Great Article from ConservativeHQ:
Two of the limited government constitutional conservative “boat rockers,” Representatives Trey Radel (FL-19) and Tom Massie (KY-4), whom we endorsed in the 2012 primaries are living-up to our expectations and fighting to force the Obama administration back inside the strict limits of the Constitution – especially with regard to Obama’s foolish adventure into the Syrian civil war.
Radel and Massie have both filed amendments to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 that would prohibit funds to be used for U.S. military involvement in Syria without the express authorization of Congress.
Of course this is as it should be under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, which states that Congress shall have Power “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”
In the early years of the Republic Presidents recognized this power and the common sense notion that, unlike the absolute monarchies of Europe, the people, through their representatives, should have a say in whether or not the country went to war.
This national political consensus on who decides to take America to war fell apart in the middle of the 20th century as the presidency became more imperial and neo cons gained ascendancy in the formulation of national security policy.
As writers at the Cornell University Law School noted in an article on the Constitution’s war powers, “throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Presidents have often engaged in military operations without express Congressional consent. These operations include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Afghanistan War of 2001 and the Iraq War of 2002.”
Radel and Massie intend to reassert Congress’ authority under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 through another Article 1 power of Congress – the power of the purse.
Their amendments take similar, but slightly different approaches to prohibiting Obama from involving the United States in the Syrian civil war without an expressed authorization from Congress.
Radel’s amendment which you can read here says simply that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for United States military involvement in Syria without express authorization of Congress.”
Massie has a similar, but slightly different amendment that you can read here.
Representative Massie’s approach is to be more specific to prohibit funding for “military or paramilitary operations in Syria without the express authorization of Congress.”
This would appear to prohibit actually sending troops or military or paramilitary personnel to “operate” in Syria, while Radel’s amendment would appear to prohibit any “military involvement,” presumably including providing weapons or support or doing anything else that “involves” America in the Syrian civil war.
Massie pretty well summed-up where we are coming from in his statement announcing the filing of a bill to block U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war; “Since our national security interests in Syria are unclear, we risk giving money and military assistance to our enemies… Additionally, all military action must be authorized by Congress. The American people deserve open debate by their elected officials.”
In addition to Trey Radel and Tom Massie, other principled limited government constitutional conservatives who are also fighting to force Obama’s adventurism in the Middle East back inside proper constitutional limits are Representatives Amash, Jones, Yoho, Roe, Brooks, Pitts, Meadows, DesJarlais, and Gohmert.
Radel, Massie and their House limited government constitutional conservative cohorts each deserve our support and encouragement for their principled stand in the face of Obama’s disregard for the Constitution and the constant beating of the war drums by neo-cons such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.