Dennis Kucinich is at it again. He is running around calling for President Obama's impeachment because of the air strikes the United Stats is leading in Libya to enforce a resolution of the United Nations Security Council. Why? Because Dennis thinks that because there wasn't an explicit Congressional authorization of this action, the President is acting outside of his Constitutional authority and thus committing an impeachable offense.
I can't believe I have to do this, but let me introduce this part of the Constitution to Mr. Kucinich (from Article VI):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;In other words, international treaties, once ratified by the Senate, are considered the Supreme law of the United States. Do we have such an international treaty here? Oh look, what is this thing called the UN Charter, ratified by the United States Senate on July 28, 1945? Article 23 of the UN Charter establishes the Security Council. Using force in accordance with a Security Council resolution therefore is not only legal but may well be required under our international treaty obligations.
The specific resolution regarding Lybia, Security Council Resolution 1973, imposes a no-fly zone in Lybia, and authorized member states to act:
Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;So let's see what Obama has done. The President has given the United States a leading role in the air campaign to enforce the No-Fly zone imposed by the Security Council and push Gadhafi's air forces - ones that were attacking the resistance for Gadhafi's ouster and democratic reforms in their own country. Also in accordance with the resolution's demand that there be no foreign occupation force in Libya, the President has made it crystal clear that the United States will absolutely not send ground forces. The offensive is, as a matter of fact, working in pushing Gadhafi back and in letting democratic forces in their own country decide Libya's future.
In addition to the use of force being duly authorized under our international treaty obligations (the United Nations), it is also authorized under the War Powers Act. It authorizes the President to use force in an emergency (if what Gadhafi's forces have done to peaceful protesters in Libya is not considered an emergency, someone please tell me what is), and requires him to notify Congress within 48 hours. Though ignored by most recent Presidents, it was followed by President Obama. The bombing commenced on March 19, and Congress received the President's notice on March 21.
So, yeah, I'm still looking for that ever illusory impeachable offense that Mr. Kucinich sees the President committing. I certainly don't see the high crimes and misdemeanors that are required by the Constitution for an impeachment to commence. I'm sorry, Dennis, but you cannot impeach a President simply because you are anti-war and he happens to commit military action. Not only does Kucinich's impeachment-pony have no chance of actually coming to a vote in Congress, it has no basis in law. It is one thing to believe that military action always bad (which we can have a debate over), and it's entirely another to demand the President's impeachment based on that belief.
Kucinich says he wants a debate on Constitutional limitations on executive power. That's great. We should have that debate. But the way to have that debate is not to call for impeachment based on use of military force that is completely legal, Constitutional and authorized under our international treaty obligations. Kucinich is essentially using his political and policy differences with the President as a basis for his call for impeachment. That is deplorable, opportunistic and shameful, and it doesn't do any favors to that very needed national debate he himself says he wants.
I don't know if this is a way for Kucinich to regain the favor that he lost with the ideological anti-progress Left with his votes for health reform and the President's tax deal last year. I don't know if this is his way to signal that he would like to challenge the President for the Democratic nomination next year, as many on the firebagger faux-gressive Left would like to see. I don't know what possessed him to do this. What I do know is that he's going around being a loudmouth on the media trying to make himself relevant. What I do know is that his impeachment pony is fodder for the national media to go prancing around on more of "OMG did you hear what Kucinich said!!!" type idiocy rather than reporting real news. What I do know is that what he has just done damages rather than helps the national debate.
Mr. Kucinich, you are a member of the United States Congress. Please stop acting like tea party nuts. And please, for the empteeth time, stop damaging the credibility of peace activists. If you really want to see a world in which dialog and not violence is the means of solving disputes, then please concentrate on formulating policies and commencing a real debate, rather than becoming a laughing stock with your impeachment pony, because that not only makes you a laughing stock, but because you are seen in the media as one of the more prominent representatives of the peace movement, you make the real debate on war and peace a lot harder to have. Please, please, please stop.
Update: As several of you have mentioned in the comments, Kucinich is indeed trying to raise money off of his desperate attempt at political relevancy.