There was a time when the President of the United States had to seek the approval of Congress to declare war. In theory, that holds true today. Things, however, have changed, among these are the definition of an enemy; the location of an enemy; the objectives of an enemy; how battles are fought; how the enemy receives aid, including equipment and money; the manner in which intelligence is gathered by agencies from both sides. Now Congress will tell you that this doesn’t matter a damn, but Congress is not involved in the fluidity of individual situations; the President is involved as part of his job, ie, commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
No one in America wants a dictator as their leader. We all want checks and balances of some kind or another. It seems to me, however, that it’s time for us to take a hard look at the roles of the President and of Congress when it comes to going to war. Member of Congress will tell you that that body did in fact support President Bush in going to war against Iraq. If you take the time to read the congressional resolution, however, it is so much gobbledygook that it’s really difficult to tell what was being supported and what was “wait until the United Nations tells us what they’re going to do.” While that’s not an exact quote, I figured I’d better cover my ass. In any event, that was against another nation and not a group of crazy people such as ISIS.
The actual wording that allowed President Bush to invade Iraq read, in part, like this. “President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that– (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” I mean, come on; speak English for God sake! When it comes to killing, you can’t be a namby-pamby. We’re talking about dropping very powerful bombs and, most important, we are talking about the cost in human lives. If Congress has to go into committee, draft a recommendation of war for the President, take it to the floors of the House and Senate and get it voted up or down, Hell could freeze over before anything gets done.
We hope that we are electing leaders who have some sense of right and wrong. There have been many times when I have questioned this, e.g., the Affordable Health Care Bill which was jammed through Congress without being thoroughly examined for flaws, and invading Iraq without any proof whatsoever that there were weapons of mass destruction anywhere. But, by and large, these people are reasonably intelligent and have people around them who are even more intelligent – always hire people who are smarter than you; they make you look good and won’t let you make yourself look like a horse’s ass for fear you’ll turn around and fire them – and they can keep the leader on track. As a consequence of this and in today’s world, I don’t believe that Congress should be able to tell the President what to do about rebels in Somalia, or ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or any other country where people who have vowed to kill Americans are holed up. This is not declaring war on a nation; this is a different type of warfare.
Perhaps Prime Minister David Cameron put it best when he said, “Islam is a religion of peace. These are not Muslims; they are monsters.” And it doesn’t take congressional approval for America to kill monsters. What it does take is an understanding on the part of those in Congress to understand exactly how far the monsters are willing to go to satisfy their blood lust.
The jihadist leaders say that they wish to establish an independent Islamic state. That’s a lie; let me repeat; THAT-IS-A-LIE! What they actually want is a base from which they can terrorize the rest of the world and be free from attacks upon them. It cannot be allowed to happen. The days of religious wars are over. People such as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, considered the leader of ISIS, cannot be allowed to flourish on today’s world stage. The venom of hatred that is being spewed by him and his kind must be stopped by any means possible. Cutting off the head of innocents is indicative of their disrespect for human life.
To my friends in Congress I say, “You do your job for the country and let the President do his. Yes, you may ask your party leaders to ask for a military briefing, but if we are to avoid another 911, don’t go getting all prissy about ‘formal approval.’ It becomes no one and makes you all look like a bunch of whining children.