Wednesday, September 15, 2021

What Have We Learned from Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam… Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Congress has abdicated its power to declare war


This is a lesson Americans learned during the Vietnam War. And then promptly ignored.

The Constitution authorizes ONLY the Congress to declare war. 

To get around this, the Vietnam War was conducted as a police action, without Congressional Approval. After Vietnam Congress wanted to rein this in.

 So, in 1973, the War Powers Act was passed. This was directly attributable to both Republican (Nixon) and Democratic (LBJ) Presidents that prolonged and expanded the war in Vietnam with no approval.

Smaller actions like Reagan’s War in Grenada, Bush1’s war in Somalia, Clinton’s drove attacks in the middle east were all done without a declaration of war.

After the 9/1 attacks, Congress passed a War on Terror authorization that allowed American Presidents unlimited power in the war on terror and terrorists.And it was opened ended, without an end date.

That act justified the war in Afghanistan, then the war in Iraq, the anti-terrorism actions in Africa, the war in Libya, the expansion of war into Syria, the attacks in Iran and various other military actions around the world from 2011 through 2021.

President Biden supported Congressional action to end to the War of Terror approval and put the onus back on Congress to declare war in a foreign country within 30 – 90 days after action starts.

Why is it ignored? Congress had been happy to let the Presidents take the fall on wars. Thinking that not voting at all would piss less people off than if they vote for or against a war. Because they are spineless nincompoops (both Republicans and Democrats).

Note: The Senate also has the power to approve or reject treaties by super majority (2/3s). This has also been ignored lately, mainly because partisan infighting doesn't support a supermajority for anything. 

Climate Change, World Trade Accords, coordinated Syria action, coordinated Iraq action, the Iran Nuclear deal, action both for and against he North Korean Regime. None of these have been approved by the Senate. And they have happily abdicated this responsibility so they aren't blamed.


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