By de Andréa
Opinion Editorialist for
‘THE BOTTOM LINE’
Posted September 22, 2017
Even though it has been more than 16 years since Congress first passed the authorization of military force in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that Congress at the time never intended it to serve as supporting combat operations in countries from Yemen to Somalia, the Senate on Wednesday still rejected a bill to repeal it.
Senator Rand Paul, the most constitutionally intelligent spokesperson for the repeal effort, pleaded, urged, and argued on the Senate floor.
“What we have today is basically unlimited war — war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe,” Senator Paul told his colleagues in a speech Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t think anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes these authorizations allow current wars we fight in seven different countries.”
Paul continued, "We are supposed to be a voice that debates and says, 'Should we go to war? It's part of doing our job. It’s about grabbing power back and saying this is a Senate prerogative."
But it again fell on the deaf ears of a corrupt Congress.
Our Founding Fathers made it very difficult for Americans to be sent to war.
They had witnessed centuries of tyranny strengthening itself in countries where kings and parliaments used their own people as pawns and slaves in self-serving wars for more power and personal ambition.
So the Constitution they crafted did not grant the president any authority to unilaterally attack other nations except in an emergency of defense.
“The Constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress,” said George Washington, “Therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.”
So the truth here is that the President of these United States is not the Commander in Chief of the armies until Congress declares him, through a declaration of war.
James Madison asserted, “The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”
The operative clauses to look up here are Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress and Congress only the power to declare war.
The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
So while cooperation between the President and Congress regarding military affairs is required, only Congress has the authority to attack or “declare” war; not the President. It’s called the balance and separation of powers.
Unfortunately, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, many Presidents have engaged in military operations without express Congressional decoration of war called police actions.
The Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Afghanistan War of 2001 and the Iraq War of 2002 are some examples. And in every case we have lost or are losing the wars.
Congress has the duty and responsibility to debate and discover if, in fact, there is a need for war before they allow the young men and woman of our armed forces to be put in harm’s way.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Does anyone know what would have happened if we had followed the constitution to the letter regarding this ongoing and continuous state of unauthorized wars? Of course not, but I can’t help but wonder just where we would be if Congress would have had to authorize and declare war on all these countries instead of the knee jerk reaction of the last few presidents.
Example: the attack on Libya, an absolutely unnecessary destruction of a sovereign state that now has become totally destabilized and run by a bunch of rogue ISIS terrorists. Somehow I don’t think Congress would have approved and actually authorized that declaration of war. So I believe I can say with some certainty that Libya and the rest of North Africa wouldn’t be under the subjugation and threat of ISIS terrorists today if in fact our Federal Government would have obeyed the law of the Constitution and debated the issue.
We have completely lost the ingenious balance of power that the Framers had so cleverly entwined into constitutional law.Thanks for listening my friend. Now go do the right thing, pray and fight for truth and freedom.
- de Andréa
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