Many citizens are breathing a sense of relief today. When we saw the Obama Administration bomb the capital of a sovereign nation and openly support rebel forces in the field, many jumped to conclusions and asked how Obama could start a war without congressional approval under Article I. White House Spokesman Jay Carney has finally set the record straight. This may look like war but it is really “a time-limited, scope-limited military action.”
What idiots the Framers were not to see the difference. They drafted Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 without expressly distinguishing time-limited, scope-limited military actions in bombing other nations. Instead, when Pierce Butler of South Carolina argued that the president could commit the United States to war, people like Elbridge Gerry responded that he “never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.” Others like George Mason also expressed total opposition to such a notion. It turns out that a president only has to call a war “a time-limited, scope-limited military action” and can bomb capitals and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to support one side in a civil war.
This could have not just constitutional but artistic implications. Consider the lyrics to the The Temptations song, War: “
War“a time-limited, scope-limited military action” , what is it good for?”
Of course, someone may want to inform those people being bombed that this should not be taken as an act of war . . . more like a violent gesture of peace.