It is clear by now that a U.S. attack on Syria is in the cards and perhaps imminent as of this writing. President Obama’s go it alone approach will make this attack illegal, but that is standard operating procedure for the American Empire. It is also apparent that Congress will not be given a chance to debate and vote on this act of war. If Obama does act unilaterally and without congressional approval, he will not be the only official open to impeachment proceedings. House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid are also culpable in this crime against the Constitution.
Three people have the power to call Congress back to Washington for a debate and vote on intervention — no matter how “limited” — in Syria: The President and the leaders of the two Houses of Congress. The Constitution clearly demands a congressional input before launching an attack on another sovereign nation. The War Powers Act is not applicable in this crisis because there is no “national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” If the President acts without congressional authorization, he will be committing another impeachable offence. This view is shared by former Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
One has to wonder why Congress remained on break this week when the administration was steaming forward toward using the chemical attacks on Syrian civilians last week as a pretext to attack the Syrian government. Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid both have the power to call their respective Houses of Congress back into session, but they did not. One can debate why that did not happen, but it is clear from the Constitution that they have the duty to do so.
Among the list of “high crimes and misdemeanours” that make up impeachable offenses of public officials is “dereliction of duty.” Boehner and Reid had the duty to call Congress back into session, and did not. Most fingers will be pointing at the President if he ignores the Constitution yet again and initiates a military attack on Syria, but he will not be the only official culpable in this illegal war.
No one believes that Speaker Boehner will ever allow impeachment proceedings to begin in the House against him. Perhaps that is the real reason he did not call Congress into session this week. He’s the one official in the Federal Government immune to impeachment since he is the one who would bring such a motion to the House floor for debate.
Obama will attack Syria, and he, Boehner and Reid will not be impeached, and our one-time Republic will continue to drift further and further into the American Empire. It is this Empire that makes and breaks the rules of the international system to suit its own “national interest.” Obama, Reid and Boehner will not be impeached because they are in cohoots to build and sustain the unsustainable American Empire.
We have what constitutional law professor, Lawrence Lessig calls a Republic, Lost, and there is little, if anything, we the people can do about that.
Update, 8/31/2013, 2:10 p.m: The President just announced that he will seek approval for an illegal (not UN authorized) strike on Syria. In the coming week and a half, it will be in part up to the American people to make their case to our representatives in Congress as to whether launching strikes against one side in a civil war in the Middle East makes sense or not. Let the debate begin.