News Release

War Powers

UPI is reporting: “If Congressional Democrats want to block any proposed escalation in U.S. troop levels in Iraq, as new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hinted at the weekend, they have the constitutional authority and the legal power to do so, according to some scholars.”

The following legal analysts are available for media interviews:

JOHN QUIGLEY
Professor of law at Ohio State University, Quigley is author of numerous books including The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II. He said today: “In the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2002), Congress contemplated military force only to protect the United States against Iraq, and the weaponry it supposedly had. If President Bush wants to send more troops, he is subject to the War Powers Resolution, which allows him to commit troops for only 60 days without an authorizing resolution from Congress. Even apart from that 60-day grace period, the War Powers Resolution lets Congress at any time by resolution direct the President to bring troops out of a conflict. So if Congress wants to mandate a draw-down of troops, it has the power to do so.”
More Information

FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle said today: “Concerning the proposed ‘surge’ by the Bush administration of 20,000-plus U.S. troops into Iraq, this requires further authorization by the U.S. Congress under the terms of the War Powers Resolution. Section 4(a)(3) makes it quite clear that the War Powers Resolution is triggered … ‘In the absence of a declaration of war [which we do not have for Iraq], in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced … (3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation….’

“We currently have about 140,000 troops in Iraq. Sending in an additional 20,000-plus would ‘substantially enlarge’ those forces. Therefore, the Bush administration would require further authorization from Congress for this euphemistic ‘surge,’ which is really a substantial escalation. Failure to obtain additional authorization from Congress for this substantial enlargement of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq would constitute an impeachable offense under the terms of the United States Constitution for violating the Constitution’s War Powers Clause and Congress’s own War Powers Resolution.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167