April 12, 2011
Why the Framers Were Right About War
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "Criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government." -- Robert Taft (Republican Senator, 1939-53)

I sent the following letter to Congress about the Libya intervention. If you agree, please send your own letter to Congress.

You may copy or borrow from what I wrote . . .

Congress needs a debate on Libya and Presidential war powers IMMEDIATELY.

The Libya War is further proof that the Constitution's Framers were correct to vest the war making power in Congress, NOT the President. The President's Commander-in-Chief powers do NOT empower him to go to war at his own choosing. He is only permitted to execute wars AFTER Congress declares them.

Last week Senator Rand Paul offered a resolution about this, but the Senate tabled it. I can understand this on procedural grounds because the resolution was going to be attached to an unrelated bill. Fine. But now the resolution should be considered as a stand-alone item, and passed by BOTH chambers of Congress. The resolution reads . . .    

"It is the sense of the Senate, that 'The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation'"

President Obama said those very same words in 2007. He was right then. He's wrong now.

As the NY Times reports, "The administration's argument centers on the idea that hostilities of limited nature, scope and duration do not rise to the level of a 'war' that would trigger Congress's powers under the Constitution."

This position makes no sense . . .

* If another country tried to enforce a "No Fly Zone" on the United States, we would surely view it as an act of war
* Because the U.S. doesn't know if the rebels can overthrow Qaddafi by themselves, the conflict is clearly of an uncertain duration
* Gen. Carter Ham said the use of ground troops is a possibility -- more evidence that the war is of an uncertain nature and scope  

Moreover . . .

* The United States is broke and can't afford another war, even if it is "limited"
* Obama's claim that Qaddafi was intent on slaughtering non-rebels is dubious at best

Also, the unintended consequences of war can be far-reaching . . .

* Over-matched rebels are already becoming angry that NATO isn't helping them enough. Will this "good deed" go un-punished?
* A North Korea official suggests that "the West had duped Libya into disarming its nuclear program in 2003 and then attacked it when it could no longer defend itself," implying that more small countries should get a nuclear deterrent.

It appears that the Obama Administration didn't think through these issues before going to war. That's why no one person should make the decision to go to war, and that's why the President must be accountable to Congress. YOU have the responsibility to correct Obama's Libya mistake.

I INSIST that you . . .

* Pass Rand Paul's resolution
* Tell the President that the best solution to the stated purpose of protecting civilians is to support Qadaffi's offer of a cease fire
* De-fund the War on Libya


You can send your letter using's Educate the Powerful System

And if you missed yesterday's Downsizer-Dipsatch, please check out "Can You Afford Wars of Choice at the Downsize DC Foundation.

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director

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