Words from the founding fathers

Words from the founding fathers

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 8:02 pm
By: Nathan Castleman, Guest Columnist

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states that only Congress has the power “To declare War, grant Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

 Like him or not, President George W. Bush did go before Congress before the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and receive a resolution from them before committing troops to war.  Before doing so, he had a strategy and the resolve to stay in it to win it.  

Things didn’t always work out that way, but he had resolve and shared it with those around him, and the country as a whole. He was the leader. He never wavered from his convictions.

 Now on to President Obama. What kind of leadership has he shown? We could look at his response to other crises. How long did it take him to respond to the Gulf oil spill, supporting the student uprisings in Iran and the crises in Japan?  

How many stands did he take with the uprising in Egypt and now in Libya?  In Libya it was “Muammar Gaddafi must go” until our President got his marching orders from the Arab League and the UN.  

Now his stance is that we are only there for humanitarian issues. If that wasn’t bad enough, he sends our military in without a defined entrance or exit strategy and without getting consent from Congress who has the power according to the Constitution to declare war.  According to the War Powers Resolution of 1973: 

In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced  

(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances; 

(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or 

(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; 

the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth  

(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces; 

(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and 

(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement. 

It seems once again, the rules don’t apply to this President.

There are a lot of changes going on in the Middle East. We need to be thinking ahead with a plan and not just reacting, and worse just following the lead of others. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the US expects to turn control of the military mission over to a coalition (headed by who?).  The coalition has not stated specific goals for the operation. 

Even the UN’s mandate is extremely broad.  Just hours into the attack, support from the Arab League was changing.  

Their secretary said, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.” How far does protecting civilians go when our military is putting their lives on the line.  

Now the President is considering handing our troops over to a “political steering committee” (proposed by the French) instead of being in charge of them ourselves.  

If you’re not going to lead, let’s get someone in the White House who will.  You know the President is in trouble when leaders from the left and the right come together against his leadership.  It seems that he’s back to his tactics of when he was in the Senate – voting present instead of being engaged. To quote Brit Hume, “This is not leadership, this is followership.” 

To quote Senator Obama (Dec 2007) – “ “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.  

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. 

History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.  

What happened to his convictions?

 I can’t help but recall the billboards with the picture of George W. Bush with the words – Miss me yet?  

Like him or not, he was a decisive leader and one that other leaders around the world knew where he stood.

Send me your comments by e-mail to foundingwords@yahoo.com.

wcp 3/24/11

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