Washington D.C. (August 9, 2012) – Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to authorize or declare war. Yet, instead of getting authorization from Congress, Presidents of late have preferred to get “authorization” from the United Nations or other international bodies instead of Congress for the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in hostilities. Most recently, the President authorized U.S. military action in Libya through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with the “authorization” from the United Nation’s Security Council. That is not a substitute for a Congressional declaration of war or authorization for the use of military force and it is in clear subversion of the Constitution.
Today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced legislation, H.R. 6290, that would prohibit the deployment of a unit or individual of the U.S. Armed Forces or an element of the intelligence community in support of a NATO mission absent prior statutory authorization for such deployment from Congress, as enshrined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
“There is no doubt that another war of choice can happen again at any time. After 10 years and trillions of dollars spent waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that we cannot afford to further commit our already overcommitted military. The war in Libya cost the United States $1 billion.
“According to NATO’s website , NATO is currently operating in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean Sea, the Horn of Africa and Somalia. Other recent NATO operations have taken place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iraq, Greece, Pakistan, Sudan, the Gulf of Aden, and most recently, Libya. Even 13 years after a U.S.-NATO led intervention, 5,576 NATO troops  (PDF) remain in Kosovo. Seven hundred eighty one of them are U.S. troops.
“Congress must reestablish itself as a coequal branch of government and ensure that the U.S. is not committed to another NATO mission absent prior Congressional statutory authorization,” said Kucinich. “The Constitution is clear: Article 1, Section 8 provides only Congress with the ability to declare war or authorize the use of military force. Congress cannot stand by idly as the Constitution is circumvented.”