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Another national security event and another failure by the American government, specifically Congress, to follow the Constitution. Friday night’s strikes in Syria, despite being “limited,” are another example of the House and Senate abdicating authority to the executive and weaken the separation of power concept the founders put into the hallowed document.
The Constitution is explicit in its language on which branch of government has the power to enter the United States into an armed conflict with another nation. Article I, Section 8 writes, “Congress shall have Power…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” No other branch of government has the right to get American soldiers involved in war, despite claims by presidents, congressional members, and pundits otherwise. The fact presidents, starting with Harry Truman, started going around Congress to get the U.S. involved in wars is execrable.
Yet, Congress also deserves criticism for not asserting its power more when it comes to keeping the U.S. from going into war. The State Department’s archives detail a July 1950 meeting with Truman and then Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas on whether a resolution declaring war in Korea was necessary (emphasis mine).
Senator Lucas said that to go up and give such a message to Congress might sound as if the President were asking for a declaration of “war.
The President said this was exactly the point. He said that he had not been acting as President but as Commander-in-Chief of our forces in the Far East.
Witness the hypocrisy that our two-party system breeds: Check out these similar letters warning the president about commencing offensive strikes against Syria without congressional approval.
2013 signers: 119 Rs, 21 Ds
2018 signers: 15 Rs, 73 Ds
Very few of us signed both. pic.twitter.com/40VEVtGwnq
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 14, 2018
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