IT IS NOT EXACTLY A MATTER OF OPINION, BUT IT IS NOT UNAMBIGUOUS

A BGM-109 Tomahawk flying in November 2002 (from here)

When is the president required to get a Declaration of War? Because getting Congress to pass a Declaration of War is an arduous process, our troops often find themselves killing people and breaking their things without explicit congressional authorization. Official Declarations of War by Congress lists eleven declaration of war. Curiously, Congress never declared war on the Barbary Pirates (See First Barbary War, Second Barbary War. and Barbary Wars, 1801–1805 and 1815–1816.). Apparently, Congress decided early on to reserve formal declaration of wars for the more serious conflicts.

Therefore, when I heard President Trump had ordered airstrikes (cruise missile attacks) against Syria, I expected that he would exercise the good sense to consult the senior leaders in Congress, but I did not expect him to have a Declaration of War. As I expected, Trump had just consulted the senior leaders in Congress. Still, we are getting the usual arguments over a Declaration of War.

What I think is key here is that our president realizes that he needs congressional support. Trump needs to do his best to fulfill the spirit of the law. Without the support of the country, it is stupid to go to war. When our military forces start firing weapons in anger, we can never be quite sure things will go the way we expect.

Anyway, there is the usual raging debate. It is curious to see where people come down on this.

As a Conservative, I would like to see a process that clearly commits Congress before the president orders a strike. However, that would sacrifice the element of surprise. So it is not always practical. Nevertheless, given that Russia is backing Syria any conflict with Syria could quickly escalate. So Trump needs to define the mission and get Congress to support it if it involves the use of military force.

21 thoughts on “IT IS NOT EXACTLY A MATTER OF OPINION, BUT IT IS NOT UNAMBIGUOUS

  1. Interesting situation,huh?

    I’ll just say flat out, this is the first time in a long time I have felt confident about military intervention. I find myself rather alone in that opinion at the moment, but weighing in geopolitical issues and the need for a show of force rather than and actual war and long term engagement, I find myself rather approving of this decision. Military intervention is never “good,” but it can be “right” and this is one of those rare times where I think it is right.

    The Constitution is quite clear about who declares war, but we’ve been sneaking around that,passing laws, calling everything a “policing action” rather than a war,since WW2 at least. Yes, I think that’s a real problem,but as it stands right now that is legal,that is how we operate.

    Call me crazy, but I think Trump understands this,and I’m actually hopeful that this strike is just the show of force we need to steer off future trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      I agree. Given what he did and the timeline he had to follow, Trump followed what has become the conventional protocol.

      Was the strike appropriate? The primary objection to going after Saddam Hussein was we did not find the weapons of mass destruction. It seems we have found them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I doubt that is the politically correct way to put it. Setting aside the sexist nature of your characterization, it is a cinch Syria will not respond to our attack as an act of war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Citizen,

        My use of language is as precise in this case as I can make it.

        Bitch slapping is a ghetto term which implies the domination and humiliation of an opponent with a pyrotechnic display of violence that causes minimal damage.

        Like

        1. Kind of like an Apache (dance)? I don’t think that is politically correct either, but I just encourage Democrat worry and worry and worry and worry about such things. Keeps em distracted from more serious subjects.

          Like

        2. Citizen,

          Democrats live in a constant state of distraction.

          In fact, distraction is what Democrats do (in case that has escaped anyone’s notice).

          My conversation is with you and I think it is very important to understand what kind of man THE Donald is.

          He can be very underhanded as his taking out of Ted Cruz demonstrated.

          But taking out Ted Cruz was an art piece in the use of power and psychology (knowing the opponent).

          Liked by 1 person

        3. @silenceofmind

          I think Democrat Liberals live in a state of delusion, but I don’t suppose there is much point in getting distracted by a debate over our differences on that point.
          😀

          I am not certain what you think Trump did to take out Cruz. Generally, I credit the nomination of Trump to lots of free media. The news media hated Cruz more than they did Trump, and they thought Trump more likely to lose. Also, the Conservative vote was split. Trump is no Conservative.

          What Trump did to Cruz personally was not praiseworthy. Cruz’s decision to attend the convention and not back Trump was pointless, not when the only other choice we had was H. Clinton. Yet because Trump attacked Cruz’s lady, Cruz had an extremely difficult time getting behind him.

          Foreign policy poses similar issues. You want peace? Then the best thing to do is to force your opponent to back down without offending his dignity. That is very difficult to do, but we have the power to do it, if it is exercised properly. Trump needs to correctly define our vital interests and bring our opponents to the point they understand He will exercise whatever force he needs use to defend our country’s vital interests. That way, our opponents can back off “gracefully” if they have the good sense to do so. If they don’t? Then they don’t, and we have to be ready for that too.

          Like

  2. Congress passed the War Powers Act in 1975 to try to limit the ability of the Commander in Chief to wage war. Even that most anti-presidential Congress allowed the President to act first and ask for permission later. It did, however, set a deadline on how many days an enemy could be battled before Congress’ permission was required. Reagan and Clinton are two presidents who responded to international situations by military means under this provision. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom

    I think I concur with what you have said here.

    I suspect this was probably a good course of action, and I think SoM said it pretty well LOL.

    Having said that, as a veteran, I find it becoming harder and harder to support operations that waste the lives of our men and women who serve us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, that largely depends upon who we put in charge. When the American public voted for President Obama twice, I …. Well, the second time I just could not believe it.

      I understand that some people have moral objections to war, but voting for someone like a Obama is not rational. That man’s morals reek.

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      1. Well…I feel the same way about wasting the lives of men and women regardless of who is in charge to be honest. I have absolutely no moral objection to war per se. I have huge moral objections to wasting the lives or our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. The jury remains out concerning Mr. Trump on this issue. The Republicans certainly have no stellar record in that area at all.

        Like

        1. @Wally Fry

          It has less to do with party than why people vote for a man. In that respect, oddly enough, Trump was an excellent candidate. When he said, “Make America Great Again!”, I think he meant it. I also think many people believed him.

          For decades people have been voting their pocketbooks. When people voted for Trump, I think lot of them voted to make America great again. I think they voted for what is best for the country.

          In spite of the expectations of many, myself included, I think Trump is doing good job. Perfect? No, but God leads leaders, often unwittingly. Thus, those who voted for Trump may be getting the answer to their prayers.

          Is war a waste? Always! Yet when one side intends great evil, the other side has no choice. Therefore, we cannot always avoid war, but we can always choose the leaders we choose because we love our country.

          Like

        2. Ok…I am glad you are happy. I’m not unhappy at all really.

          But, not to belabor a point, I stand by what I said about not wasting the lives of our service members lightly. I didn’t really come to have a debate about our presidents, but to express what I expressed. In fact, I really hate to see what I expressed buried up in a bunch of other stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Well, after that debacle in Iraq, I can sympathize.

          In fact, I really hate to see what I expressed buried up in a bunch of other stuff.

          I suppose some guys do think debates are won by the guy who provides the best funeral services for the other guys arguments. However, I am just expressing a bunch of other stuff.

          So lets restate what you said.

          Having said that, as a veteran, I find it becoming harder and harder to support operations that waste the lives of our men and women who serve us.

          As American citizens, it is up to us to keep faith with the people who serve us. I could be wrong, but I think President Abraham Lincoln expressed your concern this way.

          Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

          Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

          But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

          Abraham Lincoln
          November 19, 1863

          Let us both pray together that in President Donald Trump we have elected someone who will not sell our soldiers lives cheaply.

          Like

  4. Russia will back down. Syria will renegotiate. Trump had the legal authority under the 2001 AUMF and the War Powers Resolution. My advice: amend the WPR, the AUMF, and the Constitution to update our 18th century piece of vellum to model modern warfare.

    Like

      1. #FatFirstWorldProblems “My government doesn’t do what I personally want it do right now with the tax dollars of millions of other people.”

        #SyrianProblems “What do you do when your government is gassing you and other nations think you are faking the whole refugee thing?”

        Like

        1. Don’t have a twitter account. So I am not sure what the hashtags are about. If I cared about hashtags, I suppose I would have a twitter account.

          Anyway, I suppose those hashtags are your “bigger problems”. I will just counter with a question and an observation.
          #FatFirstWorldProblems = Why should your government do what you personally want it do with the tax dollars of millions of other people?
          #SyrianProblems = See the question I asked with respect to #FatFirstWorldProblems. What Bashar al-Assad and his supporters are insisting is that the taxpayers in Syria let him decide how much to tax them and how to spend their money.

          Like

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