The five hundred million dollars in aid the US pledged to Pakistan this week is not the only backing the United States is providing the country considered an ally against terrorist elements. According to a statement by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the White House has increased its military commitment to Pakistan without Congressional oversight or approval. The White House’s abuse of its authority, Kucinich says in his statement, “must stop.” On Thursday evening, he and fellow House member Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a privileged resolution to pull US forces from the country. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives the nod, the Kucinich-Paul resolution will jump the line of items before the House next week, right before Congress breaks for its August recess.
Although American military support in Pakistan is not new, nor unreported, Kucinich’s Friday statement bristles on two points – Kucinich claims that he and his peers learned about the troop upgrade via an article in The Wall Street Journal, and that the deployment is illegal according to the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The resolution Kucinich cites gives the Oval Office the right to send members of the military into “hostilities or imminent hostilities,” but it is a power that comes with requirements. Among them: that the president consults Congress about such deployments “in every possible instance.”
Kucinich also opposes the deployment on strategic grounds. “This increasing US military activity has little to do with protecting the United States and in fact is creating more enemies than it is defeating,” he says, noting that the uptick comes “at a time when there are, according to the CIA, very few al-Qaeda members in that country.”
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Kucinich’s objection to US troops in Pakistan is not without precedent, nor is his use of the privilege resolution. In December, he promised to introduce bills to remove forces from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kucinich introduced privilege resolutions to impeach then-President George W. Bush in 2008, and one in 2007 to impeach Vice President Cheney.