U.S. House members should pledge to impeach the incoming President Trump if he starts any new wars in office without first complying with the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of a congressional declaration of war, according a non-partisan civic group that announced its plan last week.
Committee for the Republic leaders identified Virginia, Ohio and Iowa as the first three states where organizers plan to rally public opinion behind a pledge by their representatives to impeach if the Executive Branch launches new “wars,” which would be narrowly defined to include covert advisors and major arms supply creating new conflicts defined as war.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles “Chas” Freeman, Jr. announced the grassroots campaign on Jan. 5 at the Metropolitan Club, located about a block from the White House. “Thirteen years ago George W. Bush invaded Iraq without a congressional declaration of war,” he said.
“Our nation is now mired in nine ongoing presidential wars,” continued Freeman, chairman and a co-founder of the committee in 2003. “They have cost nearly ten trillion dollars; starved our infrastructure; crippled our liberties; and multiplied and united our enemies.
“They have also enabled the growth of apparently limitless presidential power to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any American the President decrees is an imminent national security danger based on secret, unsubstantiated evidence,” said Freeman (shown in a file photo).
Speakers at the campaign launch stressed that their initiative was not an attempt to thwart Trump but was intended instead to stop a long term erosion of Constitutional checks and balances on Executive Branch power.
Freeman, whose three decades of defense and diplomacy posts included high-level positions under both Republicans and Democrats, was the first of committee board members voicing strong support. Most provided compelling personal biographical reasons about why they had reached such a momentous decision as to push for a pledge.
Other speakers included constitutional law expert, attorney and former Reagan administration FCC counsel Bruce Fein; Washington, D.C., Tea Party Founder Tom Whitmore; lawyer and former Reagan Administration Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Manpower Delbert Spurlock; and investment adviser John Henry.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) also spoke passionately about a need for constituents to hold House members accountable and to help impose limits on Executive Power, including to declare war. But Massie said he would have to study the impeachment pledge for agreeing to it. Massie said U.S. House members should pledge to impeach the incoming President Trump if he starts any new wars without following the U.S. Constitution’s requirement to seek a congressional declaration of war.
Since 2003, the Committee for the Republic has held 130 conferences (termed “salons”) according to the group, whose board of directors is shown below.
“The time for talk alone has expired,” its announcement said. “Unconstitutional wars continue to feed dysfunction in government and to corrode liberty in the United States. They turn children into orphans, wives into widows, husbands into widowers, and families into refugees, while provoking terrorist blowback.
The Committee’s Board of Directors believes that patriotism demands making the Constitution in general and the warfare state in particular the battleground of national politics. It proposes to devote the Committee’s January 5 salon to elaborating a proposal to do this and to encourage past and future participants in Committee activities to attend this salon and to contribute as best you can to realizing the resulting proposal.
It is past time to restore a decent respect for the Constitution and the opinions of humankind to the conduct of US foreign relations.