American Bombs in the Muslim World: The Real Reason Why U.S. Citizens Were Killed in Libya
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Chafing e x post facto at the unauthorized nature of the war in Libya, Sessions asked repeatedly what “legal basis” would the Obama administration rely on to do in Syria what it did in Libya.
Watching that part of the testimony it seemed to me that Sessions, a conservative Southern lawyer, was not at all faking when he pronounced himself “almost breathless,” as Panetta stonewalled time after time. Panetta made it explicitly clear that the administration does not believe it needs to seek congressional approval for wars like Libya. At times he seemed to be quoting verses from the Book of Cheney.
Sessions: “I am really baffled … The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the U.S. military [in combat] is the Congress and the President and the law and the Constitution.”
Panetta: “Let me just for the record be clear again, Senator, so there is no misunderstanding. When it comes to national defense, the President has the authority under the Constitution to act to defend this country, and we will, Sir.”
(If you care about the Constitution and the rule of law, I strongly recommend that you view the entire 7-minute video clip.)
Lawyers all: Sessions, Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Obama. In my view, the latter three need to be called out on this. If they see ambiguity in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, they should explain the reasoning behind their flexible interpretation.
Cannot the legal profession give us some clarity on this key point before legally trained leaders with a penchant for abiding by the Constitution only when it suits them take our country to war in Syria without the authorization of our elected representatives?