Constitution 101: Congress Declares War (or Not)

Congress wussed out in 2003 when it encouraged George W. Bush to make his own decision as to whether to attack Iraq. This is not how it works. Congress must declare war before the president can undertake war. With regard to Iraq, George W. Bush made the wrong--and an illegal --decision. Let's hope Congress takes responsibility for deciding whether to go to war in the future. If President Bush wants to go to war against Iraq, let's hope Congress tells him to suck eggs. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who understands this fundamental concept.

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that, among other things, "Congress shall have power to...declare war." They haven't done a very good job of that lately. Instead they listened to President Bush's Dog and Pony Show and said, ooh, here, you make that decision. That's too scary for us to decide.

And we got Iraq. Yet when Iraq is not even nearly mopped up, rumors abound of an impending attack on Iran. Because of recent counter-Constitutional events, everyone is looking to President Bush to determine if he'll make that decision. How stupid are we? Brit Hume of Fox News is that stupid. He recently was flummoxed when asking a question of Ron Paul during a Republican presidential debate.
During the [September 5th] debate, moderator Brit Hume presented Congressman Ron Paul with a scenario that the next president may face regarding Iran. As described by Hume: “Its [Iran’s] nuclear program has continued to advance. UN weapons inspectors … are now saying that it appears that Iran is on the verge of being able to produce and may even be producing nuclear weapons…. Cross-border incidents in Iraq involving elements of the Revolutionary Guard … continue to increase and are a continuing problem for U.S. forces there. In addition, the threats by Iran’s leader against Israel have become more pronounced and more extreme.” Hume then asked Paul: “What do you do?”

Congressman Paul began his answer by pointing out: “For one thing, one thing I would remember very clearly is the president doesn’t have the authority to go to war — he goes to the Congress.

But Brit Hume appeared a bit puzzled with Paul’s point that the president does not have the authority to go to war. “What do you do?” he asked the congressman. “So what do you do?” he repeated. Paul answered: “He goes to the Congress and finds out if there’s any threat to our national security.”
Mr. Hume, that's not a difficult concept. It really is that simple, unless you want to pass a Constitutional amendment. The president does NOT have the authority to do what George W. Bush did in 2003 with regard to Iraq. Yet Congress looked the other way when he did it.

Any person running for president who does not understand this fundamental point should be laughed out of town on a rail. That leaves just about one candidate from the current slate on either side of the aisle that is qualified to fill the vacancy that will fortunately soon occur in the White House.

That person is Ron Paul.


  1. Heck, no Congress since Pearl Harbor has had to stones to issue a Declaration of War. Why start now?

  2. Brit Hume could have told him the correct answer (in Bush World). You declare the Iranians terrorists and then use the September 2001 AUMF as authority to go to war.

    Of course, the Senate (including Hillary Clinton) just helped legitimize that trick.

  3. I agree. This is why it would be a travesty to elect Hillary Clinton as president in 2008.

    None of them has any excuse for what transpired in March 2003, except that perhaps they don't understand the Constitution, which would mean that they shouldn't have ever been elected to congress (or president) in the first place.

  4. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) argued with Ron Paul on the floor of the House back in those days, telling him that modern events had superseded the Constitution. The vast majority of legislators in both houses agreed with Hyde, as is evidenced by their vote. This tells us what these people think of their oath to uphold the Constitution.

  5. It's interesting how people try to be the stars of their respective parties by advocating for hot button issues, but ignore the issues on which everything else has its fundament. Beneath the water level of the Republican and Democrat icebergs is a behemoth of misunderstandings and mistruths. The unfortunate thing is that most voters today vote for politicians based on their appeal to emotion rather than their appeal to intellect, common sense, and truth.

    It may not have started with FDR, but it reached its crescendo under our first blatantly socialist president. And now that we know we can vote ourselves largess out of the federal treasury, we have become the imbeciles of liberty. It can't last much longer at the rate we're going.

    Henry Hide is wrong. It's good he's gone.


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