November 24, 2014

"Sen. Paul Releases Declaration of War Against Islamic State."

Press release, received by email this morning:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today released a draft Declaration of War resolution against Islamic State (also known as ISIS) that he intends on introducing when Congress comes back into session in December.

As the New York Times reported today, Sen. Paul plans to introduce a resolution to declare war against the Islamic State, terminate the authority under the 2002 Iraq AUMF, and set a date for expiration of the 2001 Afghanistan AUMF.
“When Congress comes back into session in December, I will introduce a resolution to declare war against ISIS. I believe the President must come to Congress to begin a war and that Congress has a duty to act. Right now, this war is illegal until Congress acts pursuant to the Constitution and authorizes it,“ Sen. Paul said.
TEXT OF RESOLUTION:
Whereas Article I, section 8, of the United States Constitution provides, ‘‘The Congress shall have the Power to . . . declare war’’;

Whereas President George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, lectured: ‘‘The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress. Therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.’’;

Whereas James Madison, father of the Constitution, elaborated in a letter to Thomas Jefferson: ‘‘The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature.’’;

Whereas James Madison wrote in his Letters of Helvidius: ‘‘In this case, the constitution has decided what shall not be deemed an executive authority; though it may not have clearly decided in every case what shall be so deemed. The declaring of war is expressly made a legislative function.’’;

Whereas the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies; And

Whereas the Islamic State presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and

Whereas the Islamic State presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and consulate in Erbil, Iraq:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘‘Declaration of War against the Organization known as the Islamic State’’.

SEC. 2. DECLARATION OF A STATE OF WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST THE ORGANIZATION KNOWN AS THE ISLAMIC STATE.
(a) DECLARATION.—The state of war between the United States and the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the United States Constitution.
(b) AUTHORIZATION.—The President is hereby authorized and directed to use the Armed Forces of the United States to protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats posed thereto by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
(c) RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.—
(1) SCOPE OF AUTHORITY.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as declaring war or authorizing force against any organization—
(A) other than the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); or
(B) based on affiliation with the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
(2) LIMITATION ON USE OF GROUND COMBAT FORCES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the use of ground combat forces except—
(A) as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS);
(B) for limited operations against high value targets; or
(C) as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations.
(d) WAR POWER RESOLUTION REQUIREMENTS.—
(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION.—
Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1)), Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b)).
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS.—Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PRIOR AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AGAINST IRAQ.
The authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.

SEC. 4. NO EXISTING AUTHORITY.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) does not provide any authority for the use of military force against the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, and shall not be construed as providing such authority.

SEC. 5. SUNSET OF 2001 AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE.

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) shall terminate on the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

SEC. 6. EXPIRATION.
The declaration and authorization in this joint resolution shall expire on the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution.

79 comments:

Brando said...

Kudos to Senator Paul. If this country is going to make war on another--and while "make war" isn't easy to define, but when a long term goal of wiping out a rogue military in another country is undertaken, that pretty clearly falls under "make war"--there is no reason why a formal declaration of war shouldn't be required. Shame on Congress for passing the buck so many times, and shame on our presidents for happily allowing them to.

Mary Beth said...

It also clearly separates his politics from his father's.

harrogate said...

It both does and does not separate his politics from his father's. I believe Ron Paul also is quite serious about the burden of Declaring War falling squarely upon the Congress.

Rocketeer said...

It both does and does not separate his politics from his father's. I believe Ron Paul also is quite serious about the burden of Declaring War falling squarely upon the Congress.

That's not the difference - the difference is in Rand Paul's willingness to use it.

Jupiter said...

Senator Paul wants to declare war on IS because they threaten our embassies in Baghdad and Erbil? I am all for killing Jihadis, but that seems like a pretty thin pretext.

I do agree, that a Congressional debate on the matter would be useful.

John Lynch said...

I'm skeptical about setting a time limit on the war. I doubt the enemy will cooperate, and the prosecution of a war is the duty of the executive branch.

The Crack Emcee said...

"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

- Ta-Nehisi Coates

Brando said...

"I believe Ron Paul also is quite serious about the burden of Declaring War falling squarely upon the Congress."

As it should. We haven't declared war since WWII, and the reasons to not do so have varied from the immoral (e.g., in Vietnam LBJ wanted to keep from the public the likely length and depth of the war) to the brevity of the action (e.g., Grenada, Lebanon) to the existence of quasi-declarations (e.g., Gulf Wars I and II). But if Congress doesn't start asserting itself in this process, we'll continue letting presidents make war and then put Congress in the position of approving funding to continue it or cutting off our troops in the field.

traditionalguy said...

You mean LBJ could not have sent the Marines ashore in DaNang without Congressional approval??? Then there could never have been a Viet Nam Asian war of attrition.

But if Jim Webb becomes President, then Congress will definitely win some wars.

Jim Webb intrigues me and would probably scare the ISIL guys as being too mean. Jim was a Marine at Khe Sanh where he learned fighting works better with a plan to win and win quick.

Brando said...

"I'm skeptical about setting a time limit on the war. I doubt the enemy will cooperate, and the prosecution of a war is the duty of the executive branch."

They can always extend it, and almost certainly will. This at least requires Congress to revisit it, rather than vote once and let the president do whatever he wants for any length of time.

Original Mike said...

Has he said if he'll vote for it?

garage mahal said...

How much would this war cost?

Just kidding. Nevermind.

Mark said...

Declaring war over threats to consulates and embassies?

Not sure this qualifies him for the Presidency, if that's what he was thinking.

Drago said...

crack: "The Crack Emcee said...
"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS." - Ta-Nehisi Coates"

Certainly more blacks will be killed by other blacks in America this week than were ever killed by ISIS.

harrogate said...

"That's not the difference - the difference is in Rand Paul's willingness to use it."

Yes, well, that's why I said it both does and does not. But the importance of Congress Declaring War is obviously a fvery important part of what he is doing here, and his father was always a champion of that principle, and I respect that.

tim maguire said...

Good for Senator Paul, war is too serious a business for the typical congressional "hide the responsibility" game.

Don't do it unless you mean it and, if you do it, then do it like you mean it.

Drago said...

Mark: "Not sure this qualifies him for the Presidency, if that's what he was thinking."

What indications/evidence exist from Paul (or anyone else anywhere else for that matter) that a declaration of war on ISIS would qualify Paul for the Presidency?

tim maguire said...

The Crack Emcee said..."By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

- Ta-Nehisi Coates


"We should let ISIS kill more Americans"

- shorter Ta-Nehisi Coates

Drago said...

harrogate: "Yes, well, that's why I said it both does and does not. But the importance of Congress Declaring War is obviously a fvery important part of what he is doing here, and his father was always a champion of that principle, and I respect that."

I have to agree with harrogate here.

But you must remember that even when you get congress to debate and pass legislation/resolutions etc you cannot get the congressfolks who vote in favor of action to own it later on when it becomes politically unpalatable.

Case in point, dems and the Iraq Authorization.

Rocketeer said...

Congratulation to Ta-Nehesi Coates on his bold assertion that we should declare war on murderers in America. I for one am absolutely on board.

Brando said...

"But you must remember that even when you get congress to debate and pass legislation/resolutions etc you cannot get the congressfolks who vote in favor of action to own it later on when it becomes politically unpalatable."

Such a thing would require humility and shame. However, getting their votes on record can have consequences. Hillary's pro- vote for the Iraq War certainly helped doom her in the 2008 primaries.

Drago said...

garage mahal: "How much would this war cost?"

I doubt non-taxpayers are "heavily invested" (heh) in the answer to that question.

khematite@aol.com said...

We've been fighting de facto wars throughout the world without any formal congressional declaration of war at least since the Barbary pirates. As someone above noted, Congress has not formally declared war since December 1941--almost three-quarters of a century ago.

Seems to me that it's way too late at this juncture to put that particular genie back in the bottle.

khesanh0802 said...

Worth a debate. The most important clause is that ISIL has declared war on the US. What do we plan to do about that?

Sunsetting other use of force authorizations (or semi-authorizations) is a good idea.

Original Mike said...

He'll be introducing it in Harry Reid's Senate. I assume it won't get voted on.

Drago said...

Original Mike said...
He'll be introducing it in Harry Reid's Senate. I assume it won't get voted on

"voted on"

They won't even be able to find it in the pile of stuff buried in Harry's desk much less "vote on" it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see he is doing it this way, but I'm also annoyed.

Rand Paul is probably the most libertarian candidate who will be running for President in 2016 that has even a small chance of winning.

If he acts this way about War, how will he then act concerning the new Obama Non-Enforcement Policy?

We need a libertarian, or conservative President who isn't afraid to use the Obama Non-Enforcement Policy when they become President.

We need a President who will allow drilling in ANWR. We need a President who will get rid of ethanol in our gasoline. We need a President who will refuse to collect more than 10% in taxes during the 4 or 8 years they are in office, both from individuals and from businesses. We need a President who will refuse to collect any taxes on repatriated money during the 4 or 8 years they are in office.

I'm starting to think Rand Paul won't be that guy.

n.n said...

The only criticism I would offer is including an explicit date to end authorization without a clause to review status. This declaration of war is in part necessary because of premature evacuation. Still, it is better than to tolerate continued undeclared and unauthorized actions throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Perhaps congressional oversight and a citizens' stake will limit further executive actions.

Jupiter said...

IS is a thoroughly despicable collection of vermin, and I am all for their swift eradication. But it seems unlikely that would be the US war aim. And any other war aim simply means nation-building-in-Iraq, which has been tried and failed. I suppose a US declaration of war could be a basis for arming the Kurds. Except that the people running US foreign policy at the moment don't want to arm the Kurds, because the Turks (another thoroughly despicable collection of vermin who are willing to allow us to claim they are our allies) wouldn't like that.

So, what's the goal? What's the plan, and, as Garage asked, what is all this going to cost? A debate would indeed be useful.

theribbonguy said...

"By the end of this week, more black Americans will be killed by other black Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

FIFY

Drago said...

eric: "We need a President who will allow drilling in ANWR. We need a President who will get rid of ethanol in our gasoline. We need a President who will refuse to collect more than 10% in taxes during the 4 or 8 years they are in office, both from individuals and from businesses. We need a President who will refuse to collect any taxes on repatriated money during the 4 or 8 years they are in office.

I'm starting to think Rand Paul won't be that guy"

Would it be fair to say you might just be jumping to far too many conclusions based on this declaration business?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm waiting for someone to publish a story with the headline:

Rand Paul proposes DECLARATION OF A STATE OF WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES...

rhhardin said...

A descuration, by contrast, would make it unclear.

Sometimes you need a declaration, and sometimes the opposite.

Saint Croix said...

I love government officials who read the Constitution and follow it. They are awesome.

All other government officials suck.

Krumhorn said...

"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

- Ta-Nehisi Coates


"93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks" -
Giuliani

- Krumhorn

jr565 said...

""By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."By the end of the week, more blacks will be killed by other blacks than white folks, and most certainly white cops.

Jupiter said...

Blogger Krumhorn said...
"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

- Ta-Nehisi Coates

"93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks" -
Giuliani

- Krumhorn

Coates piece was written in response to Giuliani's statement. The idea is that -- well, as usual, it isn't entirely clear what Ta-Nehisi's idea is. He wants to be an intellectual, but does not have a functioning intellect. A good day for Ta is one with no grammatical errors.

jr565 said...

Giullani recently made the point that 93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks. If blacks don't want such a police presence in their community stop killing each other. Cops go where the crime is.

n.n said...

Krumhorn:

It's worse than that. He is comparing apples and oranges. Domestic and foreign issues are inherently different problem sets.

Also, there is the matter of aborting around 2 million Americans annually that competes with the death toll in all wars and puts the number of dead in most wars to shame.

Anyway, different problem sets.

n.n said...

jr565:

Good cops, certainly. But even bad cops will be denied an excuse. A civil population is its own reward.

garage mahal said...

93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks" -

83% of white murders are committed by other whites.

Balfegor said...

The attempt to put time limits in is somewhat inconsistent with what I see as the reason Congress ought to be consulted whenever military force is used outside of an immediate emergency -- when we choose to attack someone with force, we don't know what affiliations or alliances are going to be implicated by that act, making even trifling declarations of war potentially existential decisions. We may think we're just making demands of pissant Serbia, but then the Russian Empire steps in, and the German Empire mobilises and France mobilises, and the British Empire mobilises and suddenly it's the Great War.

If the King-Emperor could have foreseen the consequences of declaring war on little Serbia -- if the Tsar had been able to see the consequences of defending Serbia -- would they have gone forward with a course led to the dissolution of their empires and the deaths of so many millions of their people? Probably not.

Anyhow, every use of armed force -- even against dinky enemies -- opens up the possibility of total ruin, so I think Congress ought to be consulted. That's not really compatible with a time limit -- once you decide to use armed force at all (even just ballistic missiles), you don't get to just turn off the spigot. War continues flowing whether you want it or not.

Brando said...

"83% of white murders are committed by other whites."

Let me know when whites start taking to the streets every time a black cop kills a white suspect.

Brando said...

"That's not really compatible with a time limit -- once you decide to use armed force at all (even just ballistic missiles), you don't get to just turn off the spigot. War continues flowing whether you want it or not."

The time limit isn't really a problem--it sets an initial expectation, so that if the scope needs to be expanded, Congress can revisit it. In emergencies, the President can still use his CinC powers to prosecute the war until Congress can act, but at least time limits and scope limits can require re-consultation whenever those limits must be expanded.

Take the classic mission creep case--Vietnam. When it was low level bombing and a few thousand advisers, Congress was all fine with it, and had there been a formal declaration enabling this it could have set those limits. Then when LBJ decided we'd need more of both, and it wouldn't be done in 1964, or '65, he would have had to get back to Congress about it or otherwise blatantly exceed the specific authority they granted him. They may have okayed the expansion--it's hard to cut short a mission when troops are in the field--but at least then it would have been on them, and more importantly it would have been constitutional.

I don't think this necessarily prevents wars or mission creep, as Congress usually has been supportive of these things so as not to appear weak or unpatriotic. But there's a serious constitutional issue when they take a complete back seat to these decisions.

theribbonguy said...

"83% of white murders are committed by other whites."

If you kept reading the FBI stats you would have come across the little factoid that there were 14.82 murders per 100K by blacks versus 2.17 per 100K for whites in 2010...last year stats are available.

Drago said...

theribbonguy: "If you kept reading the FBI stats you would have come across the little factoid that there were 14.82 murders per 100K by blacks versus 2.17 per 100K for whites in 2010...last year stats are available."

Statistics is a tool of the white oppressors!! Garage knows better!

Brando said...

"If you kept reading the FBI stats you would have come across the little factoid that there were 14.82 murders per 100K by blacks versus 2.17 per 100K for whites in 2010...last year stats are available."

Any way you cut it, the murder rate for black victims is appallingly high, and while TNC seems to think it's racist to point this out, because of course TNC is a moron who can only think in terms of white supremacy, the fact remains that Rudy Guiliani has done a great deal more towards reducing the number of black murder victims in the biggest city in the country. TNC is just too much of a hack to give credit where credit is due.

theribbonguy said...

"Statistics is a tool of the white oppressors!! Garage knows better!"

Dammit...forgot to check my privilege again..hate it when that happens.

Rick Turley said...

Jupiter said...

"Senator Paul wants to declare war on IS because they threaten our embassies in Baghdad and Erbil? I am all for killing Jihadis, but that seems like a pretty thin pretext."

From the State Dept web site:

"While diplomatic spaces remain the territory of the host state, an embassy or consulate represents a sovereign state. International rules do not allow representatives of the host country to enter an embassy without permission --even to put out a fire -- and designate an attack on an embassy as an attack on the country it represents."

http://diplomacy.state.gov/discoverdiplomacy/diplomacy101/places/170537.htm

A diminishing number of us still care about such things.

Hagar said...

"ISIL" is only a boil that erupted and is spilling pus, but the whole Middle East - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chinese border - is infected.

How will Sen. Paul define that?

EMD said...

Libertarian tendencies my ass.


There's a lot to like about Paul, but this smacks of McCainness.

Drago said...

EMD: "There's a lot to like about Paul, but this smacks of McCainness."

Whoa whoa whoa!!!

"McCainness"?

Ouch.

richard mcenroe said...

Mary Beth: Not so much. Look at the restrictions on engagement he stipulates.

richard mcenroe said...

traditionalguy: That Jim Webb was a lot of years ago. This Jim Webb lets his aide take the heat for smuggling Webb's handgun into the Senate...

richard mcenroe said...

EMD I'm sure you meant JOHN McCain, not the GOOD one doing the book about lezbeens and preverts...

richard mcenroe said...

"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

And that's just in Ferguson! Or maybe Chicago...

traditionalguy said...

For all of you youngsters, the Viet Nam War was fought by the poor and the middle class while the decisions that started it and mandated it to be a slow war of attrition killing off those poor and the middle class men were 60 year old elite Ivy League idiots like Rusk and McNamara who happened to be so safely above gruberized Americans that they never thought twice about ordering a long slow slaughter of them. Their own kids and friends' kids were exempted, of course.

That is why only Congress that represents citizen soldiers was always vested with the War starting Power.

Matt said...

Rand Paul is running for President. This is his way of laying the groundwork so that conservatives can see that he is serious about terrorism....

In other words, it doesn't really mean anything.

traditionalguy said...

I would be careful not to discount Jim Webb as if he is no longer Jim Webb.

Krumhorn said...

As (then) Major David Petraeus wrote when he was a professor at West Point, the lessons of war are:

1. As George Marshall observed, "a democracy cannot fight a Seven Years War".

2. Civilian officials are responsive to influences other than the objective conditions on the battlefield.

3. There are limits of military power in solving certain types of problems in the world.

4. Clearly define the objectives.

5. Use military force only when there is a "consensus of understanding among the American people", and then, commit to use overpowering military force and accomplish the objectives quickly. Don't nibble.

And my contribution would be to add:

6. Don't fight for the same ground twice. The prospect of having to go back into Fallujah and Ramadi sickens me.

Senator Paul's declaration fails to meet these important tests.

- Krumhorn

Jupiter said...

Rick Turley said...

'From the State Dept web site:

"While diplomatic spaces remain the territory of the host state, an embassy or consulate represents a sovereign state. International rules do not allow representatives of the host country to enter an embassy without permission --even to put out a fire -- and designate an attack on an embassy as an attack on the country it represents."

A diminishing number of us still care about such things.'

OK, but Paul is not talking about attacks, he is talking about "threats". Which means that any military operation near any US embassy would be grounds for war.

Part of the difficulty here is that legally, IS is a bunch of bandits. We cannot expect to receive their surrender on the decks of a warship. What we can expect is that when we have killed a small but satisfactory number of them, the rest will go back to living off the European welfare state, while we are left to deal with the murderous quagmire called the Middle East.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

I agree with the principle, if Congress doesn't declare war then we shouldn't go to war.

richard mcenroe said...

Traditionalguy -- That's a Vietnam myth: the upper class actually did serve in Vietnam in a percentage roughly equal to their percentage of the population.

African-Americans, contrary to another Vietnam myth, actually served in a lower percentage than Caucasians (not sure offhand whether Hispanics did or not, but based on their representation in the combat arms I would GUESS they were somewhat above their population percentage).

richard mcenroe said...

Paul contradicts himself with talk about "threats" but language limiting the use of force to "protection or rescue". So is he referring to CURRENT threats,in which case he is conceding the initiative to the enemy and far exceeding Congress's mandate for declaring war, or to PERCEIVED threats in which case the P&R restriction is just verbiage?

richard mcenroe said...

Traditional guy, I'm sure Webb is still a bloody-handed Scots-Irishman at heart, and if I saw him coming my way with a pistol I'd be intensely interested, without question.

I'm just not sure he's a leader.

Lyle said...

Crack and TNC are right, Obama and the Democrats could give a damn about all the black men murdered week in and week out across America.

steve uhr said...

"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

What does that have do do with anything. We should only declare war on foreign enemies if they are killing more Americans than are murdered here by other Americans? Nonsensical.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

It's posturing. ISIS isn't a country.They need to be wiped out, but you can technically only legally declare war against a nation, correct?

Quaestor said...

ISIS is not a state, not yet anyway. The territory it claims belongs to Syria, Iraq and small portions of Lebanon. So far no duly constituted nation state has recognized IS.

The United States fought two wars before the Congress saw fit to exercise it's constitution prerogative. The first was a naval war against France, then governed by the notoriously corrupt Directory. For political reasons, such as not being seen as de facto ally of Britain, Congress choose not to formally declare war. Instead Congress passed an resolution of authorization to fight the Quasi-War. Napoleon Bonaparte ended the war by ending the Directory.

President Jefferson fought the next war without even that Congressional nod against the Bey of Tripoli using his inherent presidential power to suppress piracy. By not impeaching Jefferson Congress made the First Barbary War a precedent that is relied on even today.

Rand Paul's claim the Obama's war on ISIS is illegal is very shaky, because the so-called Islamic State is much more of a criminal organization than a state under international law. In fact it could be argued that a formal declaration of war would constitute a de facto recognition of ISIS as a state, and probably will be if Paul's bill passes. If Congress believes the war is illegal it can pass a resolution to that effect, and they can cut off the funding used to prosecute the "illegal" war.

I respect Rand Paul, but this bill of his is just stupid.

Quaestor said...

"By the end of this week, more Americans will be killed by other Americans than were ever killed by ISIS."

NBS strikes again.

Quaestor said...

We should only declare war on foreign enemies if they are killing more Americans than are murdered here by other Americans? Nonsensical.

Your comment shows a lack of sympathy for the victims of NBS. Since he offered the Coates quotation without comment we can surmise Crack is also among the afflicted.

n.n said...

Quaestor:

You have a point. A declaration of war escalates the status of the conflict, elevates the status of the antagonists, and grants greater power to the president. The last point may actually be the most poignant from a constitutional and civil perspective, since its effects are both foreign and domestic.

While the value of congressional oversight is clear, there are constitutional alternatives to declarations of war, including congressional authorization of police actions: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations, that permit limited use of the military at the president's discretion.

The president is Commander in Chief, but that only establishes him as chief executive officer. All other controls and uses of the military remain with congress, which progressively diminish in times of police actions, declared wars, and immediate threats.

Now that I consider the potential for abuse of power granted by a declaration of war, this bill may actual represent a greater threat than it purports to address. The value of a declaration of war is that it fully mobilizes the nations and all of its resources, and raises the stakes for every American. Still, there are other considerations and a declaration of war should not be taken lightly.

Revenant said...

I'm skeptical about setting a time limit on the war. I doubt the enemy will cooperate, and the prosecution of a war is the duty of the executive branch.

Congress can always re-authorize it. These eternal declarations of "war until none of the 7 billion people on Earth are still thinking about committing terrorist attacks" aren't working out.

Sofa King said...

It's posturing. ISIS isn't a country.They need to be wiped out, but you can technically only legally declare war against a nation, correct?

It's Congress. The Constitution grants it the power to "declare War" generally, so if they wanted to they could declare war on a ham sandwich.

the real garage mahal said...

I think Congress should declare war on Scott Walker and the rest of the GOP.

chickelit said...

I think that territory, leadership, armed forces, citizenry and wealth are all that need define a nation de facto. De jure recognition, especially UN recognition, is unnecessary.

sarge said...

I'm pretty sure Archer will take rand paul the hell out

Kirk Parker said...

John Lynch,

Yeah, Section 5 overthrows the rest of this otherwise very reasonable bill. It's certainly OK to have a sunset provision; nothing wrong with re-authorizing the state of war a couple years down the road if that's still appropriate. But one year is too short--unseriously short.



Crack demonstrate why neither he nor Coates has the slightest credibility when commenting about foreign affairs and military matters.

Kirk Parker said...

Brando, please... You're a reasonable person; don't fall for that The AUMF Is Not A Declaration Of War crap!