First, let me point-out that the Congress, which has sole Constitutional Authority to Declare War (Article I, Section 8), has not done so since December of 1941. It has ceded such powers to the Administrative Branch ever since. And, the War Powers Act, by which Congress supposedly maintains control over the Military, has been used primarily, as an excuse by Presidents, to usurp the authority of the Legislative Branch.
Donald J. Trump, has demonstrated, time and time again, that he is not a hands-on President. He recently delegated the responsibility for sending an additional 4,000 troops into Afghanistan, to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The WPA resolution, which supposedly authorizes that additional force; however, has not been updated since 2001, when it was first approved.
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently said that “When I voted in 2001 to authorize military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, I had no idea I would be authorizing armed conflict for more than 15 years and counting,” Congress has, in effect, abrogated its responsibility as the only Branch of Government able to Declare War. Clear guidelines must be required, including: a specific mission objective; an anticipated completion date; and the required troop and equipment requirements.
We still maintain several thousand American GIs in Iraq, which remains under a 2003 WPA resolution. Quite recently, with the fall of Raqqa—ISIS’s assumed headquarters—there have been rumors afloat, about sending more military advisors, and even some ground forces into Syria. So far, there has never been a WPA resolution, whereby Congress has authorized Military Action in Syria. Keep in mind that, such action could put us face-to-face, with both Russia and Iran.
There have been other minor military interventions, such as in Yemen, eight days after Trump’s Inauguration. When Secretary Mattis was confirmed, on January 20, a special waiver was granted to enable him to serve as the Secretary of Defense. Generally, a nominee for that office must wait seven years, following their separation from active military serve, and Mattis had only retired three years before. By providing Mattis with the responsibility to decide on any increase in troop levels in Afghanistan, Trump has disregarded the intent of the Civilian Oversight of the Military!
Just recently, Saudi King Salman al-Saud appointed his 31 year-old son, Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, as the Crown Prince, and Heir-Apparent. Prince Salman had been the Defense Minister, and the driving force behind the Invasion of Yemen, which has caused a significant number of civilian Yemeni deaths. With King Salman reportedly in ill-health, Donald and the Crown Prince might be a much too dangerous pair!
Just consider the local wars in which we are already engaged—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and perhaps Iran-Saudi Arabia, if that erupts. Also, Palestine—with Israel’s nukes— would certainly get dragged into any such regional conflict! Our two primary adversaries are still China and Russia. So, let’s not squander our Treasury, lose too many good young men and women, and cause the American People to tire of war—just before the one(s) really matter(s) might commence!
This whole situation makes me think of a bunch of fearless firefighters attacking a wildfire. In this case, if they acted like Donald’s Pentagon, they would be putting-out individual trees, while losing the forest!