Diary

Syria and the Constitution

I am not a foreign policy expert.  I am not an expert on the Constitution either.  However, for Constitutional conservatives I think we should probably be a little more hesitant on any involvement in Syria.  Taking a look through Article I Section 8 we see that Congress has the power:

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

In Article 2 Section 2 we see that the President “shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;”

I personally find the way conservatives completely ignore these sections a little disturbing.  We consider the President the Commander in Chief at all times rather than when called into the actual Service of the United States.  You see, according to the constitution the President does not have the authority to call the Army, Navy, or Militias into actual service.  He is also not the Commander in Chief until they are called.  Congress is not to call them out except to execute the laws, suppress insurrection, or repel invasions.  Congress has abdicated almost all of its military authority and has reduced itself to simply paying for whatever the President wants, and the President is considered the continual Commander in Chief.  While war is still declared by the Congress that has happened only once since WWII.  How many conflicts have we been involved in?  Far more than declared wars, or issued Letters of Marque.  Why do we get involved in conflicts? It is not to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections or repel Invasions.  Might there be a valid interest in Syria?  Yes there might, but before our military is committed I think there ought to be a valid discussion, and a declaration of War against someone in particular with an objective in mind.  However, as a Constitutionalist I don’t see how involvement in Syria executes our laws, suppresses an insurrection, or repels and invasion.

Why do conservatives accept executive overreach in regards to military when we reject it in regards to immigration?  Why do we accept the executive branch as the sole authority on military when we reject executive claims to the power of the purse?  If we do not like the military restraints imposed by the constitution shouldn’t we propose making changes rather than simply ignoring the restraints?  Perhaps my view is naive, but even so shouldn’t we still advocate an amendment explicitly granting the desired authority to the President instead of accepting overreach?