As the Obama administration rushes to deploy the U.S. military in Egypt in defiance of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have offered bills that would block the pipeline of U.S. military aid flowing to al-Qaeda in Syria.
Joined by Republican Representatives Justin Amash (Mich.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Ted Yoho (Fla.), Phil Roe (Tenn.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Joe Pitts (Penn.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), and Louie Gohmert (Texas), Representative Massie introduced H.R. 2507, a measure that points out the president’s violation of the separation of powers — particularly regarding the authority to declare war — in the supplying of military arms and funds to Syrian forces opposing the al-Assad government.
As Massie explained in a statement announcing the bill:
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress — not the President — the power to declare war. But the President recently announced his intention to send arms to the rebels in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. H.R. 2507, the War Powers Protection Act of 2013, prohibits any military assistance to Syrian opposition forces unless Congress issues a formal declaration of war pursuant to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Since our national security interests in Syria are unclear, we risk giving money and military assistance to our enemies. Additionally, all military action must be authorized by Congress. The American people deserve open debate by their elected officials.
Justin Amash, one of the bill’s cosponsors, echoed Massie’s understanding of the Constitution and the power to declare war:
The Constitution empowers Congress — and only Congress — to declare war. Congress has not declared war against Syria or otherwise authorized force in that country, yet the President unilaterally has decided to arm the Syrian rebels. His action is unconstitutional and must be stopped.
Massie’s bill is particularly timely given President Obama’s announcement that he will authorize the shipment of U.S. military material to “rebels” in Syria.
Another of the bill’s cosponsors recognizes a departure from the principles followed by our Founding Fathers and worries that such deviations will have predictable results. “We should follow the advice of our Founders and pursue honest and open trade with all nations, while avoiding entanglement in their conflicts. By arming Syria, we are escalating a problem that is not our fight,” Representative Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) told The New American. “When we interfered in the war between Iraq and Iran, we ended up helping create the Saddam Hussein regime that we then spent precious American blood and treasure to topple. When we chose Afghanistan over Russia, we started a process that ended up creating al-Qaeda,” explained Yoho.
There is the rub.
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