week, during a hearing in the House International Relations committee, I
attempted to force the committee to follow the Constitution and vote to
declare war with Iraq. The language of Article I, section 8, is quite clear:
only Congress has the authority to declare war. Yet Congress in general, and
the committee in particular, have done everything possible to avoid making
such a declaration. Why? Because members lack the political courage to call
an invasion of Iraq what it really is- a war- and vote yes or no on the
wisdom of such a war. Congress would rather give up its most important
authorized power to the President and the UN than risk losing an election
later if the war goes badly. There is always congressional
"support" for a popular war, but the politicians want room to
maneuver if the public later changes its mind. So members take half steps, supporting
confusingly worded "authorizations" that they can back away from
easily if necessary.
astonishing that the authorization passed by the committee mentions the
United Nations dozens of times, yet does not mention the Constitution once.
Congress has allowed itself to be bypassed completely, even though much is
made of the President’s generosity in "consulting"
legislators about the war. The real negotiations took place between the Bush
administration and the UN, replacing debate in the people’s house. By
transferring its authority to declare war to the President and ultimately the
UN, Congress not only violates the Constitution, but also disenfranchises the
don’t believe in resolutions that cite the UN as authority for our
military actions. America has a sovereign right to defend itself, and we
don’t need UN permission or approval to act in the interests of
American national security. The decision to go to war should be made by the
U.S. Congress alone. If Congress believes war is justified, it should give
the President full warmaking authority, rather than binding him with
resolutions designed to please our UN detractors.
the leadership of both parties on the International Relations committee fails
to understand the Constitution. One Republican member stated that the
constitutional requirement that Congress declare war is an anachronism and
should no longer be followed, while a Democratic member said that a
declaration of war would be "frivolous." I don’t think most
Americans believe our Constitution is outdated or frivolous, and they expect
Congress to follow it.
Congress issued clear declarations of war against Japan and Germany during
World War II, the nation was committed and victory was achieved. When
Congress shirks its duty and avoids declaring war, as with Korea, and
Vietnam, the nation is less committed and the goals are less clear. No lives
should be lost in Iraq unless Congress expresses the clear will of the
American people and votes yes or no on a declaration of war.
other articles by Ron Paul
Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for
liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington
for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return
to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. For more
information click on the Project Freedom website.
with the authorization of Dr. Paul.
Dr. Ron Paul