No One Person Should Wield the Power of War

Today, the White House—at least through its press security—defended its policies in Libya, claiming no need to consult the House or Senate as the president is not declaring war against Libya.

As CNN reported today:

“We are not engaged in militarily-driven regime change,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Instead, the administration is engaged in “time-limited, scope-limited” action with other countries to protect civilians from forces loyal to strongman Moammar Gadhafi. (CNN, March 24, 2011)

Is the Executive of the United States granted the constitutional power of a “time-limited, scope-limited” action?  As I read the constitution (and I read it rather literally), it states that ONLY Congress has the power to declare war in Article I.  Article II states that the president is commander in chief when the armed forces have been called into service.

So, is it war or not in Libya?  Simply because Obama has no clear objective in fighting this “time-limited, scope-limited” action, should we simply give him a pass and let him use the military—manned by our children and neighbors, our precious national assets—for his ego, his will to power?  From what I can tell, especially when Obama called in the orders to attack while traveling in Brazil, he gave no real reasons or justification for adding yet another war (or whatever you want to call it) to the two in which we’re already engaged, not to mention our defending countries throughout the world at this point with our post-WWII and Cold War bases.

Here’s the damage so far (as of Thursday afternoon, March 24, 2011):

For one thing, the fight is intensifying, not dropping off. On Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition flew 60 sorties over Libya; Monday it flew nearly 80; on Wednesday it flew 175. At this moment, American pilots are bombing and shooting at Gadhafi’s armor and artillery units on the outskirts of Libyan cities. Off the shores of Libya, a bevy of Navy ships and subs have launched over 160 Tomahawk missiles. (Daniel Larison, Obama Administration Lies at Dan McCarthy’s site,

Yesterday, in a move that can only be applauded from a constitutional standpoint, the Speaker of the House sent a reasonable and diplomatic (far more diplomatic than I am capable of; there’s a reason why I’m not in politics—well, ok, probably several reasons) letter to president.

Frankly, from any constitutional perspective, the Speaker of the House has far more right to be discussing war and military action than does the executive of the United States.

Since that haberdasher from Missouri sat in the White House, Congress has almost completely handed over its authority to make war to the President.

This must stop.  And, it must stop as soon as possible.

As the Founding Fathers very well understood, no single man or woman (or a cabinet) can be trusted with such power.  The decision to make war must be decided by a people as a whole, and this can only be done through a sovereign legislature.

If the members of the House show some backbone and attack the president for his actions in Libya, will they be called and denounced as mere partisans?  Of course.  Does it matter?  The truth is the truth.  I’d rather the Republicans go down for the right reasons than subsist by half-truths and lies and mediocrity and compromise and. . . and . . . .  The Roman Republic fell because men refused to act as men.  Is our republic any different, any better?  Has our human nature changed, advanced, progressed since 43bc?

Of course not.  Fallen men will behave in fallen ways.  Recognizing this is one of the first and most important steps to the restraint of pride.

It is possible to oppose the war against Libya while remaining politically non-partisan and still loving America?

As to the former question, if partisan politics serves to protect the Constitution, Amen.

As to the latter question, I’m not sure it’s possible to love America and still support the actions in Libya—at least as they’re currently being decided upon and executed.  If war is necessary, then let the American people decide through their elected representatives and senators as set forth in our Constitution.

God bless the troops who have made the decision to defend our republic by joining the military, and may His hand guide them safely through this current action.



13 thoughts on “No One Person Should Wield the Power of War

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