This is astounding! Leon Panetta believes the President has the right to declare war without approval by the Congress. Who would the administration ask permission from? Not the Congress...NATO and the U.N. There is absolutely NOauthority for NATO and the U.N. in the Constitution of the United States. The power to declare war is given to Congress under Article 1 Section 8:
The congress shall have Power...To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies...To provide and maintain a Navy.There is not one word in the Constitution under the definition of the Executive power of the President that allows him to wage war without the authorization of Congress. And the same liberals who condemned George Bush for invading Iraq (another illegal undeclared war as was Vietnam and most of our modern conflicts) are now claiming that the President can "defend the U.S." with military force whenever he wants to while looking to international bodies rather than the Congress for "support." Panetta is a master of newspeak when he talks about how the administration will act to defend the U.S. How was the attack on Libya in any way a defense of the U.S.? Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted that Libya was no threat to U.S. interests.
When he was running for President Obama stated, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Now, however, according to Panetta, he can do whatever he pleases and will seek justification from international sources outside the U.S.
Well, one congressman isn't taking this lying down. Congressman Walter Jones has introduced a bill (H.Con.Res. 107 "Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President...") that states that if the president takes offensive military action without the express authority of the Congress, that act would be "an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor." Let us hope many congressmen join this bill which may just be a stumbling block to the next unconstitutional military action against a country that represents no immediate threat to us.