When it comes to war, the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare it and makes the President the commander-in-chief to wage the war. Of course, the Constitution has long been ignored in this area and congressional power handed over to the executive branch.
When the United States fought in Korea and Vietnam tens of thousands of American boys gave their lives without Congress ever taking political responsibility by declaring war. It seems strange that while Congress began to fill with career politicians, they were willing to trade away their congressional power to avoid responsibility.
Congress, the branch of government our Founders gave the power over issues of war, has become silent on foreign policy. One Capitol Hill newspaper asked the question: “Should Congress have a voice on Kosovo?” One response came from columnist Robert Novak, who said:
“We have lost the Constitution’s clear mandate that only the Congress has the power ‘to declare war.’ Declarations of war long ago became passe , and now a president dispatches remote-control weapons without congressional approval. Such awesome power is magnified when the United States is the last superpower accountable to nobody in the world. This cries out for input by Congress. The president cannot make minor changes in Medicare or farm supports without congressional approval but can wage wars around the world on his own. That is hardly what the Founding Fathers envisioned.”
The Founders envisioned a Congress of citizen statesmen, not one of career politicians afraid of their constitutional responsibility.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.