(COMMON DREAMS) Adam Johnson, March 29, 2017 — As reports come in detailing the degree to which Donald Trump has escalated the “War on ISIS”—and killed hundreds more civilians in the process—this would seem like a good time for the country to sit back and examine the United States’ approach to fighting “terrorism” and its recent iteration, the so-called Islamic State.
Not for the New York Times editorial board, which didn’t take the wave of civilians deaths as a reason to question the wisdom of America’s various “counter-terror,” nation-building and regime-change projects in the Middle East, but instead chose to browbeat Congress into rubber-stamping a war that’s been going on for almost three years.
The editorial, “Congress’s Duty in the War With ISIS” (3/26/17), began with a false premise:
But as the American military is doing its job, Congress is refusing to do its duty. Nearly three years into the war against ISIS, lawmakers have ducked their constitutional responsibility for making war by not passing legislation authorizing the anti-ISIS fight.
Congress does not have a “constitutional responsibility for making war”; it has a constitutional right to make war, which is to say it can authorize it or not authorize it. Congress is under no obligation—legal, moral or otherwise—to rubber-stamp existing wars started without its consent.
Presidents, on the other hand, do have a duty under the Constitution to get Congress’s approval before waging war.
Originally launched in August 2014 under the auspices of “targeted,” “limited” airstrikes to stop an impending genocide, the war on ISIS has since expanded to include four countries, 50,000+ bombs, 1,000 attacks on civilians and over $11 billion handed out to defense contractors.