INSIGHTS - by Joe Howard Crews - Feb. 25, 2007
Congress is stymied in its negative effort to counter Bush and his wars. Despite the new Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, they will always be stymied by either the cloture rule in the Senate, or a veto by Bush. Under cloture, Democratic proposals must win a sixty percent vote in the Senate; under a veto override, a proposal must gain a 2/3 majority in both houses. As long as Republican congress members are browbeaten by Bush, it will be very difficult to clear these hurdles and stop the Bush War.
The Constitution provides that only Congress can declare war, by a simple majority. To un-declare a war, however, a two-thirds vote is required, de facto. The power to declare war is exclusive to Congress. Although a president is permitted to sign such declaration, he has no power to veto a declaration of war by Congress.
This is the simpler way to win, simply by losing. The Democratic leadership must simply come in the front door, instead of the back door: submit a declaration of war against Iran, and do so immediately. If the vote fails, we have proof positive that Congress has disapproved war against Iran. If the vote passes, we also have proof positive that Congress voted against the declaration.
In either situation, if Bush attacks Iran, he can be impeached forthwith.
Of course, there is the possibility that, should the declaration come to a vote, it could actually pass. That would put that majority on record as favoring a disastrous war. Do most members of Congress have the guts to vote for another war? Highly unlikely. The key is to act immediately, before Bush makes a pre-emptive attack on Iran.
The Founders of our nation, including James Madison, who is often called “the father of the Constitution,” fully expected Congress to use these powers to rein in the commander in chief. “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it,” Madison cautioned. “It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature.”
John Marshall, the nation’s greatest chief justice, in 1799 declared that even in a time of hostilities, a president’s decision to act militarily beyond what Congress had authorized was “unlawful.”
Exactly what does the Constitution say are the powers vested in Congeress? Very simply it states Article 1, Sec. 8
11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Anything more than that is a fabrication by Mr. Bush, and any violation is an impeachable offense.
See more like this at www.ProgressivePost.com