South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham recently proposed a bill that is in clear violation of the Constitution.
His bill would give the President the power to fight ISIS “whenever, wherever, and however.” But the President is not a king; Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution says that Congress shall have the power “To declare war.” Congress and Congress alone may constitutionally declare war. The President has the power to direct and command troops after an official declaration of war, per Article 2, Section 2; but he does not have the power to declare war.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said: “This resolution is a total rewrite of the war powers clause of the United States Constitution. Let’s be clear about that. It is essentially a declaration of international martial law, a sweeping transfer of military power to the president that will allow him or her to send U.S. troops almost anywhere in the world for almost any reason with absolutely no limitations.”
One of the most devastating attacks on the checks and balances of our Constitution was when in 2002, Congress voted to give the President the power to declare war on Iraq. In fact, the last Constitutional war was World War II; the so called “wars” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and the Persian Gulf were simply Congress giving the President the authorization to invade countries without officially declaring war. These technically illegal “wars” caused the death of over 119,000 American citizens.
We certainly should have learned our lesson after 119,000 innocent lives have been lost in the Middle East and beyond. While I am no friend of ISIS, I cannot see our country crumble into a monarchy, with the President being able to order Americans to go and fight in violation of the Constitution. Only Congress can declare war, and even Congress must be hesitant to go into conflicts. Our leaders should take advice from the Scriptures, and “as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone.” Senator Graham’s bill takes us one step closer to tyranny.
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