Yet another illegal war

Published Brownsville Herald March 28, 2011
President Obama recently started another illegal war. We’ve already had several such wars in Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly secretly elsewhere, that are drawing a great price in our dead children and the financial costs that have already pushed our poor financial condition to the brink.
The president has taken the further acts of war by just sending forces against Libya, stirring up another war so he can be a war president, too.
Congress has been trying to get our fiscal future in order. Is that over? It appears that in the flash of brilliance that recently hit Washington, our “rulers” might actually have moved our nation closer to a crisis that we might not recover from.
What exactly are our ultimate objectives? To stop Moammar Gadhafi’s violence against civilians? Splitting the country between the Gadhafi-held west and rebel-dominated east? Or the total and immediate end of Gadhafi’s four-decade rule? But there’s another big, unanswered question about our war in Libya that might help explain the first: Who is in charge?
None of the wars has been actually been requested by the president. None has specifically been approved by Congress, although it continues to fund them.
In recent times the more the public sees of the reality, Pandora’s Box pops open and the war is out; a revulsion at the horrors of war should lead to a public demand for immediate resolution but has not. We have lost our sense of saneness as the state of horror has become a part of life, just as it has in the video games and movie choices. The costs of surrender and the likelihood of quickly negotiated settlements coming back again and again have been accepted as serious considerations over and over again. Everything is decided in terms of the next election and how officials look by then.
We can also see that in the polarization of the country; the conflict has gained a life of its own and is aggravated by the personal goals of the media and politicians. This national divisiveness is a weakening of our nation and its defenses and in part a success for our enemy.
War only ends when one side clearly loses the ability to prosecute it; otherwise the war just continues to flare up.
A much more acceptable choice is not to go to war, but if necessary as a last resort we must learn from the successes of the past and the follies of the more recent past.
Let’s help all our military men and women become veterans, not casualties of war — especially a war that was built on lies and fought on questionable terms. Then they can live long, fruitful lives filled with parades and other signs of a nation’s gratitude.
All of these wars are questionable because Congress never declared them specifically, and the president did not request a declaration specifying what we were going to do and how we would know it was over.
The War Powers Act of 1973 passed by Congress over the veto of then-President Nixon guarantees no accountability for the decisions that can have such a horrendous impact on us folks.
The act requires the president only to report to Congress any introduction of U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities, and when submitted requires that the use of forces must be terminated within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes such use or extends the time period. It also mandates that the “President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing” U.S. armed forces into real or imminent hostilities. After that, so long as Congress keeps authorizing money the war keeps on. Congress can keep providing the funding “for the troops” and avoid any responsibility the decision.
Currently there is no requirement for a request by the president that justifies a declaration of war. Congress also is not required to declare its sentiments with a vote, so its members don’t have to take any responsibility either. In fact, there probably has not been a legitimate military action since World War II, were the issue to be considered by the Supreme Court.
This open door for bureaucrats to start wars is unacceptable. Unfortunately, I see no great improvement for the future when the party that passed the War Powers Act is in power.
We need to let the Congress and the president hear that we are tired of being taken from one horror to another without any accountability.
Nothing less than a presidential request for a declaration of war and the requirement that every living member of Congress must vote only yes or no can be acceptable.
We also need a law that would make any official who provides false or misleading information to Congress or the public to affect the decision be charged with war crimes. The cost of war has reached the point where our revenues don’t sustain us and our nation is in jeopardy. What little confidence can we have in our rulers today when our “hearts” go off to war in the bodies of our children, that those responsible made the decision more for the protection of “the folks” than just for themselves?