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The First Lie

It is time to set the record straight:

The pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was unconstitutional.

The United States Congress never voted for the Iraq war.
The First Lie

John C. Bonifaz, January 28, 2004

While all of the Democratic presidential candidates (except Sen. Joseph Lieberman) criticize President George W. Bush for his unilateral recklessness in starting a war against Iraq, they are missing a larger point: The invasion was not just reckless. It was unconstitutional.

It is time to set the record straight. The United States Congress never voted for the Iraq war. Rather, Congress voted for a resolution in October 2002 which unlawfully transferred to the president the decision-making power of whether to launch a first-strike invasion of Iraq. The United States Constitution vests the awesome power of deciding whether to send the nation into war solely in the United States Congress.

Those members of Congress—including certain Democratic presidential candidates—who voted for that October resolution cannot now claim that they were deceived, as some of them do. By unlawfully ceding the war-declaring power to the president, they allowed the president to start a war against Iraq based on whatever evidence or whatever lies he chose. The members of Congress who voted for that October resolution are as complicit in this illegal war as is the president himself.

Imagine this: The United States Congress passes a resolution which states: "The President is authorized to levy an income tax on the people of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to pay for subsidies to U.S. oil companies." No amount of legal wrangling could make such a resolution constitutional. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants the power to levy taxes exclusively to the United States Congress.

Now let us turn to reality. In October 2002, Congress passed a resolution which stated: "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to 1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and 2) enforce all relevant United States Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq." As he determines to be necessary and appropriate.

Congress cannot transfer to the president its exclusive power to declare war any more than it can transfer its exclusive power to levy taxes. Such a transfer is illegal. These are non-delegable powers held only by the United States Congress.

In drafting the War Powers Clause of Article I, Section 8, the framers of the Constitution set out to create a nation that would be nothing like the model established by European monarchies. They knew the dangers of empowering a single individual to decide whether to send the nation into war. They had sought to make a clean break from the kings and queens of Europe, those rulers who could, of their own accord, send their subjects into battle. That is why the framers wisely decided that only the people, through their elected representatives in Congress, should be entrusted with the power to start a war.

The wars of kings and queens of Europe had brought not only havoc and destruction to the lives of those forced into battle and those left to suffer their loss. They had also brought poverty. They were stark symbols that the subjects living under such monarchies lacked any voice or any control over their destiny.

The War Powers Clause of the Constitution emerged from that collective memory: "Congress shall have power...To declare war... " No other language in the Constitution is as simple and clear.

Thomas Jefferson called it "an effectual check to the Dog of war." George Mason said that he was "for clogging rather than facilitating war." James Wilson stated: "This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large."

Several years after the adoption of the Constitution, James Madison would write: "In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department."

Some might ask how George W. Bush's war against Iraq is different from other U.S wars. Congress has not declared war since World War II. While some of the U.S. military actions since that time have received the equivalent of a congressional declaration, others have not. There have been other violations of the War Powers Clause of the Constitution.

But today we face an extraordinary moment in United States history. The president of the United States launched a premeditated, first-strike invasion of another country, the likes of which this nation has never before seen. This massive military operation sought to conquer and occupy Iraq for an indefinite period of time. This was not a random act of raw power. It was the first salvo of a new and dangerous U.S. doctrine, a doctrine which advocates the unprovoked invasion and occupation of sovereign nations. This new doctrine threatens to destabilize the world, creating a new world order of chaos and lawlessness.

Now more than ever, the Constitution and the rule of law must apply. And, now more than ever, the truth must be told. The first lie about the Iraq war was not that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or ties to Al Qaeda. The first lie told to the American people is that Congress voted for this war.

In the midst of the rushed congressional debate in October 2002, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) warned that the resolution under consideration was unconstitutional. "We are handing this over to the President of the United States," Byrd said. "When we do that, we can put up a sign on the top of this Capitol, and we can say: 'Gone home. Gone fishing. Out of business.'" Byrd added: "I never thought I would see the day in these forty-four years I have been in this body... when we would cede this kind of power to any president."

The Iraq war is in direct violation of the United States Constitution. The president and the members of Congress who voted for that October resolution should be held accountable for sending this nation into an illegal war.

It is time to hold up the Constitution to the faces of those who dare to defy it. It is time to demand our country back.

~ ~ ~

John C. Bonifaz is an attorney in Boston and the author of "Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush" (NationBooks-NY, January 2004). This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Tompaine.com.


homepage: homepage: http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9843

IRAQ: Fix 4 US oil addiction 29.Jan.2004 23:18

petroleum accumulation

How long will the US military stay in Iraq? Why Syria?

Most likely as long as the oil is flowing through Halliburton's pumps. Those SUVs need their oil fix, and what else could Arnold put in his 5 HUMVEES?

Syria is next on the Bush adgenda because they also possess oil. So does Iran, coincidentally a member of the "Axis of Evil". There is a connection to all these countries (include Saudi Arabia), they are all contained on the greater Arabic tectonic plate. This geological feature is the reason the oil in the Middle East is so plentiful and easily accessible (other than sand storms). The Arabian tectonic plate is moving northeast and colliding into the Eurasion plate (forms mountains in Afganistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc) and rifting away from Africa (formed Red Sea) and rifting northwest (forming the Gulf of Aden), coming to a southern point called the Afar triangle. This unique compression of a small plate creates subsurface folding where crude oil migrates and is entrapped in deep wells, making extraction far easier than Alaska, Siberia, Columbia, Nigeria and other less popular oil sites..

"The west coast of Africa, from Nigeria south to Angola and the South Asian states of Pakistan, India, and Myanmar remain steady, if modest, contributors to world petroleum discovery and potential. Likewise, in the Middle East, Syria and Yemen, though dwarfed by their neighbors in overall quantity, serve to broaden the distribution and market availability of petroleum."

"The Boreal Realm to the north, because of its Paleozoic equatorial plate tectonic position, likewise is rich in oil and gas but the South Gondwana Realm continents have poor properties of oil occurrence owing to the long history of high-latitude geographic association with Antarctica. The Pacific rim doubtless experienced climatic effects but, more important, overriding tectonic subduction events destroyed most of the stratigraphic column and introduced volcanic debris into potential reservoir porosity thus limiting the oil and gas occurrence."


America uses more petroleum than anywhere else in the world combined, from SUV culture to petrochemical plastic products courtesy of DuPont and Dow. This same plastic could be biodegradable and made of plant matter like cellulose (hemp is 77% cellulose), but then the petrochemical corporations would not make a profit from controlling the product..

SUV's 30.Jan.2004 01:39


Not only do they guzzle to much gas, but they also provide a useful means of artificially propping up our economy. They're overweight, they block the line of site of the drivers behind them with thier ridiculous height and useless tinted windows(this isnt arizona), they're often nearly as wide as the width of a lane, thier bumbers are not of a standard height and only work when hitting another SUV, they're expensive to fix and they're sure to cause high medical bills for whoever they don't kill in a collision.

I also often notice that the morons who drive these vehicles prefer the left lane, driving thier SUV's as if they were in a little sportscar, typically speeding. When I see a vehicle riding 2 feet off my rear at 60mph, nine times out of ten its an SUV or an SUV morphed into a truck. I know for a fact that many of these people covet the SUV just to spite "environmental types". Just another way to perpetuate thier bullying.

Almost all SUV's have names that one could precede with the word, "anal". Anal Expidition, Anal Rodeo, Anal Durango, ect. I have a theory that these are the same people, who after 9-11-2001, all wanted to personally either put thier wee-wee's or some other missle shaped object into Osama Bin Ladens butt.

Sorry to sidetrack from the article, I totally agree with it. We've not declared a war since 1940.