Dear Speaker Pelosi:
As attorneys, leaders of grassroots organizations and individuals concerned with checks and balances under our Constitution, we express our concern with the constitutional status of the recent U.S.-Iraq agreement that seeks to control the use of American forces for the next three years.
On November 17, 2008, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and United States Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker signed the agreement, which was then approved by the Iraqi parliament in the following month.
In contrast, President Bush did not submit the agreement to the United States Congress for its approval. The Administration asserted that the agreement was merely a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and that the president could commit the country on his unilateral authority.
This claim is untenable. Under applicable precedents, the agreement requires the approval of Congress. It goes far beyond the traditional limits of a SOFA. It commits the United States to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and to maintain a military presence in Iraq. All of these actions exceed the president’s constitutional powers and go far beyond the claims made by any previous president. Unless Congress acts, the new agreement threatens to establish a precedent that may allow future presidents to claim broad and unilateral authority to continue wars without obtaining the consent of Congress.
We urge you to make this a high priority for the 111th Congress. Working with the Obama Administration, the House and Senate should reject the Bush-Maliki agreement as unconstitutional, and legislate the withdrawal from Iraq.
Elaine Brower, Member of Military Families Speak Out, and New York State coordinator of “Bring The Guard Home” Campaign
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Ronnie Cummins, Director, Organic Consumers Association
Bob Fertik, President Democrats.com
Bill Fletcher, Jr., Executive Editor, BlackCommentator.com
Mike Hersh, Executive Director Montgomery County (MD) Progressive Alliance Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ben Manski, Esq., Executive Director, Liberty Tree Milwaukee Impeachment Committee Citizens for Global Solutions – Milwaukee Chapter The Network of Spiritual Progressives
William Crain, Peace and Justice Forums, Billings, Montana Progressive Democrats of America
Tina Richards, CEO Grassroots America Benson Scotch, legal counsel to “Bring the Guard Home” Campaign
David Swanson, Co-founder AfterDowningStreet.org Virginia Anti-War Network
Sean Slattery Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Portland, OR Wisconsin Impeachment / Bring Our Troops Home Coalition
Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace