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They Call It Unconstitutional, But Don’t Impeach

Above photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks announcing seven regional clean hydrogen hubs selected to receive funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate a clean energy economy and new jobs, Friday, October 13, 2023, at Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia. Official White House Adam Schultz.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have called Biden’s bombing of Yemen unconstitutional.

But none are upholding their pledges to uphold the Constitution by invoking the clear legal remedy.

In early December, I published “They Call It ‘Genocide’ — But Don’t Invoke the Genocide Convention” about countries which called Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza a “genocide” but were not invoking the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice.

But by the end of the month, South Africa answered the call, stating that it had a duty to prevent genocide and therefore issued an 84-page application before the ICJ.

And, just as the oral arguments for the case were being heard late last week, we had a case of “interesting timing” with Biden ordering the bombing of Yemen because Ansar Allah there was attacking ships associated with Israel until Israel stopped its slaughter in Gaza.

So, we now have a somewhat analogous situation domestically in the US.

That is, several sitting members of congress are decrying that Biden unconstitutionally bombed Yemen, but none are uttering the obvious legal remedy: impeachment. As The Intercept noted:

  • “.@POTUS is violating Article I of the Constitution by carrying out airstrikes in Yemen without congressional approval,” tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
  • “The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another Middle East conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.
  • Only Congress has the power to declare war,” tweeted Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. “I have to give credit to @RepRoKhanna here for sticking to his principles, as very few are willing to make this statement while their party is in the White House.” Other Republicans agreed including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.
  • “These airstrikes have NOT been authorized by Congress. The Constitution is clear: Congress has the sole authority to authorize military involvement in overseas conflicts. Every president must first come to Congress and ask for military authorization, regardless of party,” said Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Ore.
  • “.@POTUS can’t launch airstrikes in Yemen without congressional approval,” iterated Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo. “This is illegal and violates Article I of the Constitution. The people do not want more of our taxpayer dollars going to endless war and the killing of civilians. Stop the bombing and do better by us.”

In an interview on CNN, Ro Khanna, as he made his case, stressed his support for Biden even as he accused him of shredding the Constitution.

Some may claim that Biden’s action doesn’t actually violate the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution. This is refuted by former Congressman Justin Amash: “If President Biden had enough time to form a multinational coalition to plan and conduct strikes in Yemen, then he had enough time to seek and obtain an authorization from Congress as our Constitution requires. Without this authorization, any nondefensive military action is unconstitutional and unlawful. And we know from the White House’s own statement that the US strikes recently launched were nondefensive. The strikes were warned about well in advance and intended to deter, not to stop an incoming attack.”

While none of the sitting Representatives have said the I-word, one person who has is Bruce Fein, who wrote the piece.

Fein notes that Biden vehemently threatened to impeach George W. Bush if he attacked Iran without Congressional authorization. Decensored News found the videos:

And, as others have noted, Biden said much the same regarding Trump:

One thing about impeachment is that it’s a lot like invoking the Genocide Convention, you just need one party to ring that bell and change the conversation.

One member of Congress can introduce a very simple impeachment resolution.

Said Prof. Francis Boyle: “Impeachment is effectively a check given to each and every member of Congress against a president who is violating the law.”

Boyle was legal adviser to Rep. Henry B. González and wrote the first draft of the González Impeachment Resolution in 1991. George H. W. Bush would later write in his memoirs about his fear of impeachment — that if the Gulf War “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me.”

In 2017, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, and foreign policy speechwriter, told Politico that President Obama feared impeachment if he targeted the Syrian government.

The war powers resolution was introduced by Rep. Paul Findley, a reform-minded Republican who was driven from Congress by AIPAC and its ilk.

Said Boyle, who worked with Findley: “The issues he tried to tackle were central to trying to preserve the rule of law and ensuring that the U.S. not use force illegally. He wanted the U.S. to be the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,’ not relentlessly pursuing murderous wars that ultimately make our own citizens less safe.”

While only one member of Congress is needed to introduce an impeachment resolution, what would be remarkable is if it were two. A Democrat and a Republican, to make impeachment not about the endless political circus, but an actual tool of actual law so the US can civilize itself.

The US professes to be a nation of laws, not of men.

Last week, South Africa stood up for the rule of law globally.

Were any members of Congress paying attention?

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