“The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States”
“He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”
Article II Section 2, The U.S. Constitution
“The Congress shall have power to declare war”
Article I Section 8, The U.S. Constitution
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker in Chief
By: Joe Leonardi
The Democrats in the House, led by Speaker Pelosi, are attempting a coup d’état by trying to wrestle control of the Armed Forces from the President. Okay, perhaps I am seriously overstating — alright I am flat out stretching, but still and all the Speaker and key Democrats are trying to lay the ground work for the cessation of U.S. involvement in Iraq.
There is one major stumbling block, no where in the U.S. Constitution are there any provisions for the House to be involved in the process of concluding a war. As quoted above, the Senate is obligated to offer advise and consent on any treaty, but not the House of Representatives and most certainly not the Speaker.
Speaker Pelosi has outlined a plan for withdrawal. In my opinion this blueprint for exit is very much a treaty. The platform contains certain terms, if these terms are or aren’t met, consequences are imposed. This is all well and good, however, the Speaker nor any member of the House lacks constitutional authority to make such a proposal. The treaty process is to be handled by the President and the Senate. Usually this process begins in the executive branch, but the term is “advise and consent” so I would not see a problem with a Senate initiated overture.
I am well aware there is a cry for us to get out of Iraq. I am one who is of the strong opinion we had no business going there in the first place. Unfortunately the Congress, in an act of legislative malpractice, authorized the President carte blanche in Iraq. One of the stated purposes of the act they passed is, “promote the emergence of a democratic government.” Now that this is being attempted the Congress wants to stop. Granted many of those in Congress now, were not there when the resolution was passed, but none the less this open ended authority was debated, voted on and passed by the Congress. It is the President’s, with Senate’s advice and consent, Constitutional responsibility to negotiate a way out, not the House and not Speaker Pelosi. Madame Speaker, your profile and publicity aside, you have no Constitutional role in this process.
I find the timing of the proposed benchmarks and corresponding dates extremely interesting. It seems a little, let me get the right word — political.
According to reports, either we are going to be out by the end of this year or by September of 2008. I find it intriguing that those dates seem to coincide with the beginning of the primary season and just prior to the November presidential election.
Am I the only person outside the beltway who is fed up with being treated like a slow-witted oaf!?
This conspicuous politicalization of our troops makes me irate. If the Congress is in general agreement and strong in their conviction that the war should end now, they need to exercise their sole Constitutional authority and snip the purse strings. Stop these spineless, grandstanding “non-binding resolutions” and halt the money. I’m not saying this is the answer, however this is their only Constitutional option.
It is easy to sit here and criticize, especially when this war and subsequent occupation were so poorly managed, but we must respect our Constitution. This incredible document is the foundation of our government. This marvel of democracy has withstood the test of time — it has repelled many attempts to ignore and abuse it. Now, in this time of crisis and unrest, we must return to our Founding Father’s brilliance and re-read the Constitution, follow it and respect it.