Congress Disturbed By Trump’s ‘Act Of War;’ Demand Long Term Plan For Syria

Unfortunately, the procedure by which the United States goes to war has become very ambiguous. Though the Constitution states that “Congress shall have power to … declare War” it does not clearly state how it ought to go about using that power. On well over 100 occasions a sitting president has taken military action without officially calling it a ‘war’ and without asking Congress for an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). Though such actions are often controversial, they are still fairly common throughout American history.

For instance, back in 2013 when Barack Obama was president, many objected to the actions he took in Syria. They did so for exactly the same reasons some are taking issue with President Trump’s actions on a Syrian air base today. That is, because they believe the Constitution demands that Congress weigh in on all acts of war and help to set the goals, scopes and time and resource limits for the conflict.

At least two members of Congress tweeted a quote from James Madison which explains the reasoning behind this nuance of American military policy:

In fact, this seems to have been the reason Donald Trump opposed former President Obama’s actions in Syria 4 years ago:

One could easily ask the same question to Trump’s administration. The US missile attacks carried out over Al Shayrat airfield in Syria did cost millions, were largely symbolic and were done without official approval from Congress.

Some Republicans had to do an about-face on the issue, including Mitch McConnell, who seems to be quite comfortable arguing the exact opposite points he argued only a few years ago when his political opponents had most of the power. While others joined Democrats in expressing concerns about the attack, Trump’s plans for Syria and his willingness to act unilaterally.

In other words, given Trump’s performance on other matters Congress is at least less willing to simply rubber stamp anything the administration feels like bombing. And some have even speculated that the gesture was simply intended to make Trump seem to be at odds with Putin, without actually removing Assad.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images (click to view).
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