Textualists and Originalists Are Again AWOL in Wars on Syria and Yemen

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_cropped220px-B-2_spirit_bombingBelow is my recent column in The Hill Newspaper on the increased U.S. involvement in the fighting in Syria and Yemen.  As usual, there is little concern (beyond Sen. Rand Paul) over the sending of troops into foreign conflicts without congressional approval or anything resembling a specific declaration of war.  Indeed, when members insist that modern national security threats do not make specific declarations or authorizations practical, they sound much like “living constitution” advocates.  Yet, we have now engaged in hundreds of military actions with only a small number of declarations and a small percentage of authorizations.  As the Framers feared, war has become a continual and unilateral exercise of executive authority.

In recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary hearing, I supported the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, despite my disagreement with some of his opinions. I specifically noted that his textualist approach to statute and the Constitution is no vice in a federal judge. While I hold many liberal views, I also believe in a formalist and fairly textualist approach to interpretation.

What is curious, however, is how the supporters of such textualism and formalism are largely silent this week as the Trump administration is planning to send more troops into Syria and to intervene in Yemen … all without the declaration of war required by the text of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Hundreds of more troops are planned for the Syrian conflict even though the government in the country has declared that any U.S. military operating in the country are “invaders.” We have been conducting extensive bombing raids with troops on the ground in Syria for many months. We have spent billions of dollars on the effort. All without a formal declaration by the Congress.

Now, Defense Secretary James Mattis has reportedly asked the White House to lift restrictions on U.S. military support in Yemen. The war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels  has not been going well for our Persian Gulf allies, particularly Saudi Arabia. The United States wants now to play a bigger role, but notably, the military is asking permission not from Congress but the president. It is his call. That is precisely what the Framers wanted to avoid.

The Constitution has long had its own unreliable allies in Congress. Adherence to the text of the document seems to be a forgotten value when it would take politicians to uncomfortable or inconvenient places. Politicians hate to declare wars. It is not that they hate wars. Wars are popular. Wars can be profitable.

The problem is that they can be blamed if wars do not go well. As a result, they have used open-ended resolutions that can be used by presidents to conduct wars at their whim while allowing politicians to later deny that they ever really supported interventions or were misled if the wars go badly.

This issue most famously came up with Hillary Clinton during her presidential runs. She was eager to express her support for the wars in Iraq and Libya until they became unpopular. Clinton then blamed others and insisted that she was misled, adding, “I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong.”

Of course, the spin ignored the objections at the time that Clinton and others were unwilling to even listen to objections or demands for substantive hearings. These calls were ignored because the members did not want to hear anything that would make it difficult for them to vote for a popular war.

She is certainly right that she was not alone in discarding her duties under Article I. The vote was a popular choice and paraded before cameras … until the war dragged on with thousands of casualties and hundreds of billions in expenditures. Democrats and Republicans share equal responsibility for reading out Article I, Section 8 from the Constitution.

The courts are equally at fault. They have accepted resolutions as substitutes for declarations and, more importantly, have allowed resolutions to become increasing general and vague, thus allowing (as we are now seeing) open-ended power to intervene militarily in virtually any country at any time. Indeed, challengers rarely get any judicial review at all. Years ago, I represented both Democratic and Republican members challenging the Libyan War, but the federal court barred consideration of the merits by the members as lacking “standing” to be even heard in federal court.

We were bombing the capital of a foreign power with a recognized government. We were spending billions in war funding. Yet, the Obama administration was allowed to simply call it not a “war” but a “time-limited, scope-limited military action” or a “kinetic action.” Indeed, the Administration insisted to the court that the President alone defines what is a war. Thus, as long as he does not use that noun, Article I effectively does not apply. You can call it a “police action” or a training exercise or a bean bag and that is all that you need to claim the right to go to war on a president’s sole authority.

Does that track with anyone even remotely familiar with our Framers? These were brilliant men who created a system of carefully balanced powers. Yet, Congress and the courts have made them into the world’s biggest chumps who can be circumvented by simply a change in nouns. Where the Framers wanted Congress to take ownership of any wars, courts now allow members to delegate that authority to presidents and sit as pedestrians watching whether wars prove to be popular or problematic.

History is now repeating itself. No one in Congress wants its own new intervention, but no one wants to be seen opposing interventions against terrorists. Suddenly all of the moral outrage over non-textualist readings of the Constitution are silent … just days after the last hearing. This is why moral outrage in Washington is something of a performance art. This performance, however, is nothing but a tragedy for those who believe in adherence to the text of the Constitution.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He has litigated various national security cases.

201 thoughts on “Textualists and Originalists Are Again AWOL in Wars on Syria and Yemen”

  1. Professor Turley’s suggestion that Congress critters in both Senate and the House avoid their responsibilities regarding war powers as a weaselly means of shirking potentially unpopular decisions rings true; it certainly fits their weaselly characters, but it also raises the question of why the President does not have the same motivation and behavior? After all, the President also has constituents who will judge harshly depending on a number of factors, not always related to the justness of the war effort.

    Like gravity, there is a natural pull for any politician to stay grounded from wild or unpopular decisions that will inevitably be used against them, so why do Presidents stick their necks out, again and again or as is the case now, virtually all the time since to listen to the propaganda, we have been at war with “the terrorists” for well over 15 years now.

    I suspect the answer to that is nuanced, but has to do with more than simply love of the ultimate human corrupting power of meting out death or even the heady power of being the supposed ruler of earth. And for anyone still in doubt, it certainly has little if anything to do with a belief that constant war in the Middle East is spreading Democracy throughout the world or for that matter anywhere at all. Indeed, what Democracy has ever resulted from the dozens of forced regime changes we have engineered all over the world since WWII?

    More likely, the answer is one that explains the behavior, or lack of it, of Congressmen and women as well as that of the President and as usual has more to do with money and the transnational interests that seek to monopolize it’s sources and means of extraction. Wars are profitable, not only for the military that engages in them (and our military has been mercenary since tricky dick – and has the greatest advertising/propaganda budget in the world), but also and primarily for the .01% that seeks to control all resources, now including even water and air.

    While Professor Turley, touches on this in his post, he does not delve into the subject, yet I think it here that most behavior, including that of shirking constitutional responsibility, in our government as well as that of our European allies, as well as that of Russia and China and other non allied countries, resides when making decisions about war. Profit. Always follow the money.

    In the Middle East, the money has to do with, among other assets, energy resource extraction and control via pipe-lines, and shipping ports and with any government, or any geopolitical entity, that will get in the way of the giant transnational financial concerns that are involved.

    For these interests, often one and the same with the members of the governments involved, it is usually easiest to deal directly with individual leaders such as Presidents, when military involvement is needed. This simply facilitates matters; it doesn’t mean that the legislative bodies are not involved in the profits of such schemes.

    1. Brooklin Bridge: Excellent post. I agree with it entirely.

      One anecdote I’ve mentioned once before here: An acquaintance, a really down-to-earth guy from Albuquerque (Mike was a dentist who lost his battle with cancer) from an email list I used to be on, once related that he attended a fundraiser for John Kerry during the latter’s campaign for the presidency in 2004. When Kerry was asked why he voted to go to war in Iraq, Kerry apparently said, “Anyone who didn’t vote for the Iraq War was dead meat politically.” I’ve never come across a more defining and unabashed self-serving sentiment. Mike wrote, “It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear.”

      Nobody really gives a shit though. Gluttony is encouraged in neo-American culture.

      1. When our state department makes a decision or gets it’s marching orders such as going after Assad after all, you’ll note that newspapers/web sites in London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and so on, have articles about why we should do exactly that within hours – not days. Also notice how the very language in the articles is almost a direct copy, sometimes literally word for word of what comes out of the state department or a press conference.

        1. Also notice how the very language in opinion piece articles is almost a direct copy, sometimes literally word for word of what comes out of the state department or a press conference.

  2. Does Newton’s third law not apply here? When a nation adopts an historical role of global police, it must accept and expect everything that goes with it. On the other hand when the maintenance of that role becomes distasteful for a majority of the electorate while, at the same time, it helps to promote democracy and the American way and the bottom line of American industry, you can see there’s a quandary right there. Now strip away all the window dressing and recognize those global conflicts/wars are self inflicted and/or simply the bare face of capitalism on the front line, or both, then could it be argued to continue these ‘police actions’ might be in conflict with and contrary to national security?

  3. @JT

    “Where the Framers wanted Congress to take ownership of any wars, courts now allow members to delegate that authority to presidents and sit as pedestrians watching whether wars prove to be popular or problematic.” [My emphasis]

    As the Federalist Society says, “The easiest way to change the law is to change the judges.” They have changed a lot of judges and would add Gorsuch to their stable of reliable corporatists on the bench. As I observed in a post on Gorsuch’s nomination to the SC, legal interpretation of the law, including the Constitution, is at bottom a political act. Judicial political considerations underwritten by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, for example, have created the situation that JT laments:

    “The courts are equally at fault. They have accepted resolutions as substitutes for declarations and, more importantly, have allowed resolutions to become increasing general and vague, thus allowing (as we are now seeing) open-ended power to intervene militarily in virtually any country at any time. Indeed, challengers rarely get any judicial review at all. Years ago, I represented both Democratic and Republican members challenging the Libyan War, but the federal court barred consideration of the merits by the members as lacking ‘standing’ to be even heard in federal court.”

    His support of the appointment of another Federalist Society ($10 million+) judge, to the highest court in the land, no less, suggests a serious lack of thinking things through and of connecting the dots.

  4. The Second Amendment is an example of the differing views of Originalists and Textualists.
    The text says: …the right to bear arms.
    The Framers meant: …. the right to arm bears.

    Nuff said.

  5. Headline News
    “U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS NIKKI HALEY SAYS U.S. DOES NOT THINK SYRIAN PEOPLE WANT BASHAR AL-ASSAD AS LEADER ANY LONGER”

    Apparently, Nikki Haley has done a random survey of all the households in Syria and concludes they don’t like their President. Perhaps we should oust Trump since many of the people of the U.S. don’t want him as their leader anymore?

    This is the kind of crap I just can’t stand coming from the politicos. I personal don’t want her as my Ambassador to the U.N. for saying something so stupid. Nobody trust surveys or polls.

    1. Let me get this straight: Nikki Haley “thinks” she knows what people want and therefore she should go “for saying something stupid”.

      “Nobody trust surveys or polls.”

      You on the other hand don’t even imply to think, you imply to know what everyone wants. Should you go too?

  6. Over here, over there. We will hit the dusty trail.
    In the cellar of Old John and James.
    For its high high hee. Field artillery..
    Drop all your bottles and run!
    If a nun should appear say:
    Sister have a beer…
    In the cellar of Old John and James.

  7. Our undeclared wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen are illegal no matter who is President.

    1. You will have to speak to Presidnt Obama about that and the re-ignition of the one in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  8. I will take issue with the statement ‘asking President Trump for permission was wrong they should have asked Congress.’

    The military stays within the Chain of Command which stops at the Commander-In-Chiefs desk. The only time that step is skipped is when they invoke their oath of office and have determined the CIC has broken his or her oath of office and acts accordingly.

    The Congress makes regulationsand pays for the equipment and uniforms and may bring members of the military in front of congressional investigatory or fact finding panels. But they are NOT in the chain of command. Besides which Congress has removed itself from much of the entire checks and balances system and avoided responsibility for so long they wouldn’t know how to act otherwise.

    Right now a group of people who owe their allegiance to a foreign ideology – the Progressives – AND have violated their oaths of office to the Constitution as elected officials and as citizens are meeting in what they are pleased to openly call “Our Revolution.” Many of them are elected officials including Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Others such as DNC Chair Perez and a great many of the Senators who intereviewed Goresuch did much the same thing.

    Why would the military, at least since January 20th go to them? More than likely if they did it would be after invoking the military oat of office to detain and apprehend the self styled openly and publicly confessed Revolutionaries or another version of the previous regime leader. The reason he would not declare martial law and every one knew it

    The military in following the law are still the last ditch backs to the wall defense of our Representative Constitutional Republic a job entrusted to them by the founders. There were no guidelines provided except – preserve and defend the Constititution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. Self styled revolutionaries fall into the category of enemies domestic. Those who violate their oath of office and declare a revolution in favor of a foreign ideology are enemies, foreign. By Their Own Choice.

    Sanders in the report is to be lauded for identifying those who consider the voters who defeated Clinton and were called ‘deplorable’ as wrong and has removed his supporters from their ranks. He clearly identifies the people in the former DNC who lost the election as ‘themselves

    Oblivious the Hitlerite mimicry of the apparently Reichs Fuhrer SS Perez and his enemies domestic continue to drag the former Demcrat Party – now at best the Regressive Splinters Coalition – down and seeks to pit them against the US Military.

    For our troops it is a counter revolution and nothing else.

    If you can’t define then do the time is the message. And that goes for Comrades Perez and Warren.

  9. Let’s put little Donnie, little Eric, little Ivanka and little Tiffany in uniforms and put them on the front lines “over there”, wherever that happens to be. Of course, Ivanka and Tiffany won’t be able to keep up their roots and their Brazilians, but war is hell, man. The Constitution should be amended to require that able bodied relatives of an Administration and members of Congress be the first ones placed on the front lines. Not just military service–active combat duty on the front lines. That’ll show just how dedicated to principles these people are. They shouldn’t be allowed to start wars that could end up with other people’s family members getting killed unless they’d be willing to sacrifice their own. That also might reverse the cuts to the State Department and bring about serious diplomacy.

    1. Let’s put little Donnie, little Eric, little Ivanka and little Tiffany in uniforms and put them on the front lines “over there”, wherever that happens to be. Of course, Ivanka and Tiffany won’t be able to keep up their roots and their Brazilians, but war is hell, man.

      Let’s suppose for sake of argument you were a serious person. Why would you suggest putting two women in combat (one of whom has dependent children), putting into combat a middle-aged man with dependent children who would never have been subject to military conscription in any war fought between 1863 and 1973, and a married man with a pregnant wife who almost certainly would have been excused from military service during every war in that interval bar the latter half of the 2d World War?

  10. When the illegal Iraq war was getting started many of us pointed out that the authorization of the use of force that was passed was so broad as to allow any intervention anywhere, certainly in them idle east, as long as it was somehow related to the mythical “global war on terror”. What we told everyone would happen has happened. And now, the US is slowly destroying itself by attempting to maintain a global empire which is why we are fighting these pointless, unwinnable wars: to secure resources for the empire to control. Over and above the failure to observe the Constitutional requirement for declaring war since World War II concluded, the government also violates the Constitution by maintaining a vast standing army. They do this by having declared a national emergency back in the 40’s that has never been rescinded or expired.

    As for the endless wars and now the current escalation being pursued by the Trump administration Madison had words that are instructive for us today;

    “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”

    1. When the illegal Iraq war

      This is a nonsense statement.

      1. The Iraq war is most likely illegal if you look at the constitutional intent of the founders and it is surely an unjust war. Interesting book so far, called “Just and Unjust Wars’; still reading it Surely the alleged cause for getting us into the Iraq War, WMDs was a fallacious rationale. But hey, I though war was good for the economy. Isn’t that the BS that we were taught. I guess they forgot to tell the 100,000,000 million living at or near the poverty line, it’s really just those who work within the military industrial complex and their shareholders that really benefit. It is surely for the “general” welfare.

        1. If it was how come the vast majority of the foreign ideology forming the left voted for it. You all sunk a long way into the mud since the days of your last true Democrat hero Wayne Morse. Now we get MaxINE WHAtters?

    2. I like this comment and note that PBS is airing a documentary on WWI called The Great War! PBS is glorifying war.

  11. Steve:

    “First, I had been perplexed by Mr. Turley’s silence on our involvement in the Middle East through Executive overreach. My hopes have risen with this blogpost re Executive overreach, which is exponentially influential as the President’s ill-equipped son-in-law becomes a de facto foreign secretary. By our collective silence, we’re bowing to dictators who scapegoat for the profit in blood lust.”

    *************************

    I nominate this gobbledygook paragraph for the “Purple Prose Award” at Bulwer-Lytton. (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/) What the hell are you saying? What is “exponentially influential” as Kushner’s trip? Your “hopes’? Turley’s post? “Exponentially influential”, really?

    And what “collective silence” are you referring to? Turley’s? Ours, as in Americans? As in Alaskan Aleuts?

    Please name all the dictators we “bow to” by this “collective silence”? And who is scapegoated for “the profit in blood lust”?

    1. I second the nomination. “Ill-equiped son-in-law became a De facto foreign Secretary”.

      At least he understands that we are ruled by an oligarchy, which seems to fly over the heads of some of you folks who are still drinking the Kool Aide.

      1. So sayeth the followers of the foreign ideology. No thanks I’ll stick to the Constitution

    2. I suspect the people who deal with Steve Groan in meatworld never give him any pushback because they’re hoping he’ll shut up and move on to some mundane topic.

  12. First, I had been perplexed by Mr. Turley’s silence on our involvement in the Middle East through Executive overreach. My hopes have risen with this blogpost re Executive overreach, which is exponentially influential as the President’s ill-equipped son-in-law becomes a de facto foreign secretary. By our collective silence, we’re bowing to dictators who scapegoat for the profit in blood lust.

    As for “The courts are equally at fault. They have accepted resolutions as substitutes for declarations . . .,” is there a difference between a resolution and a declaration of war other than in name only? Isn’t this a nonjusticiable political question? If not, how could Senate delay in advice and consent to nominate Merrick Garland have been nonjusticiable?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_question

    1. I think in this day and age, with such efficient communications and travel, a declaration of war should be required and should be approved by the various States Much like an Constitutional Amendment. The true will of the people cannot be served in any other way.

      1. That would take a while though, when expedited action might be needed. For instance, if the President reasonable believes that in 24 hours Kim Jong-un will pull the switch on a nuclear missile aimed at the USS Ronald Reagan at its home port of Yokosuka naval base, does he have the power to defend or does he have to get approval by the various states much like a constitutional amendment?

        1. Steve,

          I need to look this up but I think the president can take an emergency action. What he can’t do is keep a kinetic action going on for years, decades, etc.

          HSJ has an idea that could work. It could put some brakes on executive war mongering and Congressional cowardice. The federal govt. appears to be a lost cause to me. I’m not sure the state solution would work as state “leadership” draws from much of the same pool of corrupt idiots as the feds, but maybe its worth trying?

          1. Jill, the War Powers Act provides for this, but it’s not a declaration of war, and provides too much potential for abuse. Could textualists and originalists reasonably argue that a generalized resolution or statute like the WPA is a constitutionally unequivocal declaration of war allowing the president to both defend an attack on the country and then turn around and be the aggressor in attacking country after country like a laundry list of presidents have done?

            For instance, what about something like, “The president shall have the power to attack any country or identifiable group of individuals the President determines to be an imminent threat to national security”? Is this a declaration of war as opposed to something like this:

            President Roosevelt formally requested the declaration in his Infamy Speech, addressed to a joint session of Congress and the nation at 12:30 p.m. on December 8. The declaration was quickly brought to a vote; it passed the Senate, and then passed the House at 1:10 p.m. The vote was 82 – 0 in the Senate and 388 – 1 in the House.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_declaration_of_war_on_Japan

            1. I believe one of the reasons the feds are reluctant to declare war, as opposed to simply taking actions with operational labels, is that in declaring war means that certain obligations must be adhered in both the prosecution and rebuilding of the attacked nation, for better or worse.

              1. That is a very generous benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest their principles extend beyond what is necessary to secure their reelection.

              2. There are some downstream consequences of a formal declaration of war (re the domestic scene) which are not triggered by a mere resolution. You still have assumed obligations under various conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners. I’m not sure who you fancy got a raw deal for the absence of a declaration of war.

            2. Steve,

              Wars of aggression are war crimes. Technically, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump could be tried as war criminals right now. That won’t happen because they are too connected to jail but it would be legally correct to arrest them for war crimes.

              I’m hoping Mike A. will write in about this. I’m certain he would know the legal ins and outs here. Darren is correct in what he said. Calling a war a kinetic action doesn’t relieve you of these legal obligations. Let’s hope Mike responds because he would be one of the best people to address the issues you raise.

              1. Wars of aggression are war crimes. T

                This is a nonsense statement.

            3. It’s only been honored twice Bush 1 for Kuwait and Bush 2 for Iraq.The Democrats who put the Act in place have consistently ignored it’s existence. A non political comment. Check your life and health insurance type policies many used to if not still do exclude payout if a war was declared.

        2. Yes, he has the power and the Constitutional duty to preserve, protect, and defend. However; the war mongers aka as the M.I.C. are pumping out propaganda against N.Korea day and night, and Trump appears to be taking the bait. Won’t be surprising if another Pearl Harbor is being ginned up.

          What makes this scary is that China is something of an ally of N.Korea.

          The 99% would fall in love with Trump if he announced and followed thru with a commitment to create and maintain good relations with other countries, cut the Defense budget 50%, and forged ahead with realistic actions to make America great.

            1. anon, The Fed’s economic schemes have basically failed and they need the war as political cover. It’s not Trump, it’s the entire Federal Reserve Banking System that’s needs cover. Trump is just the hatchet man.

            2. Now there is a forceful answer demonstrating a will to win and that alone should make the troops impervious to body bagitis. Hey Hey LBJ how many tweets did you retweet to day. What is this slogans for wussies day?

  13. Being soft on terrorism is like being soft on Communism back in the Korean and Vietnam days. LBJ did not really wanna go to Nam but he did not want to be called a commie weeny by the likes of Joe McCarthy. Now we have the Koch Brothers. Since the Islamic State is really not a state then we don’t have to declare war. Just keep going after em where ever they are. Next stop is Vietnam.

  14. The Military Industrial Complex needs all you folks on board. That is why they invented the water board. Concentration camps are needed not only in Poland but in NY City. Head em up, roll em out. Rawhide!

  15. (music- to Country Joe and the Fish song)
    And its one, two three, what are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn.
    Next stops Afghanistan.
    And its five six seven, open up the Pearl Gates!
    Ain’t no time to wonder why….
    Whoppee we’re all gonna die!

  16. This is a well argued column. We clearly see the Executive is no longer recognizable as a Constitutional branch of govt. This is also true of Congress and most of the judiciary. In other words, our Constitution is not functioning.

    There is something else that should be noted. Austerity does not mean austerity. These kinetic actions cost trillions of dollars. Mass world surveillance costs trillions of dollars. This shows the values of those who really control our nation. They are not conservatives, they are not liberals, they are deep state crony capitalists who value only money and power. They will kill anyone, including all living things if necessary and take the last widow’s mite before their “work” implodes due to its own lack of sustainability.

    As a people, we must choose a different path. We need to value life. If we don’t, certainly life will perish right along with justice.

    1. Good to see you finally catch on. Suggestion: Start using the terms “crony fascists”, because that is more truthful of those who control our nation state.

      We do not have a free market capitalist nation anymore, not by any real standards if you understand that not even the money is free market derived. All industries are highly regulated and taxed, as are the activities of all individuals, save those in real power. If you include the greatly increased militarization and police powers, that is the underlying foundation of fascism, not capitalism. Capitalism is the unfettered free market and the minimization/restraint of government. We are highly fettered, Lol and our Federal Government’s ANNUAL budget alone is $3.9 Trillion and we are quickly nearing the $20 trillion total indebtedness mark.

      1. HSB,

        I hate to break this to you but I’ve been onto this for years! Why say this at all? It doesn’t add to your argument! Your’s is a libertarian POV. I don’t share it, but I think anyone who carefully looks at this nation realizes we have crony capitalism!

  17. “Standing” – that pernicious excuse used by the courts to stop unwelcome legal initiatives by citizens – also used to deny justice to the unprotected, when an adverse ruling might embarrass the powerful.

    1. No. ‘Standing’ refers to the right of a party to bring a cause of action. You don’t have a franchise to sue me because you fancy I mistreat my house pets. You’re not an interested party.

  18. What is curious, however, is how the supporters of such textualism and formalism are largely silent this week as the Trump administration is planning to send more troops into Syria and to intervene in Yemen … all without the declaration of war required by the text of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    1. The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

    2. Congress appropriates the money for these operations.

    3. The constitution vests in Congress the function of declaring war and issuing letters of marque and reprisal. What it does not do is state explicitly that all military operations are under the rubric of ‘war’. You could argue they should be, but you’d need the case law to ascertain where the president’s exercise of his powers as commander-in-chief crosses a line which requires a Congressional warrant.

    4. We have not been in a state of general mobilization since 1945. Neither have we been in anything resembling one since 1954.

    5. Judges are less foolish than law professors, and that includes realizing that judicial interference in foreign policy is likely to be unjust and imprudent when you add it all up.

    1. I would suggest that our leadership is no longer subscribing to the will of the governed. You can make all the excuses your want. That’s is what they do as well.

      WMD’s = Weapons of mass disinformation
      The Domino Effect = socialist/communists/fascists/progressives gaining more and more power by denying more and more individual property rights with unlimited powers.

  19. There is nothing the ruling oligarchs hate more than libertarians like Rand Paul and why both sides of the isle hate him and always demonize the slightest things he says or does. He is even demonized on the TV show, Alpha House, I kid you not by the liberals in Hollywood. That should give you an indication that there are many warmongers on both sides of the isle. Our military budget is larger than the next largest 11 countries military budgets “COMBINED”, so we can cut the crap out of it and still be protected despite the lies coming from the demopublican warmongers and their lame stream media. If you understand the guns or butter model, you will surely understand why we now have 100,000,000 people living at or near the poverty line. Pretty simple math if you can get around all the zeros you have to deal with.

    The peace generation of the 1960s stopped the Vietnam War and I assure you it wasn’t the ones that grew up and control our policies today. If you sit back and do nothing, this is going to end real ugly because another even more devastating boom and bust cycle will occur. We have done nothing and there is nothing that is being planned by the ruling oligarchy that will change the tides. The various government budgets have to be significantly reduced as well as overall taxes.

    Good luck because as they say, everybody knows the budget has to be cut, they just want it to be somebody else’s. We almost need to go to another tax revolt to stop the tyrants. They just ignore everything else and lie to us even more to get elected.

    1. The peace generation of the 1960s stopped the Vietnam War and I assure you it wasn’t the ones that grew up and control our policies today.

      It did nothing of the kind. The VietNam War ‘stopped’ in 1975 because North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam, the Khmer Rouges seized Cambodia, and the Pathet Lao seized Laos. The contribution of cretins like Tom Hayden made was to induce the Democratic Congressional caucus to refuse air support for the South Vietnam Army in 1975. It was purely and gratuitously destructive.

    2. Your number at the poverty line, are you including value of food stamps, housing assistance, etc? We take care of our poor.

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