Exercising their authority
Last week, President Donald Trump announced that the United States had launched missile strikes against Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by that nation’s government on civilians in a Damascus suburb.
However, the news of the operation has drawn criticism from a Republican representing the Tri-State.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, whose district covers the northeast portion of the Bluegrass State, including Ashland, questioned whether the president had the authority to launch the strike without backing from Congress.
Referencing the international partners in the operation, Massie posted on Twitter, “I haven’t read France’s or Britain’s “Constitution,” but I’ve read ours and no where in it is Presidential authority to strike Syria.”
Massie has a valid point, regarding how military operations are decided.
The U.S. Constitution grants the president power to declare war and the president, as commander in chief, is then tasked with directing a war.
However, for the past several decades, presidents of both parties have not followed this, instead operating around authorizations of force or allowing presidents to launch limited operations and justifying them under prior authorizations.
In fact, the last time Congress declared a war was in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once warned the public of the growth of “the military-industrial complex,” fearing the drive to war could dominate the government.
As Massie said, it takes 218 people in the House to raise a concern and this rarely has been the case since World War II.
Regardless of the how their politics align with any particular president, a predecessor or whoever will follows in office, Congress needs to fulfill its role with regards to our military and demand more oversight.
The volatile situation of the world demands that all military operations be considered carefully and properly approved.