As soon as tomorrow Congress will vote on a war powers resolution, to limit what military actions Trump can take. This is fine and well, but it seems to me that these methods are like placing a band aid over the problem, rather than getting to the real root cause. If we truly want to solve our issues we should find the root causes, and eliminate them. It also makes things simpler, we tend to overcomplicate things. For instance if a dam had a crack, and it was letting out too much water and creating rivulets, would you feverishly run around trying to stop the rivulets, or would you just go seal up the crack in the dam?
The thing is that under the united states Constitution Article 1 Section 8 Clause 11, it clearly states that only Congress has the power to declare war. The war powers resolution was created as a means to reel a president back in if they have overstepped their bounds. In a way the war powers itself is unconstitutional as it gives the President more authority than what is defined in our constitution. In all reality we don’t need a war powers resolution. We already have a contract that has been agreed upon, everyone who represents our nation has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution. We shouldn’t have to write resolutions to try and get our President to abide by it. What we need is for congress to assert their constitutional authority.
If Congress wanted to, they could hold an immediate vote using their authority. If Trump were to refuse to uphold his oath to the constitution, it would be an impeachable offense. I was proud of Bernie Sanders when he posted a recent tweet speaking of Congress asserting their constitutional responsibility. Here is that tweet.
“Congress must reassert its constitutional responsibility over war. The Senate and House must vote to immediately defund unauthorized military action against Iran.”
There are two root causes, root number one is congress needs to assert their authority. Root number two, is that we need to rescind the AUMF. After 9-11 congress gave the President emergency war powers, to go after those who were responsible for the attacks on our soil. He no longer needed to consult with congress to take military action. This resolution was never meant to be a blank check for endless war.
The AUMF clearly states that this authority was specifically to go after those who were responsible for 9-11. Every president since has used it as though it were full war powers authority to go to war with anyone we want to. This is a clear constitutional violation. Here is an excerpt.
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES. (a) IN GENERAL.—That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
It is not only the president who is responsible when he violates the constitution, because it is the responsibility of congress to use the checks and balances that our founders put in place to make sure he abides by it. Congress is also complicit in not upholding and defending the constitution.
The answer is clear, and it is simple rescind the 2001 AUMF. We don’t need the war powers resolution, we just need congress to assert their authority.
What congress is doing is akin to taking a fresh would that is covered in dirt, instead of cleaning it they just slap a band aid over it. That wound will continue to fester until one day it can no longer be ignored. It is a complete shock to me that Congress hasn’t upheld their duty. I must commend Tulsi Gabbard who introduced H Res 411, a resolution that would have restored war powers to congress, with zero cosponsors might I add, and to no surprise, her resolution was ignored. Here is the text from that resolution.
Introduced in House (05/30/2019)
This resolution declares that if the President initiates wars without prior congressional declarations, such action shall constitute impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which shall cause the House of Representatives to vote articles of impeachment.
In addition, the resolution prohibits the President from making the United States a co-belligerent in an ongoing war without a congressional declaration.
We shouldn’t need bills like these. This is already part of the constitution. We don’t have to beg for the constitution to be upheld, we must demand it.