If the U.S. will stay out of Syria, the Syrian people, and its government, will be just fine.

    As regards a "state apparatus," in Syria, "the state" is THE PEOPLE: Alewites, Shias, Sunnis, Druze, Kurds, Christians, etc. This is why the Syrian government has not fallen in the 2 1/2 years the U.S., Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the taqfiris have been trying to destroy it. The Syrians are an ancient people, with a leader, Assad, who has a powerful intellect. Take some time to listen to his lengthy speech. If you do, you'll wish that OUR government, the U.S. government, had intelligent leaders like Assad.

    So-called "analysts," such as yourself, have been underestimating the strength of the "Syrian state" for the last 2 1/2 years. This is due to the utter ignorance of the nature of the SOUL of the Syrian people.

  11. War is a racket, a few profit, the many pay. Rise Up.

  12. "Impeachment: Congress Fires Opening Shot Across Obama’s Bow."

    Smoke & mirrors, my friends, smoke & mirrors. Watch how one by one each protesting congressman/woman is coerced into approving Our Glorious Leader's latest WAR CRIME ..or else.

    The ONLY thing that can stop this SOB named Barack Hussein Obama and his employers over at Goldman Sachs from turning the USSA into a tyrannical Police State will be a good, old fashioned NUKING courtesy of our Russian and/or Chinese friends.

    To which I say GO FOR IT TOVARICH! I'd rather die by YOUR hands than that of this despicably corrupt POS Kenyan Wall St meat puppet.

  13. Impeachment for Mr.Obama?Could NEVER happen,remember,he is a allmighty black man.
    When CNN brake this news about Mr. Obamas decision tonight,Mr. Blitzer talked to another black man,Mr.Rangel,a Congressman from New York?,a hopelessly liberal in most cases,but he said a draft would be a much better solutions for USA.
    And I happened to agree with him here,
    But what would the,in most cases,utopian libertarians,also here on this site,say about this?

  14. How long before we see Norcom staging a coup, with the tanks on Penn Ave
    Thought USA Constitution prohibited a standing army for this reason.
    No other way to get rid of the pro Israel parasites infesting the US body politic

  15. It gives more time for protest against the war, and it is Constitutional. But no proper legislative procedures don't justify aggressive wars. And frankly does anyone see this ending well? Do even those who argue for the war think it will actually improve anything?

    Whether or not I'd support an overthrow of my govt. oh I can Not SAy. But I don't support nuking every citizen of the U.S., kind of like I don't support lobbying missiles at Syria and killing innocent people for heaven knows what purpose.

  16. Impeachment is in order.

    forget syria, forget libya, forget the 20 other unconstitutional mini-wars currently ongoing. forget snowden and the nsa.

    but do not forget our ‘president’ has authorized the execution of american citizens without trial.

    that is unforgivable. impeach the bastard now.

  17. I don't know why you're criticizing Barbara Lee's letter. Be grateful for it. It's an additional source of pressure on oBOMBa. In fairness, the signers of Lee's letter are no doubt under a lot of pressure to shut up and say nothing, but they've nevertheless signed on. It may be asking too much of them, at least at this point, to sign on to a Republican dominated letter, so be gracious about accepting whatever support it is that they're giving.

    Now, as far as “Impeach Obama. Indict Bush," I'm not convinced that Bush himself is not still subject to impeachment. Constitution art ii, sect 4, provides that "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors." It does not, however, require that a respondent in an impeachment proceeding be a current office-holder, Article i, sect 3, clause 7, provides that "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States…."

    If a penalty on impeachment is disqualification from future office, then the mere fact that Bush is no longer president should not moot impeachment proceedings against him. Along this line of reasoning, see the ACLU's statement following the Nixon resignation (http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/White%20Materials/Watergate/Watergate%20Items%2018286%20to%2018510/Watergate%2018289.pdf).

    Additionally, in British constitutional history, recall the impeachment of Warren Hastings, who had already resigned and returned to England before Burke launched formal impeachment proceedings against him — and, for precedential value, this famous proceeding was commenced before Parliament almost simultaneously with the drafting and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution itself.

    It makes more sense, if impeachment there were to be, that Obama and Bush be impeached simultaneously. Impeachment proceedings launched by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives against the first African-American president would be explosive enough without at least subjecting Bush to the same proceedings. And what other proceeding could Bush realistically be subject to. Do you really think Eric Holder is going to launch a criminal proceeding against his own president's predecessor? A criminal proceeding that could eventually expand to endanger Obama himself?

  18. Whoops. Here's the ACLU link:
    http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/White%20Materials/

    The HTML coding in my previous post winds up including the parentheses, which returns a "Server Not Found" page. Let's see if this second attempt give me a better result.

  19. Stop hyperventilating. It ain't gonna happen. Regardless.
    This is no longer a country of laws, people.

  20. I'm not a utopian libertarian but the draft is a bad idea. If the idea is the draft will prevent wars (and isn't that Rangel's soapbox?) I don't think it's very effective at that. But it worked in Vietnam? Only after U.S. involvement in the war had lasted about a decade and killed 60 thousand American soldiers (and contributed to the deaths of many more Vietnamese). So if 60 thousand soldiers have to be drafted and die just to get people to protest and finally end a war – heck no.

    If the American people have to be made to feel the consequences of wars directly (although it's seldom them who call for wars), then make them pay for them without raising the debt (raise taxes) – but not my sending our young people to war.

  21. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  22. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  23. [...] “We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973. While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/  [...]

  24. Ah, the Petition of the 2000. Very charming. How did that work out?

  25. There is an easyway to stop wars….
    a 100% gold standard.
    war is expensive, to war you must then tax.
    you tax you get voted out. that's how gold can keep the peace.

  26. [...] http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  27. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  28. Superb analysis and a very nice rebuke to the warmonger!

  29. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  30. Paraphrase: We can only impeach o-bomb-a if we also impeach a white guy- because if we don't impeach a white guy with O-bomb-a then we are all racists???

    Can you imagine John Mitchell Atty Gen for Nixon crying fowl because no one had a black man to impeach with him at the same time? It would have been just as absurd then, as this idea is now.

    Now- I am not saying that Bush should not have been impeached, and I am not saying that Obomba should not.

    I am saying, that each has enough guilt and offense of "high crimes" to satisfy the requirement for impeachment.

    In fact, because we can't all know what secret deals happen to give super-delegates the power to pick our next presidents- and how many Electors also work for Goldman Sachs or Lockheed Martin, then all Impeachment Proceedings must start Jan 20th, the first day of any new administration.. to begin uncovering the plans, strategy and money for the next wars.

  31. I wholeheartedly agree. There is no more corrupting influence on a nations people than the something-for-nothing central banking system paper money created out of thin air. Money that often causes the most evil of all political evils..that of the murder and madness of wars.

    The deception of paper money is that seemingly it is created for free on a printing press, but actually it is later paid for through inflation which causes the lessening of the purchasing power of the peoples savings.

  32. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  33. Tess is right. Obama should be impeached for acting in the interests of a foreign state. He is a rogue president, bought and paid for by foreign interests. One might ask just who put up the millions of dollars for an unknown senator to win his party's primary and then to win the general election. The famous e-mail campaign doesn't hold up, at least not without complete, independent accounting.
    Any Democrat who fails to see that Obama is at least as bad as George Bush is as blind an idealogue as any teaparty nut.

  34. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  35. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  36. R. Chism, in no way I was supporting US intervention with my post. It was just an attempt to get to the truth of the situation beyond the popular media. Or at least an opposing view.

    You are just rebroadcasting Syrian state propaganda (I mean: the state is the people or the "soul" of the Syrian people, what??) It's still a real civil war whatever your politics are. It might be important for Syrians to believe in the health of their state and I do realize broadcasting the facts about the actual position of Assad might cause terrible confusion and violence in the streets. However, the analysis you're giving is more like wishful thinking. At least I wish it was true but the actual opposite has occurred over the last year. Check your sources and reconsider!

  37. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  38. Americans killed in Libya and we do nothing ; civil war in Syria and we want to strike ; this HNIC is in way over his head ; the Arabs say Islam is a religion of peace ; let them intervene to stop the killing ; why depend now on the infidels or the great Satan ?
    when you start feeling sorry for the poor civilians being killed by Assad just rememember the 3000 Americans who died on 9-11 while the same peace loving Arabs including Syrians danced in the streets . US stay out ; let ALLAH sort this mess out

  39. [...] “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.” http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/08/31/impeachment-congress-fires-opening-shot-across-obamas-bow/ [...]

  40. Articles of Impeachment:

    That Obama be indicted for attempting to conspire with the Senate to direct an act of terrorism against Syria, with the Senate being unable to authorize this act.

    Per Joint Pub 3-07.2, Antiterrorism, (24 November 2010) the Department of Defense defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies.

    The unlawful nature of the act being the absence of justification of casus belli, in that Syria is not bound by international norms that it is not party to regarding the alleged used of chemical weapons.

  41. 435 Congressman is way too many. Nothing positive can get done with that unweildy number. We need to downsize the number to 365. I realize it will dilute our representation, but it will also have the affect of making it more difficult for extremists on both sides from getting elected and it will promote a more centrist legislature.As far as reducing their compensaton while they are in office. Here is why I am against it. Life has taught me time and time again that you basically get what you pay for. If you keep their salaries to low, the process will discourage canidates who have modest wealth and income streams. I believe the better solution is to pay them more but place greater restrictions on their ability to raise money and receive campaign contributions. The problem with our system lies not in paying millions of dollars on Congressional salaries, but in Congressmen and women spending trillions of dollars on God knows what. Pass it On.

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  43. Ancient Quotes Describing Obama !

    "A scoundrel and villain…plots evil with deceit in his heart – he always stirs up dissension. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant."
    "Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool – how much worse lying lips to a ruler!"
    "It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!"
    "The earth…cannot bear up [under] a servant who becomes king."
    Are these quotes from Moses? Or Nostradamus? Or Shakespeare?
    No, they are from the Book of Proverbs and are on the internet.
    Although Obama isn't descended from slaves, he may feel he's destined to become a black-slavery avenger. (Google "The Background Obama Can't Cover Up.")
    Or maybe an enslaver of all free citizens!

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  45. "Impeachment: Congress Fires Opening Shot Across Obama’s Bow."

    Smoke & mirrors, my friends, smoke & mirrors. Watch how one by one each protesting congressman/woman is coerced into approving Our Glorious Leader's latest WAR CRIME ..or else……