“Congress surrenders warmaking role”
”Americans are wondering, with the lassitude of uninvolved spectators, whether the president will initiate a war with Iran. Some Democratic presidential candidates worry, or purport to, that he might claim an authorization for war in a Senate resolution labeling an Iranian Revolutionary Guard unit a terrorist organization. Some Democratic representatives oppose the president's request for $88 million to equip B-2 stealth bombers to carry huge "bunker-buster" bombs, hoping to thereby impede a presidential decision to attack Iran's hardened nuclear facilities.
While legislators try to leash a president by tinkering with a weapon, a sufficient leash -- the Constitution -- is being ignored by them. They are derelict in their sworn duty to uphold it.* Regarding the most momentous thing government does, make war, the constitutional system of checks and balances is broken.” *(Emphasis TLS)
Gee, it seems that I (and so many of my friends and fellow patriots) have been saying this for over five years now. What’s changed? What is George doing on this bandwagon? Perhaps Mr. Will and some of the other “real conservatives” (as opposed to these neo-con criminals who are in charge of the asylum today) are starting to realize that these “new and improved” Commander in Chief powers might soon be falling in to the hands of another Democrat. And, for those who believe that Democrats are above the concept of expanding presidential war power, Will reminds us,
”Congress' powers were most dramatically abandoned and ignored regarding Korea. Although President Truman came from a Congress controlled by his party and friends, he never sought congressional authorization to send troops into massive and sustained conflict. Instead, he asserted broad authority to "execute" treaties such as the U.N. Charter.
For today's Democrats, resistance to unilateral presidential warmaking reflects not principled constitutionalism but petulance about the current president. Democrats were supine when President Clinton launched a sustained air war against Serbia without congressional authorization. Instead, he cited NATO's authorization -- as though that were an adequate substitute for the collective judgment that the Constitution mandates.”
Of course, in probably the most egregious example of presidential warmongering, there is the example of Johnson-Nixon Southeast Asia war game.
Regardless of where you stand on the righteousness of the military actions undertaken by any one president, the bottom line is this: (if we are to honor and respect our Constitution) Any military action, short of self defense from a real and ongoing attack against our country, MUST be sanctioned and authorized by our duly elected Congress.
To this end, Will informs us (why have I not heard this on Air America or some other Progressive outlet?) of H.J Res 53 from North Carolina Republican, Walter Jones and Massachusetts Democrat, William Delahunt.
”Introduced last week by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, it technically amends, but essentially would supplant, the existing War Powers Resolution, which has been a nullity ever since it was passed in 1973 over President Nixon's veto.
Jones' measure is designed to ensure that deciding to go to war is, as the Founders insisted it be, a "collective judgment." It would prohibit presidents from initiating military actions except to repel or retaliate for sudden attacks on America or American troops abroad, or to protect and evacuate U.S. citizens abroad. It would provide for expedited judicial review to enforce compliance with the resolution, and permit the use of federal funds only for military actions taken in compliance with the resolution.”
What a concept! Yet, as of this writing, although there is real bi-partisan support, there are only 6 co-sponsors of this resolution (including Libertarian/Republican, presidential candidate Ron Paul).
It would seem to me that, if we are serious about stopping this madness of never-ending war that continues in presidential politics, perhaps this is an effort that deserves our attention. I mean, if you listen to any of the ongoing presidential debates and hear the Republicans (minus Ron Paul) seeing who can thump their chest harder when it comes to attacking Iran or the Democrats (minus Kucinich, Richardson, and Gravel) declaring that “all options are on the table” or that they could entertain ‘a unilateral invasion of Pakistan’ I think we should be expediting our efforts to get our members of congress to sign onto HJ Res 53 and get it enacted into law before January of 2009. As George Will concludes,
”Unless and until Congress stops prattling about presidential "usurpation" of power and asserts its own, it will remain derelict regarding its duty of mutual participation in warmaking. And it will merit its current marginalization.”
I would only add that if “we the people” don’t keep the fire lit under these folks, we will continue to receive the representation we deserve,
Chad (The Left) Shue