Some 113,000 Americans and millions of others abroad have been killed in wars started illegally by U.S. presidents of both major parties since 1950.
Until President Truman began his three-year "police action" in Korea without the authorization of Congress, nobody in government had ever suggested that a president had the legal right to initiate war.
That false doctrine of his was adopted by later presidents, including Johnson and Nixon (Indochina), Reagan (Latin America and Middle East), Bush (Panama and Persian Gulf), and Clinton (Iraq, Yugoslavia, and six other countries).
No matter how many presidential wars have been waged, they remain unlawful. The Supreme Court has established that illegality does not become legal by its repetition.
Under the U.S. Constitution, as Alexander Hamilton wrote, "it is the peculiar and exclusive duty.of Congress, when the nation is at peace, to change that state into a state of war." The president's military role is "nothing more than . . . first General and Admiral" after Congress has authorized such action. The overwhelming evidence of history shows that this was the intention of the Constitution's framers.
They knew that monarchs were prone to start wars and resolved that in the United States no one man would have the tyrannical power to cause the death, destruction, and suffering of war. Before any military action abroad could begin, whether big or small, the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to vote to authorize it..
Many of the more than 100,000 Americans sacrificed in Korea and Vietnam were young men who had been drafted for those unlawful wars. Presidents forced them them to fight and die. Where were the people's spokesmen in Congress? Kowtowing to the president.
As though possessed of absolute power, the executive conducts acts of war, invasions, and bombings anywhere he wants -- and Congress and the courts fail to cry "Stop this dictatorship!" Life and death are in the hands of one man with nuclear weapons at his fingertips. In foreign affairs, Hitler had no greater power.
To promote a return to constitutional principles and an end to White House lawlessness, the War and Law League (WALL) was formed.in spring of 1998. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national civic organization.
We leave it to other organizations to consider whether the latest U.S. military action in some far-off land is good or bad. WALL considers whether it is legal or illegal, on the basis of the Constitution, statutes, treaties, and international law. An illegal action must be stopped -- or, better, prevented.
Nearly all of the scores of U.S. military actions in the last half century have been initiated solely by the president. To prevent such unconstitutional actions is to prevent most potential wars, to save countless lives.
FIFTY YEARS OF TYRANNY IS ENOUGH.
STOP PRESIDENTIAL WARS!
Prayer for Peace, April, 1999
A scene in Belgrade during the Clinton-NATO war
To activate the “Slide Show”, just left-click on the first photo.
Prayer for Peace Family House Freedom Bridge Civilians
(from the photo exhibit "Destruction of Yugoslavia," courtesy of suc.org
War and Law League, P.O. Box 42-7237, San Francisco, CA 94142