FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 10, 2014
Robert Naiman, Policy Director
(202) 448-2898 x1
Just Foreign Policy Statement in Response to President Obama’s Statement on Plans for Military Escalation in Iraq & Syria
Washington, DC- Just Foreign Policy released the following statement by Policy Director Robert Naiman, in response to President Obama’s statement concerning his plans for U.S. military escalation in Iraq and Syria:
We are deeply troubled by President Obama’s apparent claims that he does not need and will not seek Congressional authorization to continue airstrikes in Iraq and expand them to Syria, nor to expand the arming and training of insurgents in Syria, which arming has contributed to the present strength of ISIS. Obama was right when he told the Boston Globe as a Presidential candidate in December 2007, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” President Obama was right to seek Congressional authorization for bombing Syria last year. He is wrong not to seek authorization now.
Just Foreign Policy welcomes the statement of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:
“Congress must weigh in when it comes to confronting ISIL through military action. The voices of the American people must be heard during a full and robust debate in Congress on the use of military force. Speaker Boehner should put legislation authorizing military action on the floor of the House of Representatives before Congress leaves for the upcoming district work period.”
We call on the House Liberty Caucus and all Members of Congress – who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution – to demand a debate and vote on military escalation before the Congress adjourns. We call on all Members of Congress to reaffirm that the President needs Congressional authorization to use force in the absence of an emergency created by an attack or imminent threat of attack on the United States, as stated in the War Powers Resolution. We call on all Members of Congress, and the President, to re-affirm the 60 day limit of the War Powers Resolution for the use of force without Congressional authorization. We call on the President to disavow reports in the press that he intends to invoke the 2002 or 2001 authorizations for the use of force. We call on the President to disavow claims that he can embark on a multi-year, multi-country war without Congressional authorization, a usurpation of Congressional power that the War Powers Resolution was expressly designed to prevent. We call on all Members of Congress to repudiate such claims. Just as there is no provision in the Constitution for a “recess war,” there is no provision which suspends the Constitution in the run-up to a Congressional election.
If Congress passes an authorization of force, we urge that the authorization be narrow, as Human Rights First has called for, including naming specific groups that may be targeted, geographic limits, prohibiting the use of ground troops, and a sunset provision, so that authorization will have to be re-considered in the future before this becomes another endless war.