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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Israel’

Is anyone else troubled by the recent developments regarding Libya?  Now I’m not talking about the clashes between pro-Gaddafi forces and the rebels who seek to overthrow him.  I assume we can agree that Gaddafi is an unjust despot, as are many of the leaders of non-democratic countries around the world.  We can freely disagree concerning whether or not the U.S. should intervene in this conflict.

Instead, the most disturbing element of current events was President Obama’s unilateral decision to launch a military strike against the nation.  Be they no-fly zones, missile attacks, or a ground force invasion, any violation of Libyan sovereign territory puts us at war with the nation.  However, according our Constitution, if you read Article One, Section Eight, only Congress has the power to declare war.  Did Obama seek and was he granted such authorization? No.

On this topic, I present to you today’s (March 21, 2011) thoughts of Democrat Dennis Kucinich (OH-10).

Isn’t President Obama’s actions a clear violation of the Constitution?  Now some people erroneously believe that the War Powers Resolution supercedes the Constitution and transfers this authority to declare war away from the Congress and to the President.   Although I don’t believe the War Powers Resolution is constitutional, that issue is a matter for another day.  To be clear, assuming the War Powers Resolution is valid, it reads:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
(1) a declaration of war,
(2) specific statutory authorization, or
(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
So was there a declaration of war?  No.  Was there a specific statutory authorization?  Not that I can find.  How about a national emergency?  With Gaddafi desperately struggling to control his own nation, I sincerely doubt anyone can make the claim that he currently possesses either the will or the military forces necessary to pose any sort of threat to our country.

Now I want you to compare Kucinich’s words to Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (VA-7) from Hardball on February 8, 2007.

Scary isn’t it?  I certainly hope that Representative Cantor has changed his opinion in the four years since this recording.  Unfortunately his website and blog are silent on these recent developments.  Granting one man the ability to declare war without any real oversight or approval marches the nation toward the spectre of endless conflict and a totalitarian state.

At the end of the day, whichever party happens to be in power, they all must obey the Constitution.  Clearly with this action in Libya, Obama has grossly overstepped his authority.  I would not support an executively created war whether it happens under a Republican or a Democrat.  You know what is destroying this country?  This event serves as a prime example. Outside the rule of law we have given one man far too much power.  And what we do not give him willingly, he takes in the name of our own best interest, in our supposed national security, or for international peacekeeping efforts.

We must not look at this matter through the lens of whether you support or oppose the use of military force in Libya.  After all, history may judge this intervention to be a great idea or a horrid mistake.  Nevertheless, it is clear that our President has blatantly disregarded our Constitution.

You may already realize that this matter is not a partisan issue but one where pitting those who defend our laws against those who ignore them.  As Republican Representative Justin Amash (MI-3) wrote on Sunday:

It’s not enough for the President simply to explain military actions in Libya to the American people, after the fact, as though we are serfs. When there is no imminent threat to our country, he cannot launch strikes without authorization from the American people, through our elected Representatives in Congress. No United Nations resolution or congressional act permits the President to circumvent the Constitution.

Perhaps you remember the words of Democrat Rep. Steve Israel (NY-2) in which he stated in the second video, “Congress has a constitutional responsibility to decide whether we are going to war or not.”

So what will be the end result of this affair?  Looking back, will this moment be the defining time in which Congress stands up for the Constitution and rule of law or will it surrender to the executive branch?  Do you want to know why our country is heading toward oblivion?  You need look no further than Obama’s response in Libya.

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Since the tragic events in Tucson on Saturday, political rhetoric continues to flare.  Everyone is looking for someone to hold responsible.  Some people on the far left fault Sarah Palin, the tea party movement, and private gun ownership for the calamity while some on the far right see it as justice for Representative Giffords’ support of liberal policies or punishment from God for increasing immorality in our nation.  In their mad rush to play the blame game, these groups have missed the point.  As far as I can tell, the fault for this terrible deed rests solely with the gunman, Jared Loughner.  No one else pulled the trigger, no one else handed him the gun, and no one else urged him to enact his plan.  It wasn’t the natural result of having too many freedoms…or too few.  It was not some grand political statement, but the act of a single coward.

Unfortunately, some political groups in the nation try to use any misfortune, be they natural or man-made, to push their agenda.  For them, the end justifies the means and they will exploit any opportunity.  I call upon all Americans to resist this temptation and rebuke any person or organization that seeks to profit from this terrible moment.

As they are similar to many of my own thoughts, I’d like to share with the words of Representative Steve Israel, the new Chairman of the DCCC:

Friend —

In the wake of last Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson, the thoughts and prayers of the DCCC remain with our colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, the other victims of this horrifying attack, their families, and the people of Southern Arizona.

Today, the House of Representatives formally honored them with a resolution expressing the condolences of our entire nation. But since Congresswoman Giffords is both a colleague and a close friend, I wanted to share some additional thoughts.

Congresswoman Giffords is a rising star and I am always touched by her compassion and drive. She was simply doing what she loves to do – talking with and serving her constituents.

We mourn and honor the lives of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, her congressional outreach director Gabe Zimmerman, her friend and Chief United States District Court Judge John Roll, and the other people who were senselessly murdered while simply meeting their representative in their neighborhood.

In Gabby’s spirit of thinking about others, I wanted to pass along the suggestion of her husband, Captain Mark Kelly who encouraged people to pray for the victims and their families, and for those who want to do more, consider making a contribution to two organizations that she has long valued: Tucson’s Community Food Bank or the Southern Arizona chapter of the American Red Cross.

Please join the DCCC in continuing to send your thoughts and prayers to the victims of this horrific attack and your wishes for Gabby’s recovery and return to the House of Representatives.

Thank you,

Steve Israel
Rep. Steve Israel
DCCC Chairman

Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee | 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 | (202) 863-1500 | http://www.dccc.org | Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

I too ask that you please remember the dead, the families of the victims, and Representative Giffords.  There is a time and a place for politics, but it is not right here and it is not right now.

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