More to the point, Panetta here speaks of "the international community" putting pressure on Iran. And today, in his congressional testimony Panetta asserted that the President already has the potential authority to use the military in Syria by the authority of potential UN resolutions, presumably under the erroneous argument that treaties, in this case the UN Charter, are "part of the Constitution" and are therefore obligatory in there function upon the actions of the US government. This is a false assertion. Treaties have never been judged to be "part of the Constitution" and therefore Constitutional Law. No, treaties are TREATY LAW, not Constitutional. Therefore, a UN resolution under the UN Charter does not negate the Constitutional obligation of Congress to approve of the force AND the funds to pay for it, that is clearly granted by the existing Constitution itself in Article I.
Treaties have been judged to supersede the authority of statute laws passed previously to the enactment of the treaty which interfere with the terms of the treaty. Treaties have never been judged to take away the power of Congress to enact statute law passed subsequently to the enactment of the treaty that is in pursuance of the Constitution.
The Constitution in Article VI states, "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land...." This clearly separates out the three types of law; Constitutional, Statutory, and Treaty. It does not state that a treaty is Constitutional law but clearly puts it in a separate category. Is one to argue then that treaty law is obligatory over the Constitution itself when the clause clearly does not give treaty law this authority? It states that Congress has the right to make all laws IN PURSUANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
Therefore it cannot sensibly be argued that a UN resolution, especially since it was not part of the original UN charter, removes the right of the Congress to pass and enforce laws that are in pursuance of the most fundamental powers that the Constitution grants it; that is the power to authorize force and the power to decide upon the funds for it. All of these powers are not simply Congressional powers. They are powers of the American People through their Representatives!! To say that a UN resolution can allow or worse FORCE!! a President to engage United States forces in war is a legal abomination and quite simply a denial of each American a representative voice in his or her government, thus violating a fundamental precept of Article I, the necessity of representation in Congress.
To say that a UN resolution obligates the US to use force or somehow "grants" the President the authority to use force is absurd on its face. Both choices are laughable and illegal. Under the former presumption our obligation to follow a UN resolution would require us to send US forces into war not only without the approval of Congress BUT ALSO even potentially without the approval of a President!! as the President is not allowed to violate the Constitution either. Under the latter presumption the President HAS THE OPTION to follow the treaty or not, clearly an absurdity. Thus we see the twin twisted arguments in their bald-faced lunacy:the first asserting the President is a Constitutional eunuch in the face of Treaty Law, the second asserting the President is a super-statutory potentate whose will can supersede the flaccid parchment of a mere treaty.
Beyond the legal arguments, to assert that a UN resolution, an organization set up to preserve peace, can oblige the American military to go to war is at best a dubious moral conundrum.
The Congress must regain its will to use the authority it Constitutionally possesses, not on behalf of a particular political party or even of itself; but on behalf of the People of the United States who are still the constitutional sovereign in this country. If not, if Congress continues to hide behind the curtain of the fiction that executive power is in all ways superior to it, then it deserves the unpopularity and increasing anonymity in which it wallows and whines.
Here is a portion of, in my opinion, nearly unbelievable testimony by Secretary Panetta to queries by Senator Sessions. To those of you on the Left, try to reverse the picture and have a liberal Democrat questioning a right-wing defense secretary backed by hawk-face generals. In other words, don't attack the man(Sessions) attack his argument if you like, but don't give me some line about "southern right-wingers" or whatever, that is not the issue here and I think you know it. Deal with the ISSUE not the personalities that you like or dislike.