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Congress moves to reclaim its war powers

6 Comments
By Sarah Burns

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Very interesting that a Democrat-led Congress would want to restrict the war powers of POTUS while their guy Joe is in office.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This has been a long time in coming. If you read the writings of James Madison in particular, but also those of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson you would realize the danger represented by an Executive Branch with no restraint on its ability to initiate and wage wars. Madison warned that if the US were to lose its democracy it would not be to a foreign power but due to the corrosive effects of an Executive Branch intent on waging wars abroad. He also said that only an elected legislature is competent to declare war and that war is the germ of all the other bad things that can happen to a nation in terms of restrictions on liberty, high taxes and the accumulation of power in the hands of the President at the expense of Congress. Indeed one can see many of his warnings have sadly come to pass.

There probably needs to be some Congressional mechanism to allow rapid responses to pop-up threats but a President alone should never have the authority to commit US forces to combat short of the US itself or its forces being under direct attack by a foreign power. For anything else that requires a rapid decision perhaps there needs to be a council made up of the chair persons and minority leaders of the House and Senate Armed Forces, Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees who are qualified to see the intel driving the need for a military action and who vote to approve it or not. There needs to be a strict time limit on such actions and anything beyond that needs a declaration of war.

Last, I think the US needs to look at having two person control of the nuclear launch authority. In every other aspect of nuclear arms there is strict adherence to the two person rule. You never ever under any circumstances leave one person alone with a nuclear weapon. Yet, we allow a President sole authority to launch a nuclear attack. I think the authority needs to be split between the Executive and Legislative branches, say the President and Speaker of the House, with a succession list for each branch of government so one person is never left with the authority to initiate a nuclear war.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Even more interesting how the slant of this article tries to blame Trump.

Any Democrat that doesn't understand that America is safer now that  Soleimani, one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, has been eliminated, is completely naive and completely misses what the US needs to have in a foreign policy,

So Biden uses the authorizations’ power to launch a drone strike in Somalia against Islamic terrorists, and that is ok, but Trump takes out the father of Islamic terrorism int he Middle East, and the author characterizes that as "the most frightening use of these broad authorities".

Fake news.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The world is a much different place than it was in the Times of Madison and Jefferson.

In times of crises, immediate action is required.

Asking action from a divided, posturing Congress that has long since abdicated most of its original responsibilities to agencies that didn't exist at the nation's founding, is asking too much.

The nation -and the world- would be much safer if both the legislative and executive branches were removed from the chain of command and responsibility for needed military actions initiated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

After the principles laid down at Nuremberg and the signing the UN Charter, what war powers are actually left for congress to take back? Regardless of what the US constitution says, any declaration of war without security council approval is now a violation of international law and a potential 'crime against peace'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What hasn’t stopped America invading numerous countries and implementing regime changes and causing countless deaths and many more injuries on innocent people?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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