According to the United States Constitution, only Congress shall have the power “to declare War and grant letters of marque and reprisal”. This was made in order to prevent the executive branch from becoming overly powerful, and creating another form of tyranny that we had fought so hard to shed during the American Revolution. It would be ironic that, men and women would fight so hard and die for the idea of freedom, when one man is able to single handedly send them to face their own fates.
And this is exactly what President Obama did in regards to the recent Libya confrontation. Soldiers were deployed, missiles were fired, and so began another story in American history about how we can’t practice what we preach. It honestly should send shivers down the spine of any thinking American – not on the boundaries of whether or not forces should be sent, but instead, how it was handled.
The President is one man, supported by a cabinet of people who tell him what he wants to hear and assist him in his interests. This is why the Constitution called for the appointment of Congress to make such important decisions. Could an Emergency Session of Congress been called? Most certainly! Instead, the President made the decision to enter into this feud alone.
Since Vietnam, Presidents have been entering into conflict without the approval of Congress. And Congress has remained passive in this aspect, passing things such as the War Powers Act to combat this, which is still blatantly ignored. Would you expect more of a man who invests in personal liberties, but jumps at the opportunity to play Judge and Jury? War was never intended to rest on the shoulders of a single man in our nation, it was meant to reside on the shoulders of the many members of Congress.
Representative Walter Jones sums it up perfectly, in his attesting that Congress has been effectively “neutered”. “I wish the President had not gone into Libya without first coming to Congress. We have for too long, as a Congress, been too passive wihen it comes to sending our young men and women to war.”
Representative Roscoe Bartlett sums up the frustration perfectly: “The United States does not have a King’s army. President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution.” And honestly, by definition it is. Republican or Democrat, the Constitution grants Presidents the role as Commander in Chief of the Armed forces, but explicitly grants war powers to Congress alone. Did you just hear George Washington and the other Founding Fathers roll over in their grave?
Sadly enough, the President’s view on the issue wasn’t always this way. “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does no involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” But, in his letter to Congress (which was used to meet the War Power’s Act’s 48 hours requirement, he cited his reason for authorization as being, “ to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya.” Does anyone understand the difference between ‘imminent threat to the nation” and “humanitarian catastrophe”? What grants the President the ability to act as a peacekeeper among the nations?
Undoubtably, the power of the office has been growing over the years. But this oversteps boundaries that should have never been crossed. Deploying troops for humanitarian need, without the authorization of Congress, is far beyond the scope of the President’s authority, and it is the duty and due diligence of Citizens everywhere to call him out on this – Republican and Democrat alike.
What’s even more disturbing about this, is that Obama or Romney, America seems to be facing war-hungry Presidents. Romney commented, “I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, thereof, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.”
What’s unclear, are many facts revolving the entire Libya incident. Nobody seems to understand who engaged in the warfare – some alleging an angry mob, and the rest saying it was militants who had planned the whole thing out. The movie that sparked the outrage, could have engaged peaceful protestors, with militants using the opportunity to spark a war. Hopefully, this information will be determined before more bloodshed is lost. The Libyans have actually been protesting in the streets, with claims of being friendly to Americans and enemies of the Libyan terrorist who executed the American ambassador and staff.
America is in a dangerous place, and it’s time to speak out – Indiscriminate of party affiliation, and go back to the fundamentals of our Constitution.
Terry is an avid writer and can be found at JusticeMayBeBlind.com. This is a site for injustice and all things legal, come check it out!