Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Now is the time for Congress to reclaim its authority to declare war

Qaddafi surely ranks among the worst leaders of the past fifty years.
Most people believe that Libya would be better off without him.
Almost a quarter century ago I was aboard the U.S.S. Saipan as part of a sizeable naval force that crossed the so called Line of Death that Qaddafi had supposedly drawn in the Gulf of Sidra.   He did nothing.  Had he done anything: we would have responded.   I would have believed it to be a just cause and would have gladly led Marines to welcome this yahoo to the infernal regions
Today, Qaddafi is still an affront to leadership but one which the international community has somehow accepted as a perennial institution in Libya.
The world would be better off without Qaddafi. 
I can’t believe we attacked Libya.  That’s not quite true.  I don’t want to believe that we attacked Libya.
Why?   I thought the guy was a total jerk and the world would be better off without him.
True, but we are worse off for doing this.  In what has gone virtually unnoticed by the American people, the President of the United States engaged United States military forces as if he were throwing a dollar ante into a Friday night poker game.
Where has the compromised constitution—better known as the War Powers Act—gone?
Can the President truly treat the Congress of the United States as an ancient Privy Council, consulting as he deems appropriate?
From Truman to Obama the authority to declare war has been on a pilgrimage from Congress to the President without the courtesy of swinging by the age old friend known as the Constitutional Amendment.
But what about the War Powers Act?
It was doomed in its genesis.  For an ordinary law to restrain a president when the Supreme Law of the Land has been ignored for over half a century is but a political placebo taken so we do not have to take our real medicine.
The authority to declare war resides in the Congress because that body of selfless public servants, self-serving knuckleheads, doctors, lawyers, saints, sinners, and everything in between is most representative of the will of the people. 
Our Founding Fathers knew that war is something not to be taken lightly.  It was not to be avoided at all costs, but it was not to be entered into without the will of the people who trusted their authority to those elected to represent them.
Does Qaddafi need to hit the road?  I can think of as many reasons to say yes as there are spellings of Kaddafi. 
Does the use of our nation’s military forces for war fighting purposes need to be preceded by a declaration of war?   Yes!
If we truly want to preserve the American way of life for ourselves and our posterity, we need Congress to man-up and reclaim the authority to declare war once again.  That means that they must be willing to impeach and convict any president who would defy the Constitution of the United States from this point forward.
It’s time for Congress to step up to this ultimate leadership task.

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