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.


constitution1.pngOn Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul filibustered. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both dependable RINOs, slammed Paul’s filibuster. Why Rand Paul’s Filibuster Matters provides a list of reasons for the filibuster.

Why the excitement over an especially long-winded speech? Paul insisted that the people in charge pay due respect to the document the have sworn to uphold.

A Clear Misuse of the Filibuster, a post at Red NoVA, details the reasons to oppose Paul’s filibuster, basically calling the filibuster a stunt. But such a description misses the point. Unless we hold our leaders accountable to the Constitution, what good is it? And some people have begun to notice what is happening. They have noted a contradiction. Our leaders now tell us that unless the Constitution says they cannot do something, they can do it. However, the Constitution itself says that is not true.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Constitution delegates powers to the Federal Government by saying what it can do, not what it can’t do. Nonetheless, Congress consumes most of the Federal Budget on programs that only the ignorant or devious would say the Constitution authorizes.

Anyway, Senator Rand Paul has explained his reason for the filibuster in an editorial. Please read it.

PAUL: Rising in defense of the Constitution: ‘Giving up the Bill of Rights and the Fifth Amendment is  a travesty’

On Wednesday, I rose to begin a filibuster on the nomination of John  O. Brennan to be director of the CIA.  I stood up with the intent of speaking until I was no longer able to speak. I  vowed to speak as long as it took, until an alarm was sounded from coast to  coast that our Constitution is important, that our rights to trial by jury are  precious, and that no American should be killed by a drone on U.S. soil without  having been found guilty in a court of law.

I didn’t rise to oppose Mr. Brennan’s  nomination simply based on him as a person. I rose to defend the principles of  our Constitution, principles for which we have fought long and hard. To give up  on that principle — the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment — is a travesty. I  will not sit back and allow the president to shred our Constitution. (continued here)