Monday, September 19, 2011

Offensive Military Action and the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States indicates that only Congress can declare wars and issue letters of Marque and Reprisal.  In effect, this means that the power to initiate offensive campaigns must be approved by Congress in a formal vote.  This is why I believe that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional because it grants the President the ability to initiate offensive campaigns and then go to Congress to ask for additional funding.  In effect, it absolves Congress of the crucial responsibility of sending soldiers into conflict, where many could die, and instead places it on the President.  It also grants the President way too much power to commit military forces to areas that we may not otherwise wish to go.

The problem is, most conservatives these days deny that interpretation of the Constitution and, in effect, deny the writings and intentions of the Founding Fathers who they so revere as saints.  It sickens me when I hear about conservative pundits wishing to start another war with Iran all because they might develop a nuclear weapon.  In other words, they want to send our troops into an even more hostile land than Iraq or Afghanistan all because Iran may launch a nuclear weapon on Israel.  They forget that Israel could easily launch its own series of nuclear weapons and completely wipe out all their enemies in the Middle East.

Today I heard a new argument for going to war with Iran, a war that we cannot afford and probably will not have a stated objective to finish like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.  The argument was that because we have signed a treaty with Israel saying we will defend them from foreign aggression, then we must go to war with Iran.

Those of you who are intelligent know that this argument is utter garbage, but for those of you who are conservative or just a pro-war Statist (which right now includes all the Democrat(ick) leaders and their myrmidons), I will explain why.  The reason is simple: the Constitution requires Congress to declare war.  Even if we had a defensive treaty with another nation, we could not initiate offensive military actions against another nation who was threatening our ally without a Congressional declaration of war.

Let us keep in mind that allowing one man the authority to initiate war against foreign nations without Congressional approval is more dangerous than most conservatives realize.  To say that it is perfectly OK for the President to do such a thing means you support Obama’s actions in Libya and the countless innocent people he has killed by his massive bombing campaign there.  Not only that, but he snubbed Congress by ignoring their vote that required him to leave.  Of course, Congress also voted to continue the funding of the bombing campaign but the fact remains is that if the President could do that without any consequence to his office or his policies from within our government, it means he is a virtual dictator.

And that dictatorship he holds is in place largely because of the pro-war conservatives who have dominated the right-wing in the Republican party over the past several decades.  Thanks a lot assholes.