Now that it sounds like President Barack Obama is moving towards direct involvement in the war in Syria it is critically important for Congress to do their duty by weighing in officially.
There is no immediate and pressing danger to Americans, which means there is time to take the issue to Congress, so it must be taken to Congress.
At this moment I don’t want to debate the relative “evilness” of the different factions in Syria or if involvement in a war could even advance our stated goals. Right now I only want to discuss the law and the need to uphold the principles of the Constitution.
One thing the Constitution wisely did was give the war making power to Congress. It is an important and necessary check on the Presidents far-reaching powers as commander-in-chief.
Sadly, as our recent involvement in the war in Libya showed, the President and most of Congress see this important constitutional duty as a quaint artifact that no longer needs to be followed. As a people, though, we shouldn’t accept lawlessness purely for political expediency. If members of Congress are afraid to take the big important votes they don’t deserve to be in office.
Once is precedent, twice is a pattern, and after multiple times it becomes an expected norm. That would be a tragedy. Obama has already left this critical part of the Constitution in tatters. We shouldn’t accept it being completely shredded and that happens if the public stops demanding our government follow the rules.
If we are going to become militarily involved in yet another sovereign nation I demand it is done according to the Constitution. If Congress isn’t willing to vote for it then it shouldn’t happen.
Photo by Mr.TinDC under Creative Commons license