'Put Obama on Notice:' Unconstitutional War Will Lead to Impeachment
March 14, 2012 • 8:17AM

In a statement posted Monday, Walter Jones states that the motivation for his bill "Putting Obama on Notice," was an exchange between Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, at a March 7 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense (NDAA) budget for 2013. "The issue of presidents taking this country to war without congressional approval is one that I have long been concerned about," said Jones. "Just last week, President Obama's Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told the United States Senate that he only needed to seek 'international' approval prior to initiating yet another war, this time in Syria. Congress would merely need to be 'informed.' This action would clearly be a violation of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. I recently took President Obama to court over this issue, as I did earlier with President Clinton. Enough is enough. It is time this country upholds the Constitution and the principles upon which this country was founded."

During the "Q&A" at the hearing in question, ranking member Sessions stated that he thought Panetta had "circumvented" Congress in joining NATO in operations in Libya, and asked his plans on Syria. As reported by CNN, the exchange went as follows:

Sessions: We spend our time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO, and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?

Panetta: You know, our goal would be to seek INTERNATIONAL PERMISSION. And we would come to the Congress and INFORM YOU and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress.

Sessions: "Well, I'm troubled by that. I think it does weaken the ability of the United States to lead. I do think ultimately you need the legal authority from the United States of America , not from any other extra-territorial group that might assemble." [emphasis added]

Even as Sessions gave Panetta a chance to explain, Panetta continued to use the word PERMISSION, to the point of forcing Committee chair Carl Levin (D-MI) to state, "I don't think the word permission is appropriate even in that context." Sessions later told an interviewer that Panetta's comments were "very revealing of the mindset of the administration."