Thursday, June 16, 2005

"The President did not have the authority to wage this war in the first place."

- Constitutional Attorney John Bonifaz, at the Downing Street Memo Hearings (from Crooks and Liars, via BradBlog).

The DSM Hearing has been held, ladies and gentlemen, in a basement meeting room at DNC HQ in Washington because the Republican-controlled Congressional leadership wouldn't give them a room, and scheduled several important votes to take place during the allotted time for the hearings in order to disrupt things.

It availed them not. The DSM hearing (I saw a bit of it, and there are times when I really do despise dial-up connections) was well-attended and the witnesses were eloquent. Their evidence was heartfelt, and damning.

However, Mr. Bonifaz missed something, I think. I bow to his greater experience in Constitutional law, but:

While it is true that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution clearly states that "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water," the House and Senate surrendered their prerogatives to the President.

They did it twice, actually: On September 14, 2001, three days after Black Tuesday (when fear still gripped the hearts of many Americans), and again on October 9, 2002, when they authorized the use of force against Iraq. I won't bore you with the blow-by-blow listing of all the parts of the Resolutions; the one for Iraq starts with a rehash of the 1990-91 Gulf War. So, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States have abdicated their responsibilities under the Constitution.

They handed over their legal rights to a President who has, basically, pissed it straight down his trouser leg.

Maybe, after the 2006 Congressional elections, we will find a Congress more likely to stiffen their spines and take their rightful authority back from a President who has squandered thousands of lives and billions of treasure in this unjust and illegal war.


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