America 101: A Brief War Powers Refresher
It’s the mission of DailyClout to help everyone everywhere demystify, understand, and then take charge of democracy. That’s a nonpartisan mission.
In term of America, regarding the recent strike on Syria, we are reminding everyone in this little refresher, what our Founders decided, when it came to our making war. They set up our system so that the decision was always that of the people, and not any leader. Not even any military leader..
The Founders ensured that only Congress had war powers; and that Congress was to be answerable to the electors.
In a time of “Mission Accomplished” and urgent headlines, it is easy to forget that no Commander in Chief, no party, no military leaders and no administration has the power in America to declare war.
Read — or read again — about YOUR “war powers” below. If you are a US citizen, YOU are supposed to decide, ultimately, the foreign policy of the United States.
These are your war powers:
“The Congress shall have Power To . . . provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”
—U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clause 1
“The Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules conquering 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”
—U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clauses 11–16
Takeaways — no appropriation that YOU allocate to your Members of Congress for war and the support of armies, can be used for more than two years. YOU instruct your Representative about decisions regarding war and peace. You have the power and the right to remove your Representative if he or she does not follow your guidance regarding decisions around war and peace. And the Constitution does not allow your Representative to hand over the decisionmaking power to anyone else — not to military leaders, not to the Army or the Navy, not even to the Commander in Chief.
Whatever you decide about military intervention anywhere in the world, please keep in mind that if anyone tries to tell you that the power to engage in combat or in attack resides with any other sector or individual but yourself and the constituents directing your Representatives — he or she is misinforming you.
Decide for yourself about what to do with your war powers — it is your democracy.
America 101, brought to you by DailyClout.io