Biden: We should impeach presidents who launch attacks without Congressional approval

posted at 9:30 am on March 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Say, maybe this is why Barack Obama has decided to shave a couple of hours off of his South America tour by skipping the Mayan ruins in El Salvador. With Joe Biden insisting that he would personally take charge of impeaching a President that launched military action against another country without getting authorization from Congress, Obama may feel the need to race back to Washington to keep his own VP from ousting him from the Oval Office.

No worries, Mr. President; Biden said this while talking to Iowa Democrats in 2007, in the context of potential military action against Iran. You know, that country that wants to build nuclear weapons and holds conferences on creating a world without the US and Israel? When the target of the attack is a country that hasn’t presented a threat to the US for years, it’s apparently no big deal … especially if that President is a Democrat. Via Drudge:

Ladies and gentlemen, I drafted an outline of what I think the Constitutional limits [garbled] have on the President with the War Clause.  I went to five leading scholars, Constitutional scholars, and they drafted a treatise for me that is being distributed to every Senator.  And I want to make it clear, and I’ll make it clear to the President: that if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without Congressional approval, I will make it my business to impeach him.

I wonder if any copies of that treatise are floating around Capitol Hill at the moment?  Of course, Biden apparently didn’t ask those Constitutional scholars about the impeachment process itself, because if he had, Biden would have floated those copies to the House.  The House impeaches federal officials, not the Senate; the Senate can only convict impeached officials and remove them from office.  As we all learned during Bill Clinton’s adventures in Constitutional accountability, an impeachment is an indictment, not a removal.  Were all five Constitutional scholars Biden consulted named Barack Obama?

It’s not exactly a surprise that Biden doesn’t know his Constitution — he famously cited the wrong Article in his VP debate with Palin for executive authority — so take the whole impeachment threat with a Lot’s Wife-size grain of salt.  We can be absolutely certain that Sheriff Joe will definitely not be on this case.

Some other Democrats might be, though, which is why Obama has suddenly decided to head for home:

In the end, President Barack Obama apparently decided that photos of himself touring historic remnants of a collapsed society might not be the best image for a commander in chief fending off charges even from Democrats that his Libya policy is in shambles. …

Clearly aware of the growing disenchantment with the move from fellow Democrats, however, Obama quickly noted it “doesn’t mean we can solve every problem in the world.”

Those words are not likely to do much back in Washington to calm liberals who are furious at Obama, particularly his decision to move forward with a military engagement without a full debate in Congress.

Four House Democrats fired off a letter to Obama on Tuesday filled with tough words and phrases like “quagmire” and “rush to war” that read more like a missive they would have sent to former President George W. Bush than a Democratic president whose agenda they’ve supported from top to bottom.

He might want to get back to DC before some of them dust off Biden’s treatise.

Update: The second “South America” in the lead sentence was supposed to be “El Salvador,” which I’ve corrected.


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