National Interest Op-Ed: Congress Must Reclaim Its War-Making Powers
THE GREATEST security challenge facing the next president is the national debt. The United States owes nearly $20 trillion, not counting the nearly $50 trillion entitlement debt.
BigNews.Biz - Dec 27,2016 - National Interest Op-Ed: Congress Must Reclaim Its War-Making Powers
THE GREATEST security challenge facing the next president is the national debt. The United States owes nearly $20 trillion, not counting the nearly $50 trillion entitlement debt. The time approaches when America will no longer be able to manage its debt and fund national defense.
The debt continues to explode because Congress ignores the limitations of the Constitution. The federal government was intended to be limited to specific, enumerated powers, and yet, today’s federal government reaches its meddling hand far afield from the Founders’ intent. To minimize new debt and manage existing debt, officials will have to resurrect the separation-of-powers doctrine. Only by separating power from the president will spending be contained. Power that is not constitutionally given to the president should be taken back by Congress, the states and, ultimately, the people.
The greatest and most ominous of government’s power is the ability to go to war. The Founders extensively debated and then concluded that on issues of war, Congress would be required to give its authority. Neoconservatives and their disciples, elected and academic, feel the constitutional requirement for Congress to declare war is no longer applicable. Under President Obama’s tenure, the United States has gone to war in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and engaged in military activities in Yemen without congressional authority. In each instance, the case can be made that unilateral presidential intervention led to less stability, and less security for the United States.
Military interventions are expensive. The money the United States spends on interventions could otherwise be used for weapons of deterrence or upkeep of its decaying nuclear arsenal.
Restoring the constitutional mandate that war needs to be authorized by Congress would go a long way to ensuring that a full-throated debate occurs before troops are placed in harm’s way.
The Trump administration can take the lead here, but nothing prevents Congress from engaging in what is maybe its most important constitutional role: war authorization. Congress should be resolute and either pass an appropriate authorization or disapproval for current U.S. interventions while simultaneously repealing the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
The ease with which Congress allows the president to engage in several “hotspots” around the world tends to make these regions less safe. Members don’t want to appear soft on terrorism or unsupportive of the military. It is easier for them to politicize the ineptitude of an administration’s strategy than to exert proper oversight.
Time after time, the United States has intervened around the world without congressional approval. In Libya, the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi resulted in chaos, leaving an inept Libyan government and large swathes of territory under ISIS control.
Yemen is another engagement in which Congress has had little to no input. The military and advisory support given to Saudi Arabia fosters future jihadists that want to destroy America. The United States is providing air refueling support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and U.S. military hardware to Riyadh. In the summer