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1999 Ron Paul Chapter 18

Kosovo War Resolution

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11 March 1999


1999 Ron Paul 18:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1999 Ron Paul 18:2
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Fowler amendment and in opposition to H. Con. Res. 42.

1999 Ron Paul 18:3
Today we are going to have a vote on whether or not troops should be authorized to go to Kosovo. If we vote in favor of this, we are voting for war. This is not a war resolution in the conventional sense of the Constitution, but in this day and age it is about as close as we are going to come to since we have ignored the Constitution with regards to war powers essentially since World War II. If we vote for troops to go to Kosovo, we are complicit in a potential war and the responsibility should be on the shoulders of those who vote to send the troops.

1999 Ron Paul 18:4
I strongly urge that we not send the troops. It is not our fight. We are not the policemen of the world. It weakens our national defense. There are numerous reasons why we do not need to send more troops into another country someplace around the world. Every time we do this it just leads to the next problem.

1999 Ron Paul 18:5
It is said that we should not have much to say about foreign policy because the Constitution has given responsibility to the President. The term “foreign policy” does not even exist in the Constitution. The President has been given the authority to be the Commander-in-Chief; to lead the troops after we direct him as to what he should do. He is the commander. We do not have a military commander, we have a civilian commander. But we do not forego our right to debate and be concerned about what is happening on issues of troop deployment and war.

1999 Ron Paul 18:6
A report put out by those who sponsor this resolution had this to say. “This measure does not address the underlying question of the merits or misgivings of sending U.S. forces into Kosovo.” We are not even supposed to debate the merits and misgivings of sending troops. Why not? “Instead, the purpose of this resolution” they go on to say, “is to give the House an opportunity to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of authorizing the deployment of U.S. troops into potentially hostile situations.” In other words, we are to do nothing more than rubber stamp what the President has asked for.

1999 Ron Paul 18:7
Where does the President claim he gets his authority? Does he come to us? Has he asked us for this? No, he assumes he has the authority. He has already threatened that what we do here will have no effect on his decision. He is going to do what he thinks he should do anyway. He does not come and ask for permission. Where does he get this authority? Sometimes the Presidents, since World War II, have assumed it comes from the United Nations. That means that Congress has reneged on its responsibility.

1999 Ron Paul 18:8
We do not just give it to the President, we give it to the President plus the United Nations or NATO. And when we joined NATO and the United Nations, it was explicitly said it was not to be inferred that this takes away the sovereignty and the decision-making powers of the individual countries and their legislative bodies. And yet we have now, for quite a few decades, allowed this power to gravitate into the hands of the President.

1999 Ron Paul 18:9
After Vietnam there was a great deal of concern about this power to wage war. First, we had Korea. We did not win that war. Next we had Vietnam. And with very sincere intent, the Congress in 1973 passed the War Powers Resolution. The tragedy of the War Powers Resolution, no matter how well motivated, is that it did exactly the opposite of what was intended.

1999 Ron Paul 18:10
What has actually happened is it has been interpreted by all our Presidents since then that they have the authority to wage war for 6090 days before we can say anything. That is wrong. We have turned it upside down. So it is up to us to do something about getting the prerogative of waging war back into the hands of the Congress.

1999 Ron Paul 18:11
It is said that we do not have this authority; that we should give it to the President; that he has it under the Constitution based on his authority to formulate foreign policy. It is not there. The Congress has the responsibility to declare war, write letters of marks and reprisals, call up the militia, raise and train army and regulate foreign commerce. The President shares with the Senate treaty power as well as appointment of ambassadors. The President cannot even do that alone.

1999 Ron Paul 18:12
We have the ultimate power, and that is the power of the purse. If the power of the purse is given up, then we lose everything. Because we have not assumed our responsibilities up until this point, it is up to us to declare that the President cannot spend money in this manner. I have legislation that would take care of this; that the President cannot place troops in Kosovo unless he gets explicit authority from us to do so. If he does it, the monies should be denied to the President, unless we want to be complicit in this dangerous military adventurism.
Notes:

1999 Ron Paul 18:11 letters of marks and reprisals probably should be letters of marque and reprisal.

1999 Ron Paul 18:11 raise and train army probably should be plural: raise and train armies.

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