Friday, August 30, 2013

To declare war

Did you happen to catch all the leftist protests about potentially going to war in Syria for no good reason?  Here's one:

Interesting.  What do you think would be happening if President Bush had done the exact same things Obama is doing now?  The hypocrisy is deafening.  Proves once again that leftists have no principles, they're just cheerleaders.

Well, maybe that's not strictly true.  Obama and Biden both have clear points of view regarding taking these United States to war, following the Constitution and all that.

Remember the War Powers Clause in the Constitution?  Anyone?  Bueller?  It states:
[The Congress shall have Power...] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
What?  You mean that the President is not authorized to declare war unilaterally?

"Obama and Biden's Own Words on War and Congressional Approval" by Collin Roth

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that "any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress." The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
-Barack Obama in 2008

It is precisely because the consequences of war – intended or otherwise – can be so profound and complicated that our Founding Fathers vested in Congress, not the President, the power to initiate war, except to repel an imminent attack on the United States or its citizens. They reasoned that requiring the President to come to Congress first would slow things down… allow for more careful decision making before sending Americans to fight and die… and ensure broader public support.

The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right. That’s why I want to be very clear: if the President takes us to war with Iran without Congressional approval, I will call for his impeachment.

I do not say this lightly or to be provocative. I am dead serious. I have chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. I still teach constitutional law. I’ve consulted with some of our leading constitutional scholars. The Constitution is clear. And so am I.

I’m saying this now to put the administration on notice and hopefully to deter the President from taking unilateral action in the last year of his administration. If war is warranted with a nation of 70 million people, it warrants coming to Congress and the American people first.

-Joe Biden in 2008
So I'm confident that Obama and Biden will ask Congress for authority to use U.S. military power in Syria, or anywhere else.  They wouldn't change their position just because they're in power now, would they?

Interesting that this subject was also raised in 2011, regarding Libya.  From the Huffington Post:
"Joe Biden Warned In 2007 That He'd Impeach Bush For Waging War Without Congressional Approval"

Interesting thing to note in that article was the big government spineless Republican reaction, as illustrated by the weasel Lindsay Graham:
As Dave Weigel pointed out Tuesday, the prevailing attitude in Congress over the matter of congressional approval is best exemplified by the statements made by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who each basically said they'd simply rubber-stamp whatever Obama wanted to do. "I'd be glad to vote on it afterwards," said Graham, all but cementing Congress' ornamental role in military conflict.

More videos here, from
"Joe Biden: War Without Congressional Authorization Should Warrant IMPEACHMENT"

My initial reaction to the situation in Syria is to not get involved.  Dictator versus rebels who may turn out to be nutjob Islamists?  This is like a game between the Vikings and the Bears--can't they both lose?  In all seriousness, though, I don't believe that we can police the world.  But if we do want to do so, why would we want the president to do so unilaterally?  Isn't this exactly why we want Congress to be involved, to come to a consensus decision?

In closing, I think this meme pretty much sums things up.  From the All That Spam blog:
"If I put the constitution in my emails would the government start reading it?"