As the United States edges closer to war with Syria, one thing is clear --- President Barack Obama should be impeached.
Like his predecessor, George Bush, Obama has no regard for international law or the United Nations. He also puts very little value in the views of the American people or their elected representatives in Congress.
The oath that every new president takes upon entering office states that he will "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
In planning an attack on Syria, carrying out the intervention in Libya two years ago, and bombing Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with drone strikes, Obama has violated the norms of international law, which put strict limitations on when it is permissible to attack another nation. These rules are spelled out in treaties and convenants, all or which have been signed onto by the United States and incorporated into our law.
At home, Obama pushed for the passage of a repressive law contained in Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the military to arbitrarily arrest and indefinitely detain anyone in the United States that it deems to be a terrorist or an associate of a terrorist.
The NDAA seriously undermines rights guaranteed in the First and Sixth Amendments and in the habeas corpus provision of the Constitution. Critics believe the wording of the statute may open the door to the disappearing of activists and dissidents.
Obama's administration has waged a relentless campaign to stifle the free flow of information about government activity, by prosecuting whistleblowers and hounding reporters. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who released classified information to expose U.S. war crimes, was brought up on charges, tried, and sent to jail for 35 years. Computer specialist Edward Snowden, who also released secret documents to reveal a massive and secret system of phone wiretapping and Internet monitoring on millions of Americans by the National Security Agency, is being sought for arrest and is now living in exile.
Reporters from the Associated Press have had their phones tapped. James Risen, a New York Times investigative reporter and author, has been ordered to testify in a case involving a CIA analyst who gave him classified information about the agency's role in disrupting Iran's nuclear program.
The government's actions in these cases undermine the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
Snowden's revelations further show how the U.S. has become a surveillance state under the Obama administration, which has made almost a dead letter the Fourth Amendment's guarantee of the right to privacy and protection against warrantless searches.
In the case of Syria, the administration is planning to launch a military attack, while disregarding the two requirements that must be met before a country can wage war. The conditions are these: A nation must be acting in self-defense after it has been attacked, or it must get authorization for military action from the Security Council of the United Nations.
If the attack on Syria takes place, America will be totally flaunting international law as outlined in the UN Charter and the Nuremberg Principles, passed after World War II.
The same kind of violations of law took place two years ago with Libya. The U.S. took part in an air invasion of that country, with a relentless bombing campaign that killed thousands of both military personnel and civilians. The Obama administration dubbed this campaign a "humanitarian intervention" aimed at removing the admittedly despotic Libyan leader, Mohamar Gaddafi. But Libya, a sovereign nation, had not attacked the United States. Further, the administration had no war authorization from Congress, as required by the Constitution, and no full approval from the UN to take part in this attack.
With Syria, Obama is now seeking congressional approval for a bombing campaign aimed at punishing the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons. The administration claims that government forces killed over 1400 civilians in an August attack on rebels fighting in a civil war.
But neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry, who is testifying at congressional hearings, has pledged that the U.S. will drop plans for military action if Congress fails to pass a war resolution.
And again, Obama is making no moves to get UN approval for an intervention.
Prof. Francis Boyle, who teaches at the University of Illinois College of Law, believes the U.S. has broken the rules of international law on numerous occasions under Obama. He believes it is imperative that the president be impeached immediately.
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Reginald Johnson is a free-lance writer based in Bridgeport, Ct. His work has appeared in The New York Times, BBC-Online, the Connecticut Post, his web magazine, The Pequonnock, and Reading Between the Lines, a web magazine affiliated with the (more...