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Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law

On Friday, April 20, 2018, Senator Tim Kaine told an audience at the U of Virginia that missiles into Syria were illegal because not authorized by Congress, leaving everyone to imagine Congress could have made such a thing legal. Kaine gave a long speech on the legality of war without ever mentioning that it is illegal. So I asked him, and he admitted as much. He offered no way in which Congress could have made the missiles legal. He claimed wars are legal if a puppet “invites” you, a claim not supported by written law and not relevant to attacking Syria.

The fact is that the same line of text that gives Congress the war powers in the U.S. Constitution also gives it the power to hire pirates — except that everybody admits you’re not supposed to do that. War also was banned, first and in its entirety by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, second and with limited exceptions not met by any recent wars by the UN Charter, as I pointed out to Senator Kaine.

Kaine is to be applauded for opposing Pompeo and for opposing war on Yemen. I hope he will actively pursue THOSE causes.

But promoting the idea that Congress has the power to legalize a crime, the greatest crime in the judgment of Nuremberg, is shameful.

In his remarks at the Miller-Center-sponsored event in the Rotunda on Friday, Kaine antidemocratically opposed war votes prior to elections, because popular opinion might have some influence.

He described non-state targets of U.S. wars as not following the Geneva Conventions, as if that were a variation from what some other party does.

He said he wanted cyber attacks, including the attack on U.S. elections of which he accuses Russia, treated as war.

He said that the United States today is closer than it’s been in 30 years or more to a war against a nation — as if Syria were not — as he admitted within 5 minutes — a nation, and as if Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Yemen did not at least used to be nations.

He said that he and John McCain had lifted their bill to unconstitutionally strip away the powers of the War Powers Act word-for-word from the work of the Miller Center. His new AUMF with Senator Corker is also by two people with ties to the Miller Center.

He said all of this matters because of the “troops,” with never a mention of the vast majority of the victims of U.S. wars, who are the people who live where they are fought.

He claimed that Rep. Barbara Lee agrees with him, which was at least a stretch.

And he said of Trump’s recent attack on Damascus — and these are his exact words — “It’s illegal because he didn’t come to Congress.” Forgive my American, but that is pure bull. Congress has no power to make such a thing legal. Senator Kaine needs to stop telling people it does.

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David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.

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