Byrd Takes On Cheney-Addington "Unitary Executive"; Rescind Iraq War Authorization
May 4 (EIRNS)--Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), joined by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), is calling on Senate Democrats and Republicans to join together to terminate the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq which the Congress passed in October 2002. Noting that the 2002 resolution authorized the use of force to defend the U.S. against supposed Iraqi WMD and to enforce relevant UN Security Council resolutions, Byrd said: "The 2002 authorization to use force has run its course.... It is time--past time--to decommission this authorization and retire it to the archives."
Sen. John Warner (R-Va), the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also proposed withdrawing the use-of-force authorization.
In his speech on the Senate floor on May 3, Sen. Byrd directly addressed Congress's role under the U.S. Constitution in setting military policy. "The Congress is not an ATM, spitting out billions whenever the President requests it," Byrd declared. "It is a policy arm of the government as well as its banker. The Constitution says that 'the Congress shall have power to ... provide for the common Defence.' It is the Congress that is given the sole power to declare war. The Congress is sworn to, 'raise and support Armies.'"
Byrd's statements could be seen as a direct response to President Bush's May 1 veto statement, which concluded by asserting that "this legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the Presidency by the Constitution, including as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces."
Lyndon LaRouche's comment, upon hearing about Bush's statement was: "President Bush is far from being the brightest bulb on the marquee of history. The one thing the President doesn't do is think."
Georgetown University law professor and former DOJ official Marty Leaderman pointed out this was the first time Bush has raised this contention in the current debate, and noting the actual authorship of the notion, Leaderman suggests that this may represent a return to "the hardline Cheney-Addington view of the Commander-in-Chief clause." As EIR has shown, under the "unitary executive" scheme promoted by Cheney's lawyer David Addington and the Federalist Society, Cheney has claimed the right to ignore U.S. laws, international treaties, and actions taken by Congress and the Courts.