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US presidents ‘never held accountable for crimes of war’: Analyst

(From left) former US presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump (Photos by Getty Images)

US presidents and other American officials are “never held accountable for crimes of war and against humanity,” according to an American writer and political analyst. 

Stephen Lendman made the remarks on Tuesday while commenting to Press TV after a bipartisan group of American lawmakers unveiled legislation to increase the US Congress’s control of war authorizations, arms exports and national emergencies.

Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced the National Security Powers Act, a bill, if passed, would add requirements for presidential authorization of military action, require the US president to end hostilities if they are not approved by Congress within 20 days and cut off funding if the president does not receive authorization. Congress could also have to approve certain weapons sales to foreign entities.

Lendman said, “The US Constitution's Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, the so-called War Powers Clause, vests in Congress sole power to declare war, stating:

“’The Congress shall have power…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water…To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years…’”

The analyst said the US Constitution “affords the president no power to wage war without congressional approval.”

“Since establishment of the UN Charter, warmaking by one nation on others is unlawful without UN Security Council authorization, permitted only in self-defense, never preemptively,” he stated. 

“Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, international laws to which the US is a signatory are automatically constitutional law,” he added. 

“No presidential directive in any form or congressional legislation may legally circumvent international law,” the expert explained. 

“The UN Security Council has exclusive authority on issues of war and peace,” he observed. 

“Since WW II ended, US presidents ordered attacks on other countries time and again without congressional or Security Council authorization – unaccountably,” he pointed out. 

“In waging his own wars of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, George W. Bush notoriously said the Constitution is ‘just a goddamned piece of paper,’” he stated. 

Lendman said that “US presidents and other US officials are never held accountable for crimes of war and against humanity.”

“On all things related to war and peace, US presidents do what they please extrajudicially with impunity,” he concluded. 

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