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Keeping troops in Afghanistan violates U.S. law

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Never mind if sending troops overseas to fight undeclared and never-ending wars violates international law. The more immediate concern for President Obama is whether or not keeping troops in Afghanistan violates U.S. law, which would obviously be extremely embarrassing for a Harvard constitutional law professor. Although I support most of the positions which Barack Obama took during the presidential campaign, and he is still the much better choice over John McCain, the abuses of presidential power which were prevalent during the Bush administration need to be put to a halt -- and to do so, why not beat the government over the head with its own laws? Too bad I didn't find this earlier, because it was George W. Bush who initially violated U.S. law by keeping our troops in Afghanistan for greater than 60 days without formal congressional approval. But President Obama had an opportunity to correct that policy, so I don't feel too badly.

President Obama is violating Title 50 of the United States by keeping troops in Afghanistan, let alone sending more. According to 50 U.S.C. 1544(b), the president can send troops into hostilities for up to 60 days. After those initial 60 days, the Congress must either declare war or grant "specific authority" for the continued use of force. But according to 50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1), this "specific authority" must be in writing and be VERY specific - appropriations bills by themselves are not enough, unless there is other wording stating that the bill is designed to meet the requirements of specific authority. And after contacting a staffer at Senator Maria Cantwell's Seattle office, I very much doubt that such express congressional approval exists.

Here is the section of U.S. law which allows the president to send troops into hostilities for 60 days, after which congressional approval must be attained:

50 U.S.C. 1544(b) Termination of use of United States Armed Forces; exceptions; extension period
Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543(a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States.

And according to 50 U.S.C. section 1547(a)(1) with respect to "specific authorization" given by Congress to meet the requirement of the above law, 1547. Interpretation of joint resolution (a) Inferences from any law or treaty
Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred-- (1) from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before November 7, 1973), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and states that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this chapter;

Obviously, the Congress has not declared war. So President Obama requires specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, since we are well past the 60-day limit, and according to the second law such specific authorization must state "that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authority". Furthermore, appropriations acts to finance hostilities are not by themselves specific authorization, unless they also meet the requirements of 50 U.S.C. section 1547(a)(1).
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Can someone please show me this "specific statutory authority" which meets the requirements of 50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1)? I want a specific reference in either the U.S. code or other bill or resolution, down to the exact section and paragraph. If there is none, and it appears not since the "lawmakers" in Congress do not even know the existing law, then President Obama is violating U.S. law by keeping troops in Afghanistan.

If anyone knows anyone who is currently deployed to Afghanistan, or is expecting to be deployed to Afghanistan, I would suggest filing for an injunction in federal district court to change the deployment orders, at least until Congress grants specific authority.

OUR TROOPS ARE BEING DEPLOYED TO A NO-WIN SITUATION, THEY ARE SEVERELY UNDERPAID, THEY ARE LAID OFF FROM THEIR NORMAL JOBS IF THEY ARE IN THE RESERVE OR NATIONAL GUARD, THERE IS NO GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT UNLESS THEY REMAIN IN THE MILITARY, AND THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT CANNOT PROVIDE A PROPER EXAMPLE BY ADHERING TO U.S. LAW.
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syntagmaguide.blogspot.com

Former U.S. Navy submarine officer with a BS Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston and MBA from Duke University. Currently living near Seattle, WA.

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Keeping troops in Afghanistan violates U.S. law

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That's what I want to know. I write letters until ... by John Lorenz on Friday, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:08:46 AM
This is an extraordinarily important piece of info... by Bryna Hellmann on Friday, Dec 4, 2009 at 12:02:32 PM
Realistically, we can't get Congress to stop fundi... by David Weirich on Friday, Dec 4, 2009 at 2:30:27 PM