Monday, April 17, 2006

My Representative in Congress is Peter Defazio!

I would like to shout that from the figurative rooftops in the blogosphere. My area here in Oregon has repeatedly voted for Representative Defazio , and by gum we will be doing it again this year. You may be wondering why in the world the frikster is carrying on about Mr. Defazio right now... right?

It's because of THIS ! As related by Raw Story:
Two Democratic Congressmen have written letters to President Bush on the heels of a growing number of news reports that American forces may have already begun military operations in Iran, RAW STORY has found.

Both House members express concern that if the stories are true, then the president may have acted unilaterally without first obtaining proper authorization from Congress.


Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) intends to introduce a resolution "expressing the sense of the Congress that the President cannot initiate military action against Iran without congressional authorization" soon, and is forwarding his letter to other House members to collect additional signatures.

"We are writing to remind you that you are constitutionally bound to seek congressional authorization before launching any preventive military strikes against Iran," DeFazio writes.
Representative Defazio then proceeds to chew up and spit out the logic proffered by this administration and it's apologists, regarding the constitutional roles given Congress and the President in making war.
As you know, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power "to declare war," to lay and collect taxes to "provide for the common defense" and general welfare of the United States, to "raise and support armies," to "provide and maintain a navy," to "make rules for the regulation for the land and naval forces," to "provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions," to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia," and to "make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution...all...powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States." Congress is also given exclusive power over the purse. The Constitution says, "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law."

By contrast, the sole war powers granted to the Executive Branch through the President can be found in Article II, Section 2, which states, "The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States…"
Mr. Defazio then goes on for about five paragraphs in destroying the administrations interpretation of their constitutional role. He brings up everything from the federalist papers to the historical precedent set by several of our founding fathers.

Representative Defazio closes the letter by heading the administration off at the pass you just KNOW they are going to try to cross. He clearly says the legislation passed in response to September 11 is not justification to attack Iran.
We also want to go on record that the Authorization of Force Resolution (Public Law 107-40) approved by Congress to go after those responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country does not, explicitly or implicitly, extend to authorizing military action against Iran over its nuclear program. The legislation specifically says, "The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons." There is no evidence that Iran was involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Nor is there any evidence that Iran harbored those who were responsible for the attacks.
Mr. Defazio effectively pre-empts the nearly certain administration tactic of invoking September 11 to pursue their goals in Iran. But that won't stop them from using that card, because that is the only thing that the administration knows to use in order to prop up a disastrousforeignn policy.

And just in case the President could use lawyer speak to somehow read an okay to attack Iran in the resolution authorizing force in Iraq, Mr. Defazio makes it clear that won't work either:
Further, the Authorization of Force Resolution (Public Law 107-243) approved by Congress to go to war with Iraq does not extend to military action against Iran over its nuclear program. This resolution only authorized you to "(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq." Like P.L. 107-40, there is no explicit or implicit authorization on the part of Congress in P.L. 107-243 that would allow you to attack Iran without first coming to Congress to seek a new authorization.
All in all this letter is truly a shot over the bow of the administration regarding a possible headlong rush to use of force against Iran. Rep. Defazio cogently dissects any possible justifications the administration may attempt to use in a rush to war.

So now I hope you can see why I would like to shout from the figurative internets rooftop that my congressman is Representative Peter Defazio! Way to go, Defazio...

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