This letter is from 38 Members of Congress to President Clinton, which he ignored after he tried and failed to obtain a declaration of war.
In February of 1999, as the rhetoric of possible United States use of force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began to reach a crescendo, Congressman Tom Campbell and thirty-eight other members of Congress sent the following letter to President Clinton:
February 19, 1999
Honorable William Jefferson Clinton President of the United States The White House Washington, D.C.
Dear Mr. President:
We have serious constitutional concerns about recent reports that you are planning military intervention in the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia, and again respectfully remind you that the Constitution requires you to obtain authority from Congress before taking military action against Yugoslavia.
As we stated in our letters of August 4, and October 2, 1998, military intervention by U.S. forces into the war-torn region of Kosovo in order to stop attacks by Serbian forces against civilians and halt the fighting with the Kosovo Liberation Army in an area the United States recognizes as sovereign Yugoslav territory cannot be construed as "defensive" action within your inherent authority as Commander-in-Chief. Rather it would involve military actions against territory and air space which has not been the source of an attack on the United States. This action falls within the exclusive powers and responsibilities of Congress under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution--the war powers clause. No provision of the United Nations Charter or the North Atlantic Treaty can override the requirement of United States domestic law as set forth in the Constitution. In fact, Congress conditioned U.S. participation in both the U.N. and NATO on the requirement that Congress retain its constitutional prerogatives.
The Constitution compels you to obtain authority from Congress before taking military action against Yugoslavia. In earlier correspondence, dated January 15, 1999, your National Security Advisor cited previous uses of force in Bosnia and Somalia as examples of authority to conduct offensive military operations in this case. The examples are inapposite as none involve sending military forces into a foreign country's territory contrary to the will of the recognized government of that foreign country. Furthermore, past violations of constitutional duty form no justification for additional violations. Nor does consulting with a few Members of Congress satisfy the constitutional obligation to obtain the approval of Congress.(1)