"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, September 2, 2013

President Obama Made the Right Call on Syria

One of the tougher aspects of military service is that service means being the stick, and not the hand that wields it.  We don't have to agree with the wisdom or outright foolishness of any proposed military action in order to pack our bags and carry it out.  We simply have to be sure that our actions are legal and comport with the laws of our nation.

When it comes to law, our President was correct during his speech.  He was correct that he does have the ability to take military action without congressional approval.  While it is true that our Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, it is also true that the same section of enumerated powers to Congress also gives that branch the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution every single power granted to any portion of our federal government.  Congress exercised that power by passing federal law, known as the War Powers Resolution, which allows the President to take military action for sixty days without their authorization or approval, and imminent threat to the United States is not required.  President Obama was correct.

I believe it was a wise move for President Obama, notwithstanding his legal authority to take military action, to choose not to do so in order to let this matter be debated in Congress where it belongs.  Fortunately, our military leadership has been providing responsible advice to civilian leadership.  We can only hope that Congress gets it right this time, and does not error inexcusably as they did with their authorization for war in Iraq.  I also believe that every instance of government being restrained by our rule of law, should be applauded.

Again, we're the stick.  If Congress authorizes the war, be ready to pack your bags and go to work.

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