The hearing was underway before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. The room was filled with men and women in uniform. At the table facing the Senators sat General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Senator Jeff Sessions had just asked Panetta under what authority he could establish a no-fly zone in Syria.

Leon Panetta looked aloof, if not bored, and said,” Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from Congress. I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”

Senator Sessions was astounded by the testimony. He had just been told that the US Government is now completely under the international power structure and that the Obama Administration believed the legislative branch was a superfluous relic. Immediately after the hearing, the Pentagon went on damage control, saying Panetta’s words were misinterpreted. “He was re-emphasizing the need for an international mandate. We are not ceding US decision-making authority to some foreign body,” a defense official told CNN.  But Panetta spoke before the Senate hearing in English and Senator Sessions restated what he heard Panetta say, to make sure there was not an error. Panetta had just testified that getting permission from NATO or the UN was more important and necessary than getting approval from Congress. Panetta’s own words indicated that permission from Congress wasn’t even needed by this administration.

In the United States Constitution, which the President swears to uphold and defend, under Article I, Section 8, Congress has the power to declare war. The War Powers Resolution limits the Executive Branch further to A) a declaration of war, B) specific statutory authorization, or C) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States or its Armed Forces. Clearly, Panetta views NATO or the UN as being able to give statutory authorization instead of Congress. In other words, this administration is again trampling on the Constitution, bypassing Congress at every turn.

However, this isn’t the first time the US Congress and the Constitution has taken a secondary position to the authority of international bodies. In June of last year, President Obama arrogantly expressed his hostility to rule of law when he committed the United States to military intervention in Libya. He tried to legitimize his failure to obtain Congressional approval by writing a letter to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, in which he stated the assault was authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

Panetta’s testimony that the US looks to obtain international permission before it acts, allied with Obama’s citing the UN as the supreme authority while trashing the power of Congress, prove that the United States has ceded control of its own affairs to unelected international bureaucrats.