In fact, the two are in such agreement that the war must end that they are planning to cosponsor an amendment prohibiting all funding of the effort. Kucinich announced his intention to introduce the amendment on Tuesday, saying it “would be offered to the next funding measure Congress considers,” which will probably be the next Continuing Resolution to keep the government up and running.
In his announcement Kucinich offered cost estimates of the war and drew comparisons to the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq:
According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the initial costs of a no-fly zone could cost the U.S. between $400 and $800 million, or $30 to $100 million per week. We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires. Now, the President is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford. While the Administration assures us that that the U.S. will hand-off its lead role to coalition partners within days, we have not been notified of long-term plans or goals following initial air strikes in the country. The timeline the President gave to Congress was summarized with one word: “limited.”
There is little doubt that Paul, who in a recent video said “the American people should be yelling and screaming about what the President is doing” and that Congress has been derelict in its duty to uphold the Constitution in matters of war, would support impeachment proceedings against Obama. Kucinich has been more evasive in that regard, telling Politico that “it doesn’t necessarily apply that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him” — which, as The New American’s Raven Clabough pointed out, may have more to do with Obama’s party affiliation than anything else.
Paul and Kucinich are not alone among government officials in recognizing that Obama’s war is unconstitutional, as this writer explained in TNA recently. Back when they were mere Senators, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all expressed similar sentiments regarding the President’s authority (or lack thereof) to send troops into battle without congressional approval.
Moreover, were Paul, Kucinich, or any other House members to undertake the task of impeaching the President, they could call Biden as their expert witness. In 2007, when the Bush administration was rattling sabers toward Iran, then-Sen. Biden stated emphatically: “I want to make it clear. And I made it clear to the President that if he takes this nation to war in Iran without congressional approval, I will make it my business to impeach him.”
Given a chance to retract or revise his statement by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Biden responded, “I want to stand by that comment I made.” Reminding viewers that he had been chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years and that he taught “separation of powers and constitutional law,” Biden affirmed: “The President has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war … unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does — if he does, I would move to impeach him.”
The Obama administration has given Congress the rope with which to hang the President. Defunding the war, as Kucinich and Paul would do, is an excellent first step. Then, in the interest of defending both the Constitution, which all its members are sworn to uphold, and its own prerogatives, Congress should finish the job by impeaching and removing Obama.