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Obama Has No Legal Authority For Afghan War

By       Message Sherwood Ross       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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July 3, 2009(Special)---President Obama has no legal authority either from the United Nations or the U.S. Congress under the War Powers Resolution(WPR) to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a distinguished professor of international law says.

"President Obama's surge of 21,000 troops now engaged in combat in Afghanistan comes on top of the 60,000 we already had there," says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign.

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"The Obama Administration simply ignored Section 4(a)(3) of the WPR when it announced the escalation," Boyle noted. "U.S. armed forces are in Afghanistan originally pursuant to WPR. Its requirement that the President get Congressional consent on substantial enlargement (of forces) was put there to deal with the kind of gradual escalation we saw in Viet Nam that eventually led to 550,000 troops being there," Boyle said.

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"Clearly," Boyle added, "President (George W.) Bush never had authority from Security Council in the first place to invade Afghanistan, and the WPR requires that any enlargement of U.S. troops in a foreign nation be authorized by Congress." Boyle made his comments in a telephone interview with columnist Sherwood Ross of Miami, Fla.

President Obama "has now escalated the conflict into Pakistan and has set off a humanitarian catastrophe for 2-million of its people similar to what President Nixon set off in Cambodia," Boyle said. "What Obama is doing is destabilizing Pakistan and setting off a civil war there. It's a very dangerous, illegal, unconstitutional policy," Boyle said.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the first place because the Taliban government refused to allow UNOCAL oil to build the TAPI pipeline across its territory, Boyle said. He noted the route U.S. troops are taking in Afghanistan is that of the proposed pipeline. "I think this (escalation) is about getting the oil and gas out of Central Asia by avoiding Russia and without dealing with Iran," Boyle added.

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The easiest way to do that, he said, is to construct pipelines south through Afghanistan, into Pakistan and then out to the Arabian Sea. The oil and natural gas resources of Central Asia, Boyle noted, are reported to be the second largest in the world after the Persian Gulf.

In his new book, "Tackling America's Toughest Questions,"(Clarity) Boyle wrote, "What is going on now in Afghanistan is not self-defense. Let's be honest. We all know it. At best this is reprisal, retaliation, vengeance, catharsis. Call it what you want, but it is not self-defense. And retaliation is never self-defense."

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
 

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