George W. Bush won the presidency pledging a dose of “humility” in our foreign policy and forswearing the temptation to rebuild failed foreign states. But after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . followed by even more deadly and difficult nation-building efforts.
Presidential powers expanded.
Along came Barack Obama, the peace candidate. His advantage in winning the 2008 Democratic Party nomination was his unequivocal opposition to the Iraq War. Meanwhile, then-Senator, now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had voted to give Bush congressional approval to launch that war.
During the campaign, Obama recognized constitutional limits on the commander-in-chief: “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.”
And then last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, “Do you think that you can act, without Congress, and initiate a no-fly zone in Syria, without congressional approval?”
“Our goal would be to seek international permission,” Panetta replied, and then added, “and we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this.”
A republic? America goes to war on the order of one man: Emperor Obama.
But empires change. Past empires rarely asked foreign permission for their military adventures.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.