[Rushtalk] Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Thu Jun 9 09:59:16 MDT 2016

Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

        By Ron Paul | January 24, 2016

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush
through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from
the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior
Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to
bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the
president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his
successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of
2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and
future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time,
geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely
open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he
wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has
expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited
power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George
W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an
authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its
government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even
bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment,
which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said
nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when
they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of
US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the
Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken
over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter
said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake
Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on
Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks
in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military
intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military
face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested
by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US
military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the
insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of
the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of
the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone
expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to
be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict
the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an
all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a
people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an
all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly,
Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing
this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a
dead letter.

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