Kaines Quest for War Legitimacy ; Proposed Legislation Would Require Presidents to Consult Congress

By Will, George | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Kaines Quest for War Legitimacy ; Proposed Legislation Would Require Presidents to Consult Congress


Will, George, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


WASHINGTON The Revolutionary War and Civil War ended in Virginia, which was involved, by the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, in the beginning of todays war with radical Islam. Now a Virginia senator is determined that todays war shall not continue indefinitely without the legitimacy conferred by congressional involvement congruent with the Constitutions text and history.

Tim Kaine, former Richmond mayor, former governor and former national chairman of the Democratic Party, represents the distressingly small minority of legislators interested in crafting an authorization for use of military force (AUMF). This is easier vowed than accomplished.

Kaines interest in Congress role in the making of war quickened in October 2002, when President George W. Bush, on the eve of midterm elections, sought an AUMF regarding Iraq, even though the invasion was not imminent.

The University of Virginias Miller Center released the report of the National War Powers Commission, co-chaired by former Secretaries of State James Baker and Warren Christopher. It recommended a new codification of the allocation of war powers between the president and Congress.

On Sept. 7, President Obama said he was going on the offensive against the Islamic State. In August, he had gone beyond protection of threatened consular staff at Erbil, an emergency presidential responsibility requiring no congressional authorization.

When, however, he unilaterally undertook, also in August, military action to protect a dam about 80 miles from Erbil, Congress, with the lassitude of an uninvolved spectator, did not express itself. Instead, it recessed unusually early, seven weeks before the 2014 elections.

Such dereliction of duty, Kaine says, is as unacceptable as pretending that the AUMF of Sept. 18, 2001, suffices to regulate presidential war-making discretion in the current context. Lacking both temporal and geographic limits, it authorized force against those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks or harbored such organizations or persons.

The Islamic State did not exist then and today is a hostile rival to al-Qaeda. Even while the Twin Towers and Pentagon still smoldered, Congress rightly rejected language authorizing force to deter and preempt any future terrorism or aggression.

While now claiming to need no authorization beyond that of 2001, Obama suggests an AUMF that would permit military action against the Islamic State and associated forces, which would include any group, anywhere, seeking a charisma injection by claiming adherence to the Islamic State. …

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