News Release

Key Author of War Powers Resolution: “Attack on Iraq Would Violate Constitution”

PAUL FINDLEY, findley1 at frontier.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Findley served as a member of United States House of Representatives for 22 years. He was a key author of the War Powers Resolution and a leader in securing its enactment by overriding the veto of President Richard Nixon. He is also the author of six books. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him. He said today: “Just as with threats to attack Syria last year, an attack on Iraq would violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. As with any president, he [President Obama] commits an impeachable offense if he does not follow the Constitution.” Last year Findley wrote the piece “Obama has no Authority to Attack Syria.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle, who has worked with Findley for years, is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “This could escalate in any number of ways — exactly what the War Powers Resolution was supposed to stop. It’s not legitimate for the president — or members of Congress — to make arrangements that violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Obama just stated that the 300 U.S. troops would be doing training, but CNN reports his spokesperson Jay Carney stated they would also ‘provide airfield management security and logistic support.’ Does this mean that they will become the required forward air controllers for the targeted and precise military action that Obama says he is preparing? If the U.S. is going to target ISIS, will it be limited to Iraq or will it eventually go into Syria?”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com
Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Cohn said today: “Under the War Powers Resolution, the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations ‘where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,’ only after (1) a Congressional declaration of war, (2) ‘specific statutory authorization,’ or (3) in ‘a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.’ This is the current situation: First, Congress has not declared war. Second, neither the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) (which Bush used to invade Iraq), nor the 2001 AUMF (which Bush used to invade Afghanistan), would provide a legal basis for an attack on Iraq at the present time. Third, there has been no attack on the United States or U.S. armed forces. Moreover, the UN Charter only allows a military attack on another country in the case of self-defense or when the UN Security Council authorizes it; neither is the case at the present time.”

Cohn recently wrote the piece “Obama on the Brink: War or Peace?” A former president of the National Lawyers Guild, Cohn’s books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her next book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues, will be published this fall.