Obama’s Alarming View on Who Wills the US Military

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a Senate committee on Wednesday that the US would “seek permission” from international organizations before committing the military to war. He also made it clear that the Obama administration does not feel it necessary to “inform” Congress or get their authorization for military action.

The secretary was responding to a question about potential US military action in Syria — a pertinent query since President Obama recently authorized the Pentagon to look at what kind of missions our intervention in Syria might require.

The prospect of some kind of international response to the massacres in Syria is growing as several countries are calling for arming the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and there has been talk of forcing the issue of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people in Homs and other flashpoints of the rebellion. And as refugees flee from Homs, overburdening Lebanon and Turkey, tales are being told of the horrific attacks made by President Bashar Assad’s troops on civilian enclaves and the atrocities committed by by the dreaded Shabiha militia.

Several high profile defections – both military and civilian government officials — have given a boost to the FSA as well as the civilian opposition, the Syrian National Council, who is still trying to get organized. Indeed, the inability of the opposition to present a united front, as well as uncertainty surrounding the makeup of the FSA has made the rest of the world cautious about giving arms and other support to the rebel cause.

This was the basis of questions directed at Secretary Panetta at the Senate hearing; how would the Obama administration go about fulfilling its obligation under the War Powers Act? In a testy exchange, Senator Jeff Sessions asked Panetta, “We spend our time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?”

Panetta’s response surprised many on the committee: “You know, our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress.”

Sessions gave Panetta several opportunities to clarify his remarks, but each time he was asked about informing Congress or getting their authorization for military action, he reiterated his position that the US couldn’t go to war unless it received some kind of mandate from the international community and, even more shockingly, that the White House was under no obligation to get the permission of Congress.

Democrat Carl Levin tried to give Panetta a chance to walk back his statement about the US needing permission to commit our troops. “I don’t think the word permission is appropriate even in that context. By the way, I think what — you really corrected it when you said a legal basis in international law would help you achieve an international coalition.” Panetta responded, “That’s correct” — but it wasn’t. The Secretary never clarified his statement and stuck to his original premise.

An unidentified spokesman at the Pentagon tried to undo the damage: “He was re-emphasizing the need for an international mandate. We are not ceding U.S. decision-making authority to some foreign body,” he said. That’s a relief to hear but it doesn’t change the fact that given several opportunities to alter his position, Panetta insisted that the US needed an “international mandate” to go to war.

Just as troubling was the notion that the administration doesn’t feel the need to inform, or get authorization for war, from Congress. Senator Sessions spoke for many on the committee when he said Panetta’s comments were “very revealing of the mindset” of the administration and that Panetta didn’t seem to understand that his comments went against the fundamentals of our government. The administration already violated the law when, during the Libyan campaign, the president refused to seek congressional approval for continued US participation in the international coalition. This despite the fact that the War Powers Act stipulates that if US troops are committed for more than 60 days, the president must get the permission of Congress.

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  • Nakba1948

    "Israeli interests outrank the American Congress…." There, fixed the article's subtitle for you. ;)

    • kafir4life

      allahu snackbar to ya nakkie! allahu snackbar.

    • intrcptr2

      Yeah, as if.

      When Panetta lays authority for deployment of the US military he is not pointing at Israel (Do recall it was this week that Obama once again tried badgering Netanyahu into sitting on his hands). He is rather refrring to your precious pro-Israel United Nations General Assembly.

      Please stop sniffing glue.

    • aspacia

      Nakbathe terrorist lover, It would be in Israel's interests for us to intervene and help oust Assad who is allied with Iran you dolt.

  • truebearing

    Obama has more loyalty to the UN than he does the US. He is a transnationalist by birth. His parents were Muslims and Marxists, and he's never swayed from his dual loyalty.

    How disturbing is it that Obama, who ran for his first elected office participating in Joel Roger's scheme of dual candidacy, or electoral Fusion, would end up being the Marxist/Meccan dual Trojan Horse? Rogers reintroduced Fusion politics as a strategy for the far Left to take over the Democratic Party and now Obama has taken it to new lows as a dual agent for Islam and Marxism.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    Pay no attention to the Panetta speaking at the table in front of you. He just said the White House will go to war if and when it feels like it. Pay no attention. The Congress needs to do the 'peoples' business. I mean, who else will grab those bags of money to give to their friends back home in Every Town, U.S.A., if not the Congress? I understand most lawmakers are so busy distributing money they have trained horses doing most of the writing, reading and voting on legislation. After all, that kind of work is not important anymore since Obama just does what he wants anyway. Don't know about you buddy, but I'm already playing my fiddle.

    • Tanstaafl

      It was a lyre, Nero played a lyre while Rome burned. Just wanted to be accurate.

  • randy

    Look at the mess and loss of civillian and enlisted life in the unwinable wars that bush started for nothing.

    • old white guy

      will you get over bush the commie obammie is in power now.

    • tagalog

      Those wars President Bush started continue to go on in a context where even our allies are in favor of our troops being murdered and killed, and that recent turn of events is happening under President Obama.

      And if we're looking into military options for America in Syria, where our national interests don't seem to be at stake, I would hope we're also investigating our military options with regard to Iran developing nuclear weapons capability, where our national security could be directly at risk.

    • aspacia

      randy, Wbya was right to invade Afghanistan, and most of the intel shows that Iraq did have WBD's.

      The problem with how the West has prosecuted wars since WWII is we do not go for the unconditional surrender and massacre our enemies as we had previously done.

      Hint, you kill more of them, and avoid dying yourself to win.

  • Haze

    they should start focusing on Koney 2012. :)

  • Stephen_Brady

    So, let me get this stright. You "seek permission" from international authorities before committing the US military to action. Besides the Constitutional issue involved in this, wouldn't this public "seeking" of approval give the enemy a chance to bolster his forces, in preparation for such an attack?

    This is why the Israelis will be alone, when they strike Iran. There is no authority that they must beg for permission to defend themselves.

    US out of UN, and UN out of US …

  • flyingtiger

    Why do I feel that Ceasar has just crossed the Rubicon?

    • intrcptr2

      Alea iacta est.

    • intrcptr2

      By the way, nice name. :)

  • http://rebelontheright.blogspot.com Genie Smith

    Alarming, yes. Surprising, no.

  • pagegl

    Obama and his advisors took an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. Now, Congress is being told that the adminstration has no intention of honoring that oath. In fact, Congress has been told the adminstration will contravene the oath and the Constitution. When will members of Congress get off their collective arses and initiate impeachment proceedings?

    The left accused Bush of having an imperial presidency, what he did pales in comparison to Obama.

  • randy

    The U.S has no right to attack any country. Congress or no congress

    • intrcptr2

      So Mr Moral prefers that Assad simply continue murdering men, women, and children for his own political ends?

      Its people (No, sorry, such thinking disqualifies you from even that mild honorific), its your type that really gets my blood to boil.

      Coward.

    • aspacia

      We sure do. Remember the Barbary War when were turned Algiers into rubble. Naw, you are a liberal with zero knowledge of history.

  • pyeatte

    I agree that the Congress should be involved but doesn't the President have the authority to commit troops or military power for 50 days before Congress has to approve the action? I believe it was done this way so the President could respond to emergency situations at a moments notice.

  • Wesley69

    International permission????? The US is a sovereign state. We act in our own self interest.

    Under our Constitution, the President gets the approval of Congress before or just after he commits troops to action. Congress can cancel that deployment at any time.

    This is the way it is suppose to work, but the current Occupant of the White House believes he knows best what this country needs. Never mind our founding documents. Never mind the separations of powers. He will act when he sees the need. He wants us to be under UN leadership. He wants the US to play nice with the other nations of the world, which means screw our allies and appease our enemies.

    This President needs to be defeated in 2012 and then we need to clean house.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Congress should turn Panetta into Pancetta and be ready to deal with a new administration
    after the next elections where the marxist/Islamist/leftist subversives are sent packing………..William

  • Flowreknife_us

    All the Gulf States have their own Military assets. Let them supply what ever side they wish with their own assets and leave us out of it.

    If Congress grew a spine it could OK the destruction of the Syrian Airforce and its chemical weapons storage.
    Clearing the path to Iran and reducing the potential WMD retalation is all we should be doing that fits within our own National security intrests. Let those on the ground fight for the honors of being King of the rubble.

  • intrcptr2

    What I want to know is why not one single Congressman stood up in the committee and announced the initiation of impeachment proceedings against Panetta.

    Can anyone explain, from Supreme Court jurisprudence even, how what he testified under oath about the US military and the White House's responsiblities is not treasonous? At heart, he has just stated aforetime his, and by extension Obama's, intent to utterly foreswear his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution.

    • W. C. Taqiyya

      Yes, I can propose one reason the entire Congress is sitting down. It's for the same reason the entire Roman Senate silently accepted the Emperor's horse as their newest member. Since Obama can kill anyone in this country or anywhere on earth he decides is a terrorist, I think the Congressmen got the message. No revue, no recourse, no records. Just dead. All hail Obama. Glad to help.

  • Marti

    Congress is a dog and pony show.
    They will do nothing to Pannetta or anyone else in this administration.
    They are spineless money takers!!!!!
    They have neither the spine or fortitude to stand up against our Marxist regime.
    Wasted blood and treasure of our best and brightest all for naught!!!

  • Tanstaafl

    Just what we need. A "Mother, may I?" approach.

  • Fred Dawes

    Our we all living in some third world country? this monkey panetta just said "we are asking permission from international bankers who in fact own this government".

  • guest

    The politically correct have decided congress is un necessary, They ask Muslim brotherhood instead.
    Tis is the Muzzie president at work I think!

  • Saltire

    Sounds like another step toward surrender of our sovereignty to decide our own course of action. This picture definitely, does not look right or good.

  • effemall

    If you want readers of this publication to read what you have to say, make use of the free translation services. Arrêter d'être un idiot.