End Congress Abdication of War-Making; Drone Strikes; President Is Asking to Be Reined in, and Our Representatives Should Do Just That; OTHER VIEWS

By Tobias T Gibson; Anna E Holyan | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

End Congress Abdication of War-Making; Drone Strikes; President Is Asking to Be Reined in, and Our Representatives Should Do Just That; OTHER VIEWS


Tobias T Gibson; Anna E Holyan, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


One of the things weve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any presidents reined in, in terms of some of the decisions that were making.

President Barack Obama

creating a legal structure, processes, with oversight checks on how we use unmanned weapons, is going to be a challenge for me and my successors for some time to come.

President Barack Obama

Missouri residents must take notice of the news last week of the leaked Office of Legal Counsels white paper in which the Obama administrations view that it can kill American citizens, without judicial due process, was revealed. Political pundits have taken this legal view to task since it has become public. Because there are many civil liberties issues at stake, it has become apparent that Congress needs to reinsert itself in the nations war-making.

Congress has declared war five times, but not since World War II. In the wake of perceived abuses by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian theater of war in the 1960s and 1970s, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution. The purpose of the resolution was to rein in the war-making power of the imperial president. Many scholars argue that the unintended consequence of the resolution was to allow the president a two- month window to engage militarily without congressional oversight.

In more recent years, Congress has allowed the president to engage in a global war on terror with little to no oversight of the war effort. This laissez faire attitude led to two presidents expanding a war, and the current president to literally dismiss the War Powers Resolution in Libya in 2011. The Obama administration argued that the United States was not involved in hostilities that would trigger requirements of the resolution that the president seek congressional approval for continued operations.

Although individual members of Congress expressed their concerns about Obama ignoring the statutory constraints, as an institution Congress remained flaccid in its response. For too long, no matter which party was in the Oval Office, Congress has been sidelined in the nations war efforts. …

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