House Democrats, after not learning their lesson about how impeachment backfired on them worse than Wile E. Coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, took another step towards trying to rein in President Donald Trump’s powers in the aftermath of the Iran attack. After not being briefed before the President launched the attack that took out Iran’s number 2 military leader (now he’s numbers 2 through 1 billion), the House passed a non-binding resolution that would forbid the President from blowing up more Iranian terrorists without Congressional approval. This was done under the auspices of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, also called the War Powers Act.
Although the War Powers Act (I’ll call it that for the rest of the piece because it’s shorter and I like it) has been used in a handful of situations since its inception, people, and most notably our elected officials, still don’t quite understand it in full. Even your humble correspondent had to do a bit of research on it to make sure I understood it, and if I can do it, people who get paid to write laws can do it (hopefully).
And with that being said, let’s get right into it.
the War Powers Act
What the Left thinks it means – a Congressional check on the President to avoid getting us into wars Congress doesn’t approve
What it really means – a bad idea made worse by partisan bickering
In short, the War Powers Act gives the President the authority to enter a military conflict for a limited amount of time before Congress needs to declare war and, in exchange, the President has to brief Congress within 48 hours of any military action. In the recent Iran situation, only one of the conditions was met, that being the military action. As far as the briefing, one could argue they were informally briefed by the media covering the action, but a formal briefing wasn’t offered. That angered House Democrats because…well, I’m not completely sure. Given how some Democrats were upset that President Trump didn’t act sooner, you would think they would be happy we finally did something.
And they were…kinda. But that’s a blog for another time.
The point here is President Trump is now under the microscope again for attacking Iran after they attacked our embassy and may have planned further actions against Americans in the region. We can argue the ethics of what happened all we want, but there is one thing that is crystal clear: President Trump was authorized to take action under the War Powers Act without getting Congress to sign off on it.
I can understand why the President may not have wanted to let Congress about his Iran attack ahead of time. Between the leakers, the Muslim sympathizers, and the general dullards, I wouldn’t trust them with my junior high locker combination, let alone something like information about a missile strike. Even after they were briefed, Congressional Democrats weren’t satisfied with the information and said there wasn’t enough persuasive information that Iran was going to attack again. Of course, the 40 years of Iran yelling “Death tp America” might have been a hint, but hey.
Although I believe the President was legally authorized under the War Powers Act to take action against Iran, I have to say it’s bad law because of how it circumvents the Constitution and cheapens the act of war. The President is the Commander in Chief, meaning he controls the military. Congress, on the other hand, has the authority to declare war. By allowing the President to engage in war-like activities, even if it’s done in the name of protecting us, Congress’ role in the process of war is negated. What good is getting Congressional approval to engage an enemy if the President can order an engagement prior to even talking to Congress? It’s like giving your credit card to a shopaholic for a week before setting limits to his or her spending. You know, like Congress does with our tax dollars.
What’s more, the War Powers Act ignores the human toll of war (or pre-war if you will). For every death or injury, every father or mother deployed under it, every family that is disrupted even temporarily, the War Powers Act doesn’t justify it. If we are going to strike at an enemy, it has to be done under the auspices of an actual declaration of war, not a 60-90 day window that can be extended with a Congressional vote. Not only is that far too late in the process for my tastes, it’s disrespectful to the men and women of our military and their families. We owe it to them to have the courage to put forth a united front against an acknowledged enemy.
And that’s impossible in the current political climate. Between the two poles, there is a lot of moral posturing and hatred that prevents the sober analysis of the facts necessary to declare war. Just look at the number of Leftists who blamed Trump for Iran taking down a commercial airliner because they claim it wouldn’t have happened if President Trump hadn’t acted. There’s an entire ideological side determined to blame the President for every ill and the facts be damned. And there’s an entire ideological side determined to defend the President, also with a facts be damned attitude. Meanwhile, those of us in the middle are getting exhausted trying to reason with both sides to try to get us all on the same page. As it stands, we’re not even reading the same book in the same language, which makes the likelihood of getting people to rally behind a common enemy like Iran pointless and impossible.
Which makes the War Powers Act one of the most dangerous laws on the books right now.