For any individual who has thumbed through an edition of the American Constitution, there is an often-forgotten section which describes the authority necessary to commit and deploy the Armed Forces:
ARTICLE ONE, SECTION 8
The Congress shall have Power:
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
This is a rule, however, that has been forsaken time and time again, whether the focus is Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Bosnia, Grenada, or any other U.S. military operation which has been launched since the Second World War.
This transcends party and generation.
In usual circumstances, the executive branch has attempted to ‘claim’ extra authority granted as a measure of “protecting the nation,” allowing them to circumvent the normal procedure for engaging in military conflicts.
But when questioned on the matter in a Congressional hearing, members of the Obama administration bluntly stated that “international permission” trumps any declaration of the elected Congress, relegating the American founding document to nothing more than a document to consult when convenient.
Perhaps that is why Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., was so taken aback: