Caution seemed to prevail after the Defense Secretary registered his opinion. But the UN Security Council then issued Resolution 1973 on March 17 calling on “Member States” to impose the “no fly zone” over Libya and to employ “all necessary measures” to have it succeed. Air strikes by the United States and European nations, and missiles from American ships, immediately targeted both Libyan military structures and Gadhafi’s forces heading eastward to beat back the remaining rebel enclaves.
The Obama administration won’t call this a war, and neither will Secretary Gates, but that’s what it is. Once again, the U.S. has sent forces into war without the Constitution’s required congressional declaration. How our nation got to this point is instructive if we’re ever going to reverse course and cease being the policeman of the world.
In July 1945, U.S. Senate approval of the UN Charter placed our nation into the world body. Impelled by the need to “try something else” in the wake of two costly world wars in less than 30 years, 89 Senators voted in favor, only two said No. There is much in the Charter that should have alarmed the Senators, but consider only the very brief Article 25 which states: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” Our nation was now committed to doing the UN’s bidding (unless our veto was employed, which is rare). The Constitution had been trumped. That any U.S. Senator who had sworn an oath to abide by the U.S. Constitution could approve the Charter’s Article 25 boggles the mind. But that’s what 89 Senators did.
Then, in 1949, the United States approved creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The pact derives legitimacy from Articles 51-54 of the UN Charter. Secretary of State Dean Acheson stated openly that approval of NATO was “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.” Only 13 Senators voted against putting the U.S. in NATO.
After North Korea’s communist forces invaded South Korea in June 1950, the UN Security Council called on member nations to rush to the aid of pro-Western South Korean. Most didn’t, but President Truman did the UN’s bidding by sending America into what he labeled a “police action,” not a war. Asked where he derived authority to use U.S. forces in that conflict without a declaration of war, Truman replied that, because he could send troops to NATO, he could send troops to Korea. NATO had served one of its purposes! Our forces fought in Korea under UN command with UN flags flying. During the struggle, U.S. General James Van Fleet stated that “there must have been information to the enemy from high diplomatic authorities” that impeded the effort. Not alone in registering such a protest, Van Fleet didn’t name who was supplying that information but it was clear he was pointing to the UN. With the UN still in charge more than 50 years later, the state of war in Korea has never been terminated.
The UN soon created another UN “Regional Arrangement,” the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). President Lyndon Johnson said it supplied authorization for the Vietnam War, the first war our nation ever lost. SEATO did its job and was soon abolished.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush bypassed Congress and went to the UN for authority to invade Iraq. In 1992, he sought and obtained a Security Council resolution to send U.S. forces into Somalia. In 1993, President Clinton received UN authorization to send troops into Haiti. In 1994, America’s forces responded to a UN resolution and attacked Bosnia. Only days after the horror of 9/11, President George W. Bush said that the actions then being taken against Afghanistan “have been defined by the United Nations.” The second invasion of Iraq in 2003 was authorized by Security Council resolutions 678 and 687. And current reports from NATO headquarters in Brussels openly state that whatever our forces undertake in Afghanistan must be approved by NATO.
Space prevents further discussion of the intolerable situation into which our nation and its military arm have been placed. But we do have sufficient room to recommend as strongly as we can that the U.S. withdraw from the United Nations, NATO, and any other international entanglements.