On April 13, President Trump ordered a missile attack against Syria; it violated the U.S. Constitution and the U.N. Charter which, when approved by the Senate in July 1945 (89-2), became part of the Supreme Law of the Land.
The U.N. Security Council later rejected a Russian resolution (8-3 with 4 abstentions) to condemn the armed attack on Syria. In one of the most mind-boggling votes in Council history, the U.S., Britain, and France, which flagrantly violated Article 51 of the Charter that allows only two justifications for military force, self-defense or authorization by the council, voted to absolve themselves of their war crime.
Bolivia’s delegate called the U.S., Britain, and France “imperialist” empires that “consider themselves superior to the rest of the world” and think that “they are above international law.” If such an attack happened in our community, it would be as if three persons violently attacked a fourth and were then allowed to vote on whether their action constituted a crime!
I have a question for Democrats who loathe and wish to impeach Trump: Given his blatant violation of the Constitution, a high crime if there ever was one, will you now demand that the House of Representatives begin deliberations to impeach him? Despite Syria’s record on human rights, including its alleged chemical attacks, Washington’s act of war violates U.S. and international law. If the Democrats are serious about removing Trump from office, here is their golden opportunity. If they fail to uphold their sworn oath “to preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution, they should have the decency to resign from office — or be impeached, themselves.
Prior to this recent attack, Sen. Bernie Sanders stated that Trump has “No legal authorization to bomb or attack Syria.” He correctly pointed out, “It is Congress, not the president, who determines whether our country goes to war and Congress must not abdicate that responsibility.” Will he now walk his talk and call for impeachment proceedings to move forward?
In a recent debate on the Senate floor over a resolution to stop U.S. aid to the Saudi bombing and destruction of Yemen, which has led to the largest cholera epidemic in history, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley addressed the fundamental clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8): It “states unequivocally that Congress shall have the power to declare war.” He quoted one of the architects of that Constitution and later president of the U.S., James Madison, on the absolute importance of that power: “In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature and not to the Executive Department” (emphasis added). What will Merkley do in response to Trump’s illegal war attacks?
Congress has totally relinquished its constitutional responsibility since June 5, 1942, when the U.S. declared war against Romania, one of Nazi Germany’s allies. Since that time, Washington has been involved in countless wars and regime changes abroad — yet not once has Congress exercised its war-making mandate. This has allowed a tyrannical power to be exercised by Democratic and Republican presidents, beginning with President Truman after the Second World War. Since 1945, the U.S. has engaged in undeclared wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice, in 1991 and 2003), Syria, and Libya, and violent conflicts in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Grenada, not to mention dozens of covert military actions throughout the world — leaving millions of people abroad killed, maimed and displaced, and resulting in 102,842 dead Americans.
Every one of these military actions has been undertaken by the executive, not the people’s representatives — who by our Constitution are to decide if and when war is needed. The human cost of these undeclared wars has been catastrophic; the financial cost is trillions of dollars — all needed resources that might have gone to address the appalling human and physical deterioration of our nation.
Thus, Democrats: Will it be impeachment or continued hot air with no action?
John Marciano lives in Talent and is co-author of the forthcoming “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.”