Rand Paul has a crazy idea about military use of force. He thinks Congress should have to vote on it.
This sort of absurd thought on use of force is rooted in that quaint old document called “The Constitution” that has become less and less in vogue these days. In fact, Senator Paul is going off the deep end by actually thinking that it should be Congress that authorizes the use of military force, rather than the President simply waking up one morning and deciding he’s going to start a “not really a war” action in some sand-filled hellhole.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when it is valid and acceptable for the President to order military force without Congress. But that is pretty much always in immediate defense, or perhaps to intervene with an ally to prevent a serious disaster. But after that imminent danger has passed, it’s time for Congress to step in and decide if the President gets to keep playing army man or not.
Since 9/11, the U.S. has been embroiled in two wars that are strictly speaking, not actually declared wars. Oh sure, Congress kept rubber stamping money for it, but they never authorized the invasions in the first place, and at some point it was damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and let me tell you folks, we are damned.
Trapped in a quagmire of our own making, Rand Paul is right to demand that Congress take back control over the power to make war, and firmly reign in the expensive and wanton use of the might of the U.S. armed services. After nearly 15 years, all we have to show for our undeclared wars is a destabilized region, ISIS, countless lives lost on all sides, insane amounts of debt, and… not much else.
The Constitution gives Congress the right to authorize long term military use of force. It is strangely quiet on the ability of the President to do so, which means it’s the job of Congress, not the President to create wars. Undeclared wars are expensive, wasteful and erode our global reputation. It’s high time Congress took back their power, and made it very plain that any long term military action must be expressly, and specifically authorized and defined by them and them alone. Is Rand Paul right to insist on Congressional oversight of military force? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Steve Coffman
(Photo courtesy of The U.S. Army, Flickr CC BY 2.0)
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